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Needham Market recovered from a 3-1 half time deficit to win there first league game of 2024 by triumphing 5-3 against Stevenage at Bloomfields.  

The away side went into the break 3-1 up thanks to a penalty from Amy Makewell, before goals from Matilda Thomas O’Keefe and Hannah Nebbitt with Molly Hall tapping home to reduce the arrears.

But Needham put in a superb second half performance to score four unanswered goals from Mia Etheridge-Golding x2, Lina Nagib and new signing Annie Posnett.

It was a competitive first half with Needham looking lively but again shot themselves in the foot by giving away an early penalty and Makewell confidently finished beyond new debutant - Amber Locker - in goal.

Then a disappointing moment as Leilah Gooding headed home an equaliser but the lineman put his flag up for offside even though the ball landed to her from a poor defensive header.

As is the way when on a poor run, things continue to go against you and that moment would prove decisive as O’Keefe took advantage of a short back pass and doubled the lead.

Needham got back into things with a sublime goal from Hall as she poked home after a brilliant run and cross from Mia Etheridge-Golding, but the two-goal lead was restored when Nebbitt scored from a long-range free kick that Locker was unfortunate with.

The home side came out with real intent in the second half and were back in the game thanks to Etheridge-Golding tapping home after being set up by Hall.

And they were level not long later as the same combination combined to see Etheridge-Golding score her second and level the game.

Then moving into the final quarter came the goal of the game as Stevenage failed to clear a corner and the ball fell perfectly for Nagib to thunder a first-time volley into the roof of the net.

Needham then had a lead to hang on to but that was made more comfortable when debutant Posnett was played in by Hall to round the keeper and make the result beyond doubt.

Of course, the result is massive to halt the poor recent run, but it was also the manner of victory that has brought confidenceback after a brilliant performance that shows a return to form for the Needham we know and love.


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