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DOUBLE NEEDHAM WIN SEES THE FIRSTS AND U23S RECORD 2 WINS FROM 2

Kevin Horlock's First Team travelled to Holland on Tuesday night, scoring four times in each half with Jake Dye, Luke Ingram (brace), Tevan Allen, Tommy Smith, Ollie Fraser (brace) & Jamie Smith on target for the Southern League Central Premier Division side, making the three league difference count.


New signings Tevan Allen, Tommy Smith and Jamie Smith continued their ideal start to life with the Marketmen with 2 goals in as many games, with Jake Dye and Luke Ingram - who scored once in each half - finding the target having missed Saturday's 5-3 victory at Newmarket Town. Two quickfire goals in around five second half minutes from Ollie Fraser opened the winger's First Team account ahead of Saturday's first home game of 2023-24 when they welcome Isthmian North Division Felixstowe & Walton United (2pm at Bloomfields).


Meanwhile back at Bloomfields, Needham Market Under-23s also made it 2 wins from 2 to start pre-season with a 4-0 victory over Needham Market Phoenix at Ruby Homes Bloomfields 3G Arena.


Luca Braddon gave James Mant's side a 1-0 lead at the interval, while Josh Smith, Ed Barker and Lucas Vance struck in the second half for the young Marketmen who were denied numerous times by both post and crossbar.


Phoenix though had the first chance of the evening after 3 minutes as a left wing corner was cleared as far as the number 3 whose first time sidefooted strike went narrowly wide of the top left-hand corner.


The visitors' number 7 then smashed a shot, from the right-hand side of the box, narrowly over the top far corner in the eleventh minute, while Dimitri Gayle was denied by a good defensive deflection 2 minutes later.The winger broke through onto the right-hand side, close to goal, before seeing his fierce shot deflected just wide for a corner.


The home side then saw a shot from the left-hand side of the box go just wide of the top right-hand corner on 14 minutes, before a good save from the Phoenix 'keeper thwarted the young Marketmen on 16 minutes.


The hosts broke through onto the left-hand side of the box before seeing a low powerful strike beaten behind by the diving goalkeeper at his near post. 


The home side then grew into the game well and arguably created the better chances, a left wing cross found Lucas Vance in space, only for the forward's header to go wide of the bottom right-hand corner on 18 minutes. A good save from the visiting goalkeeper then denied Luca Braddon after a great defence splitting pass from Lucas Vance three minutes later. Vance's low ball set the winger through one on one, whose shot was well smothered by the onrushing 'keeper. 


Vance then latched onto a good pass onto the edge of the box but his first time low shot on the turn crashed back into play agonisingly off the inside base of the near post and back into play after 25 minutes, prior to another good save denying Dimitri Gayle on 29 minutes. The winger again broke through from the right wing, weaving past defenders as he drove into the box before squaring the ball across the face of goal on a plate for Vance who just couldn't guide it into the gaping net from 4-yards out, on 31 minutes. 


While Needham were then denied again, Brandon Greenleaf broke onto the left-hand byline, inside the box a minute later, but his low fizzed ball across the face of goal went just wide of the bottom far corner. 


The higher league hosts then broke the deadlock on 33 minutes, Gayle again was released through into space on the right-hand side of the box whose good shot with the outside of his foot was palmed away by the diving 'keeper, only as far as the arriving Luca Braddon to poke into an open net from 2-yards out, 1-0 Needham U23s.


Another excellent defence splitting pass threaded Gayle through down the right wing, four minutes later, with the forward this time squaring the ball across to Vance whose shot from 3-yards out rebounded back into play off the underside of the crossbar. 


Lawrence Robinson meanwhile was forced into action on 39 minutes, the shot-stopper diving down well to his right-hand side to deny a good strike, while the close range shot on the rebound was vitally blocked by Stanley Forvague.


Gayle then had the final chance of the first half for the home side on 44 minutes, wearing their away yellow kit, again cutting inside onto the right-hand edge of the box only to see his low shot deflected straight to the goalkeeper for a routine hold.


Both teams then made at least a handful of changes at half-time, though the young Marketmen started the second half how they ended the first, Flynn Hoskins drove through onto the left-hand side of the box before seeing his low shot towards the bottom near corner well held by the diving 'keeper on 47 minutes.


Gayle meanwhile broke through with a rapid run down the left wing before flashing a great ball across the six yard box which just evaded the arriving Hoskins after 52 minutes.


The woodwork then denied the young Marketmen again a minute later, Ed Barker was picked out in acres of space from close range, whose shot towards the bottom right-hand corner rebounded back into play off the inside of the post.


But Mant's side arguably deserved to double their advantage on 54 minutes, a right wing low ball saw Flynn Hoskins' shot from point blank range drop back into play off the underside of the crossbar as far as Josh Smith who rifled home a rocket of a strike perfectly into the top far corner, from the left-hand edge of the box, to make it 2-0 Needham U23s.


Phoenix however were awarded a penalty on 72 minutes, but the spot-kick was put wide of goalkeeper Harry Podd's left-hand post, who was making his second appearance for the side after joining from Leiston, a minute later.


Ed Barker was then found with space to again try his luck at goal on the spin, but his strike from 8-yards out was well smothered by the advancing diving 'keeper on 77 minutes. 


Four minutes later, Luca Braddon then saw a volley from the right-hand side of the box deflected narrowly wide of the near post, before Ed Barker swept home the hosts' third goal of the evening on 86 minutes.


The goalkeeper was unfortunate to slip due to cramp as the ball fell kindly for the onrushing forward to slot home into the empty bottom left-hand corner from just inside the box, 3-0 Needham U23s.


Lucas Vance then rounded off the scoring three minutes later, heading home his side's fourth goal of the night.


The Under-18s open their pre-season campaign later (Wednesday 12th July, 7:45pm), when they welcome Histon U18s, while the Under-23s will be back in action on the 3G on Saturday against Brantham Athletic (3pm).

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