It was defeat for Needham Market Women on their first outing in Tier 5 as they succumbed to a 4-3 defeat away at Haringey Borough on a bizarre afternoon.
Haringey had led at half time thanks to a brace from Shakira Roberts and Kylie Manktelow with Eva Hubbard on target for the away side.
The second half was all Needham with Molly Hall reducing the arrears, but it wasn’t quite enough as Alena Hubbard restored the 2-goal lead deep into stoppage time only to then see Abbie Fisher score an absolute screamer.
But that does not tell the whole story as the away side lost goalkeeper Danni Clarke in the first 15 minutes to what looked like a bad injury as she collapsed to the ground off the ball.
After a long delay, centre back Laura Bloomfield stood up and put in a brilliant display for the rest of the game in a position completely alien to her.
The home side were already ahead before the incident thanks to Roberts as a cross was not dealt with and fell perfectly for her to slide home.
Needham coped quite well with the set back and when Eva Hubbard – on her debut – equalised it looked like things would turn but a disastrous couple of minutes deep in first half stoppage time turned the game.
First Roberts got in behind Ele Catchpole and then beat Bloomfield – who valiantly rushed out to sweep but didn’t quite get there - and tucked it home.
Seconds later Manktelow hit a beautiful half volley and in a flash, it was 3-1.
It was all Needham in the second half with chances galore and plenty of time to turn the game around after Hall flicked home a header from a brilliant Fisher corner on the hour mark.
In the 65th minute, 16 year old winger Charlotte Sayer was introduced for last season’s top scorer Lina Nagib to make her first team debut on a special day for her.
But profligacy cost them and as the game moved deeper into the final stages it was looking like one of those days before they were put out of their misery when Hubbard tapped in from close range to kill the game – or so we thought.
Seconds later it was game on again as Fisher smashed a superb 40-yard strike over the keeper, but it was in vain as Haringey managed to see the last couple minutes out.
Plenty of positives to take in defeat – a harsh learning curve but one the girls shouldn’t be too down with after a brilliant response to adversity and in another game, they would have won this comfortably with the chances created.