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Crane Condemns League Leaders To Defeat In Confidence Boosting Win For Needham

Needham Market move up to eighth in the league with a well deserved 3-2 victory over league leaders Tamworth. 

Assistant manager Tom Rothery made 3 changes to the side that valiantly lost 2-0 at League One side Burton Albion in the Emirates FA Cup 1st Round on Saturday, Jamie McGrath, Tom Fitzgerald and Kaan Bennett all starting in place of Jacob Lay, Ross Crane and Noah Collard.

In truth the Marketmen dominated proceedings, though Marcus Garnham was forced into an early save to deny Kyle Finn. 

Other than that, it was the home side who dominated possession and had all but one of the major chances during the first forty-five minutes. 

The Reds went close after just 7 minutes, Patrick Brothers whipped in a good low right wing corner towards the edge of the six yard box, which found Christian Frimpong whose first time shot was blocked. 

The home side had another good chance two minutes later, Jamie McGrath chested a long ball forward off to Luke Ingram. The forward in turn teed up Colchester United loanee Kaan Bennett into space on the edge of the box, though the latter's low shot was blocked. 

It was a good all round performance for the Marketmen, who drew a good stop from goalkeeper Jasbir Singh in the 15th minute. Bennett intercepted a pass from a Tamworth defender high in the visitors' half, the winger then beat the defender before shooting low at the bottom left hand corner which was matched by a good diving save by Singh to smother. 

Luke Ingram was next to try his luck at goal two minutes later, although his shot went wide of the bottom far left-hand corner for a goal-kick. 

The chances kept coming for the home side, who tested the away defence once again in the 20th minute, Bennett broke through down the left wing and into the penalty area, the former then cutback possession well to Jamie McGrath who was unmarked from 7-yards out, the striker controlled the ball well albeit a nearby defender was alert to stick a crucial foot it, to poke the ball away to safety.

Clever pressure from Needham once again created a great opportunity for the Reds two minutes later, this time it was Christian Frimpong (who was match sponsors Sackers Recycling's Man Of The Match) who pounced on a short pass forward, on the right-hand side just outside the Tamworth penalty area, whose fierce low half-volley strike across goal was shovelled behind for a corner well by the diving Singh. 

The resulting corner meanwhile picked out the towering McGrath from point blank range, but the striker's back post header glanced narrowly wide of the target.

Bennett again drew a good stop from Singh on 27 minutes, having win back possession well down the left wing, the winger cut inside well down the centre, exploiting space well before seeing a low shot towards the bottom right hand corner comfortably gathered by the 'keeper. 

And the home side deservedly found the breakthrough three minutes later, courtesy of a well worked set-piece. 

Patrick Brothers' clever right wing corner was swung in dangerously into the six yard box, finding the towering Jamie McGrath at the far post to nod home his third Needham goal from point blank range, 1-0 Needham.

Sixty seconds later, the Marketmen almost added a quickfire second goal, Kyle Hammond drove through smartly into acres of space down the right hand side before squaring a dangerous driven ball across the six yard box towards McGrath, albeit Singh had dived down off his line to vitally parry it away from the onrushing striker, denying him a clear goal to tap into. 

In a game between the top two defensive sides in the league, it was often hard to spot who was 11th in the table (now 8th) coming into the game, and who sat at the top of the table. 

Jake Dye became the latest Needham player to break through down the left-hand side of the visitors penalty area on 34 minutes. The fullback cutback possession well to Luke Ingram in space from 12-yards out, though the striker's low first time shot went well wide of the bottom far corner. 

Bennett continued to trouble the home defence and almost doubled his side's advantage two minutes later, this time the Colchester United loanee drove through into acres of space down the left wing before picking out Ingram with a great ball across to the edge of the box. The forward then controlled the ball well before spinning to shoot at goal, only to fire his shot wide of the bottom near corner. 

Needham again went close on 43 minutes, Marcus Garnham's great long drop kick released Jake Dye through down the left-hand side of the box, albeit the latter's close range first time header lacked power and was easy for Singh to collect. 

McGrath nearly added to his goal tally for the night, latching o to a great through-ball on 45 minutes. Daniel Morphew fed Kyle Hammond through in space down the right wing, the fullback in turn threaded the striker through one on one with Singh on the right-hand edge of the box, however the striker's low fierce shot was well held by Singh down at his near post. 

At the other end, despite having no other real major chances in the first half, Tamworth showed why they were currently top of the table, clinically finishing off the chance that did fall their way. Kyle Finn found himself in possession down the left-hand side of the box before smartly smashing home the equaliser into the bottom far corner, 1-1.

On the balance of play, it was a disappointing and harsh time to concede for the Marketmen, even though the home side continued their dominance into the second half. 

Kyle Hammond had the first effort following the restart on 52 minutes, the defender drove through into the box only to see his fierce strike take a deflection narrowly wide of the bottom far left-hand corner. 

The resulting corner meanwhile saw Needham go close once more a minute later, yet again finding McGrath free from close range - only this time the forward could only glance his header just wide of the bottom far corner. 

The hosts then had a procession of chances, with 3 opportunities falling in the space of 2 minutes. The first fell to Frimpong, who had found space on the right-hand side only for his good ball across the face of goal to just evade the onrushing Kaan Bennett after 55 minutes. 

A minute later, a dangerous cutback found Ingram arriving into space inside the box, though the latter skewed his first time effort well wide of the target, while Bennett weaved inside onto the edge of the box before firing a great strike narrowly wide of the top far corner. 

Tamworth however took the lead on 65 minutes, substitute Eoin McKeown had only been on the pitch four minutes when he gave the travelling Lambs the lead. 

Tom Rothery quickly responded to that goal, making a double change with both Ross Crane, who had previously started every game so far this season, and Jacob Lay - the only other player to have appeared in every game this season - replacing goalscorer Jamie McGrath and the lively Kaan Bennett, while Noah Collard came on in place of the hardworking Tom Fitzgerald.

Those substitions had the desired effect for the Marketmen, who continued to be a threat going forward, which was proven by two quickfire goals in three minutes.

Patrick Brothers registered his 2nd assist of the night with yet another brilliant set-piece, this time from a left wing free-kick, which picked out captain Keiran Morphew who leapt highest to glance a great close range header home off the inside of the far post into the top corner, 2-2. 

Soon after, Ross Crane fired home his fifth Needham goal since signing in the summer to ultimately keep all 3 points in Suffolk. Luke Ingram picked out the winger in space on the right-hand edge of the box with a neat back-heel, the latter then beat his man as he broke onto the edge of the box, where he slammed home his third league goal, with a great finish, into the bottom left-hand corner, 3-2 Needham.

At the other end however, Marcus Garnham was forced into a rare save four minutes into stoppage time, the Needham shot-stopper - fresh from yet another an inspired performance away to Burton on Saturday - was alert to fly up and tip a dangerous right wing corner over his crossbar, preserving his side's lead in the process. 

A much needed win, for the first time in 3 league matches (2 draws, 1 defeat), for Needham - who now embark on a run of 4 away games, first of all Basford United on Saturday (3pm).

Needham Market:-

1 Marcus Garnham

2 Kyle Hammond

3 Jake Dye

14 Christian Frimpong

5 Keiran Morphew (c)

6 Daniel Morphew

7 Luke Ingram

8 Thomas Fitzgerald (71' Collard)

9 Jamie McGrath (68' Crane)

10 Patrick Brothers

11 Taykaan (Kaan) Bennett (68' Lay)


12 Jacob Lay

15 Ross Crane

16 Noah Collard

17 Hugh Cullum

18 Harry Knights


1 Jasbir Singh (C)

2 Matthias Curley

3 Luke Fairlamb

4 Gift Mussa

5 Benjamin Hart

6 Liam Dolman

7 Kyle Finn

8 Alexander Bradley (77' Jellis)

9 Daniel Creaney (HT'Jones)

10 Ty Deacon

11 Adriel George (61' McKeown)


12 Alexander Jones

13 Keelan Fallows (GK)

14 Callum Cockerill- Mollett

15 Eoin McKeown

16 Jamie Jellis

Booked: Bradley (73'), N.Collard (76'), Fairlamb (81'), Hart (83').

Needham Assists: Brothers (30', 73'), Ingram (76').

Goals: McGrath (30'), K.Morphew (73'), Crane (76'); Finn (45'+1'), McKeown (65').


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