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The FA Cup Journey for Needham Market Women is over at the first-round stage after losing 2-0 to fellow Eastern Regional Premier League side Bowers & Pitsea.

An early goal against the run of play by Whitney Locke gave the home side the lead in a half of very few chances.

The second half was as equally tight with the home side having the better of the chances before making it two with a brilliant long range free kick from Danielle Sillitoe.

Needham had started the better of the two sides and should have been ahead when Lois Balfour was put through, but her close-range shot was brilliantly blocked by the home keeper.

It was double jeopardy only minutes when they fell behind.

An innocuous long ball was caught by young keeper Daisie Gibbs, but the ball squirmed lose and fell for Locke to tap home.

Needham were still more on the front foot but struggling for that killer pass, while the home side resorted breaking at speed and long-range efforts.

The second half started in the same fashion but again chances were at a premium as Needham struggled in the final third to make the keeper work.

Eva Hubbard made the best opportunity getting into the box and her cross come shot deflected off a defender to take the ball away from an awaiting Lina Nagib at the back post.

Bowers almost made it 2 but - making up for the earlier goal – a brave gibbs put her body on the line to first make a good low stop before an outstanding save from the close range rebound before making herself big and blocking a 3rd attempt.

The home side was looking the more dangerous with their pacy front line exploiting the spaces developing in the Needham backline as they tried to push higher for an equaliser.

In such a tight game the second goal was always going to be crucial and so it proved to be as a long-range free kick was hammered in by Sillitoe.

Needham kept going but that brake to get back into the game never came and so this fantastic journey came to a frustrating end – but it’s a journey we are all proud of!


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