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Needham Market's pre-season campaign begins in defeat to newly promoted Vanarama National League side Braintree Town.

The Marketmen started with Marcus Garnham in goal, Jake Dye - in his first game after injury in 5 months - Tommy Smith, captain Keiran Morphew and Dan Morphew in defence, with Kyle Hammond, Jacob Lay and Jamie McGrath making up the midfield, with Luke Ingram, Tevan Allen and Seth Chambers up front. All 3 new signings, Danny Cullum, Ben Hunter and Harley Curtis started on the bench alongside Ollie Fraser, Eddie Barker, Patrick Brothers, Adam Mills and 3 trialists.

Both teams started brightly, with chances at both ends throughout an evening first half - which saw Braintree field an eleven of mostly trialists.

Good goalkeeping from Marcus Garnham intercepted a ball towards Lisbie before he could latch onto possession on 6 minutes, while the first corner of the game went to the home side after 7 minutes, who receive their Vanarama National League North fixtures today (Wednesday 10th), albeit defended back to the keeper to claim.

Great play from Seth Chambers almost provided the Marketmen with the breakthrough, the forward picked up possession in midfield before turning towards goal, avoiding a sliding challenge as he smartly drove forward into the box, only to be denied a shot at goal by Trialist B - clearing for a corner on 11 minutes.

Braintree's number 9 - one of many trialists - meanwhile advanced into space but smashes the shot too high threw minutes later.

A foul from Kyle Hammond then saw a right wing free-kick for the visitors headed over by a towering leap from close range on 16 minutes.

Jake Dye was then replaced by Trialist A on 31 minutes, before the game sprung into life.

In the space of a minute both keepers were called into action, with the Marketmen testing the trialist keeper. A dangerous left wing delivery saw Dan Morphew head the ball towards goal - on the far side of the penalty area, with a defender blocking straight back to the defender to unleash a ferocious great low volley destined for the bottom far corner, albeit the keeper was equal to it to beat it away. However, Seth Chambers was in the right place for the rebound, whose tight angled header was in target but well held by the keeper, after 34 minutes.

A minute later, Lisbie saw a shot blocked after cutting inside, before Trialist E's close range bicycle kick shot on the rebound was brilliantly denied by Marcus Garnham, diving low to his left.

A sensational save from Garnham thwarted Blackwell from a dangerous free-kick from 20-yards out, diving up to his top left-hand corner to beat it away on 41 minutes.

Trialist F for Braintree then looked to test Garnham, who was equal to it again to make a good save on 43 minutes.

The away side had the last chance of the first half on 45 minutes, with Blackwell's right wing cross being headed back into the centre by a trialist, Trialist F then looked to meet it with a diving header, but saw his point blank range header go just wide.

Both teams made changes at the break, with Braintree opting to change their entire team, while the Marketmen made 4 alterations - Trialist A and Adam Mills entered the action, with new signings Ben Hunter and Harley Curtis making their home debuts. Allen, Chambers, Ingram and Keiran Morphew were the ones to make way.

An early chance for Braintree saw Chay Cooper's low curling shot inside the box comfortably held by the diving Garnham, low to his left-hand side on 52 minutes.

At the other end, a great left wing cross from Adam Mills, wrapped in audaciously with the outside of his foot looked to find Jacob Lay at the far post, but was headed away by a defender.

The Marketmen then made more changes on the hour mark, Danny Cullum made his home debut, while Patrick Brothers, Trialist C, Ollie Fraser and Eddie Barker entered the action, with just Kyle Hammond and Dan Morphew completing the whole 90 minutes.

Effiong meanwhile fired off target from distance on 63 minutes, while great defending from the Marketmen saw a great slide tackle halt Cooper on 65 minutes.

Effiong then saw a shot from inside the box blocked two minutes later, before Fin Barnes saw a shot go over the bar after 70 minutes.

Chay Cooper than thought he'd broken the deadlock for the Iron, but despite firing home the flag was up for offside on 72 minutes.

Two minutes later, Cooper looked to test Cullum, but shot straight into the substitute's chest, while Cooper then saw a first time shot on the turn, from inside the box, go narrowly wide of the bottom left-hand corner on 75 minutes.

A brilliant save from Cullum denied Effiong from breaking the deadlock three minutes later, the shot-stopper dived down brilliantly to his bottom right-hand corner to turn the shot away.

Patrick Brothers then looked to test Trialist G on 79 minutes, who just held onto the fierce long range strike, after an initially spilling it.

Great defending from Trialist B cleared a dangerous ball towards goal away from the goal-line on 81 minutes, before Clampin made the block as the Marketmen looked to get a shot at goal two minutes later.

Fin Barnes then curled a shot towards the bottom right-hand corner, which went just wide on 84 minutes, although Braintree did break the deadlock two minutes from time.

Cooper's cross was blocked albeit straight to Effiong to slot home.

A good performance from the Marketmen, despite an arguably slightly harsh defeat, who moved onto an open training session on Saturday (13th), before a trip to Isthmian North Division side Felixstowe & Walton United on Tuesday (16th).


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