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Needham Market conclude pre-season with a clinical second half performance in a 4-1 win over Northern Premier League Midlands Division side Cambridge City.

Joint managers for the day Darran McCarrick and Patrick Brothers went with a similar side to Tuesday's goalless draw with Stowmarket Town, with Marcus Garnham again starting in goal.

The back four remained the same with Jake Dye and Tommy Smith at full-back, while Keiran Morphew and Dan Morphew continued at the heart of the defence.

Tevan Allen and Jacob Lay started out wide, with Dylan Williams, Reece Harris and Kyle Hammond in midfield, as Luke Ingram started up top.

Needham had the first chance after 6 minutes, a right wing shot forced goalkeeper Joe Welch down well to his near post to smother it behind for a corner.

More great play a minute later saw Reece Harris' right wing corner taken short to Dylan Williams who in turn teed up Taylor, onto the edge of the box, whose shot was blocked.

The bright start continued, with Needham continuing to find a breakthrough on 20 minutes, Tommy Smith was threaded through smartly past the defence onto the byline, close to goal down the left-hand side, but his low effort was smothered away well by Welch.

At the other end, moments later, Garnham was then called into action, as the Needham number 1 claimed a dangerous right wing cross that was creeping underneath his crossbar.

Jacob Lay then weaved through into the centre well, playing a neat quick one-two in the process, although his great curled strike went narrowly wide of the left-hand corner, after 24 minutes.

Two minutes later, Needham forced a smart save out of Welch as the higher league Marketmen looked to make their opportunities count.

Great passing play threaded captain Keiran Morphew into space, who exploited space to drive onto the edge of the box where his smart shot towards the top left-hand corner was tipped behind superbly by the diving Welch.

With 11 minutes left before half-time, the Marketmen went close to opening the scoring, Kyle Hammond's left wing corner curled round everyone to Keiran Morphew, who peeled away at the back post - although his header looped over onto the roof of the net.

The Marketmen meanwhile had the last chance of the half on 39 minutes, after Jacob Lay fed Tommy Smith into space out on the left wing, the defender then found Kyle Hammond on the edge of the box who wrapped a curled strike just over the top right-hand corner.

The second half however saw two sprees of quickfire goals accelerate the scoreline from 0-0 to 2-0 within the space of 4 minutes, then after a quarter of an hour that soon became 4-1 with 3 further goals in as many minutes.

The Marketmen started the second half like the first, on the front foot, while also being more clinical in front of goal, with the home side creating a good chance three minutes after the restart. After Luke Ingram was fed into space outside the box, the forward took aim at goal, but for his ferocious strike to go narrowly wide of the bottom near, left-hand, corner.

The Reds went close again on 53 minutes, Tevan Allen latched onto a great through-ball into the box, before teeing up Jacob Lay in the centre, whose close range shot was bravely blocked by the defender.

Needham's perseverance paid off though, as the breakthrough arrived three minutes later. A well worked move saw the ball fall to Jacob Lay, unmarked from six yards out, whose first shot was well blocked, before the winger pounced on the rebound to bury it home into the top right-hand corner, 1-0 Needham.

On the hour mark, Needham then doubled their lead, courtesy of another smartly worked goal, Man Of The Match Kyle Hammond threaded a brilliant low through-ball past the defence, releasing Luke Ingram one on one from point blank range, who cleverly slotted the ball home, through the 'keeper's legs and into the bottom left-hand corner, 2-0 Needham.

Needham then made their first change of the afternoon following the goal, as Callum Page replaced Reecd Harris.

At the other end, Cambridge City went close with a dangerously positioned free-kick on 64 minutes, as Davies curled the set-piece just over the top near, left-hand, corner from just outside the box.

Needham then withdrew both Jacob Lay and Tevan Allen for Jamie McGrath and Ollie Fraser, four minutes later, with the second of the substitutes netting the hosts' third goal of the afternoon after 76 minutes.

Yet another well worked goal, which sparked a spell of 3 goals in as many minutes, saw Tommy Smith threaded through past the defence onto the left-hand side of the box, the defender then whipped a sumptous low cross, away from the defenders, on a plate for Ollie Fraser, arriving at the far post, to tap home from point blank range into the net, 3-0 Needham.

At the other end, Cambridge City pulled a goal back a minute later, as Stan Leech pounced to find the top corner. The goalscorer then looked to add another goal straight after, instantly breaking through onto the left-hand side of the box only to see his fierce shot well held by Garnham, guarding his near post.

Needham though replied straight away, Luke Ingram added an assist to his earlier goal, as the forward wrapped a great low right wing cross across the face of goal for Callum Page to tap home at the far post underneath the keeper, 4-1 Needham.

While that rounded off the scoring, Needham went close to adding a fifth goal on 81 minutes, Callum Page threaded fellow goalscoring substitute Ollie Fraser through on the overlap, down the right-hand side of the box, albeit the latter's low ball squared across towards Jamie McGrath was cleared away.

Garnham on the other hand was forced into a couple of good saves three minutes later, the first saw Garnham dive across well to his right hand side to hold onto a shot across goal, while a shot was fired straight at the shot-stopper, moments later.

That drew to a close a good pre-season campaign for the Marketmen, who recorded 6 wins and a draw from 7 games, with 6 clean sheets, ahead of Saturday's Southern League Central Premier Division opener away to Stratford Town (3pm, coach departs Needham at 10am).


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