Needham Market Women were defeated 3-1 away to Real Bedford in the Eastern Region Premier Division at the weekend. Three first half goals were enough for high flying Bedford to see off Needham on a cold and wet afternoon in Bedfordshire.
The affair started evenly, with both sides struggling to create chances at McMullen Park. The first goal of the afternoon came after 18 minutes through Cesca Partridge. The Pirates’ forward found space in the 18-yard box, and slotted the ball into the corner.
A second came shortly after with Bedford punishing Needham on the break. Natasha Fensome finished off the move to give the hosts a two goal lead with 20 minutes played. A clinical first half spell from Bedford was rewarded again with a third added six minutes later with Fensome scoring again.
Needham brushed themselves off after an early setback and started making some chances of their own. Paige Wakefield came close just before the break after good play from Mia Etheridge-Golding and Ellie Rossiter. The half ended 3-0 to the hosts.
A big performance was needed in the second half for Needham to bring any points back to Suffolk. A rejuvenated Needham side came out of the interval with their tails up, searching for a way back into the game. The visitors started the second half strong, but struggled to create any clear cut chances.
A Needham consolation came late into the game through Lucy Loomes. A defensive mistake allowed substitute Hayley Kindred to win the ball in the box and lay it off to Loomes, who fired the ball into the top corner for her first goal for the club.
A strong and positive second half was not enough to defeat the undefeated Bedford, as the hosts tightened their grip on top spot in the league. Needham remain fifth in the Eastern Region Premier Division and will look to get back to winning ways as they travel to Hertford Town Women on Sunday the 5th of November.
Here is what manager Warren Lewis-Claxton had to say following the game. “A tough game for us as we expected against the league leaders, but I felt as though we could have got something from the game for sure. Our first half performance was disappointing and the damage was done at that time. However the second half was a lot better, winning that 1-0, but it’s a shame it took us until the second half to play the way in which we had hoped the start the game. It’s still a long season, and we’ll continue to take every game as it comes. We go into 3 weeks away from the league, so the focus will change for a few weeks as we look to progress in the cup competitions.“