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Needham Market Women won a massive three points against league leaders Stevenage by one Lois Balfour strike to make the league suddenly very interesting.

The first half was dominated by Stevenage, who created the best chances as an in-swinging corner hit the bar and had one cleared off the line with Balfour having the best chance for the home side.

A whirlwind start to the second half saw Balfour power home in the first minute of the half before a backs to the wall defensive display helped by a great tip over by Evie McKane saw out a the win.

Stevenage started the best playing with the wind at their backs but for all their pressure they only had a fortuitous corner that - helped by the wind – swung onto the top of the bar and away.

Needham grew into the game but with missing players in the engine room they struggled to create and get at the Stevenage backline until midway through the first half when Balfour was presented with a great opportunity but thwarted by a fine save.

The away side continued to monopolise possession but with very little in the way of cutting edge but were given the best chance to score as Rosy Wodhams ran clear and rounded McKane but, then lost her balance at the crucial time and scuffed the finish to let Needham off the hook.

Immediately on the resumption Needham led, some fine work from Mia Etheridge released Ellie Rossiter and her deep back post cross was drilled home by Balfour.

From there it was an outstanding defensive display without too much alarm, apart from an outstanding tip over by McKane, as Ele Catchpole and Lindsey Cooper manned the barricades in front expertly throughout.

It wasn’t the usual style and swagger from Needham but more grit and determination that may just come in handy as the title run in hots up.  


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