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HAMMOND STUNNING STRIKE SEALS SPOT IN FA CUP 3RD QUALIFYING ROUND!

Needham Market advance to the Third Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup courtesy of a Kyle Hammond second half world class strike knocking out newly promoted Isthmian Premier Division side Hashtag United at the Len Salmon Stadium. 


The victory also marks a seventh clean sheet in a run of nine games, excluding the Suffolk Premier Cup win, unbeaten as the Marketmen look to match last season's run to the First Round Proper. 


Kevin Horlock's side made 2 changes to Tuesday's 1-1draw at Kettering with Dylan Williams and Ollie Fraser starting on the bench and Callum Page and Jacob Lay completing the starting eleven. 


The game overall was a fairly even, entertaining, competitive affair with the Marketmen edging proceedings and arguably running out deserved winners, and the last Suffolk Non-League side remaining in the competition for the second year running. 


Hashtag though had the first two chances of the game, both times resulting in a good save from goalkeeper Marcus Garnham. Zak Hassan's left wing corner picked out Max Cornhill at the far post whose on target header was well held by Garnham in the 9th minute. 


Five minutes later a great ball round the corner of the defence from Hashtag threaded Cue one on one from point blank range, on the right-hand side whose byline shot was well smothered behind by the diving onrushing Garnham at the expense of a corner. 


Needham meanwhile forced a good save out of on-loan Chelsea's U18 'keeper Ted Curd on 18 minutes. A great crossfield ball from Man Of The Match Kyle Hammond picked out Jake Dye unmarked inside the box, the full-back's low cross into the six yard box towards Lay however was well held by the alert goalkeeper. 


Needham then created another decent chance 3 minutes later, Luke Ingram was fed into space down the right wing, following a long ball, the forward then drove into the penalty area before smacking his shot wide into the top near side-netting from point blank range. 


On the other hand Hashtag, who had Ex-Professional Nathan Smith and ex-Colchester United Academy midfielder Sam Cornish in their starting lineup, were denied by the crossbar on 23 minutes. Nigel Aris' right wing cross was chested dangerously back across the box by an unmarked yellow shirt to Alfie Cue whose poked shot cannoned back into play off the face of the crossbar. 


At the other end, another fine stop from Curd thwarted the Marketmen from breaking the deadlock themselves on the half-hour mark. Record appearance maker Luke Ingram held up possession well on the edge of the box, following a long ball, before teeing up the arriving Tevan Allen, he in turn fed Jacob Lay through unmarked onto the right-hand side whose tight angled, close range, low shot was smothered away well by Curd. 


Nathan Smith then raced through down the left wing before crossing for Alfie Cue whose header went narrowly wide of the bottom far corner on 34 minutes. 


Curd meanwhile denied Needham twice in succession from taking the lead a minute later, Jake Dye retained possession well in space on the right-hand side of the Hashtag box, whose low curling shot was well beaten away by Curd, prior to Ingram's close range header being held by the keeper for a straight forward reaction stop. 


Marcus Garnham was then on hand to beat away a great strike from ex-Ipswich Town Academy player Matt Wooldridge on 38 minutes. Garnham quickly rushed out off his box to head away a dangerous long ball forward, Wooldridge picked up the loose ball before exploited space to curl a smart low strike towards the bottom near right-hand corner, forcing the recovering 'keeper to dive down smartly and beat the shot behind. 


The action continued in the 43rd minute as a left wing Kyle Hammond corner, after a Reece Harris right wing corner saw Dan Morphew's header deflected wide of the far post, parried away well at the back post by Curd off his line, as both sides went into the break deadlocked at 0-0. 


The second half meanwhile saw Needham start the brighter, with the visitors making their chance count in the 51st minute. A foul from Sak Hassan saw Kyle Hammond control the ball brilliantly in space from 35-yards out before arrowing a thunderous rocket half-volleyed shot into the top far corner, 1-0 Needham. 


Galvanised by the goal, the Marketmen kept possession well and had a good chance on 61 minutes, Jacob Lay held up possession well on the left-hand side of the box before teeing up Jake Dye in space whose 30-yard shot went over. 


Needham then went close to doubling their advantage after 70 minutes, good play following Tommy Smith's left wing throw-in saw Callum Page break into a pocket of space down the left wing before squeezing it through to Jacob Lay inside the box. The winger then laid the ball back to goalscorer Kyle Hammond, arriving 30-yards out, who hammered his  ferocious strike just past the top right-hand corner. 


Ex-Ipswich Town Academy defender Tommy Smith then fed Callum Page just in space on the left-hand edge of the box, albeit the fellow ex-Town forward could only rasp his shot narrowly over on 73 minutes. 


Hashtag though were by no means out of the game, with the Tags drawing a fine save from Garnham 8 minutes later. Sam Cornish broke into space onto the right-hand byline, inside the box, whose low ball squared across the danger area for a tap in was crucially parried away by Garnham down to his right hand side. 


Curd then denied substitute Seth Chambers from netting a match sealing second goal with a good near post save on 84 minutes. The forward found space to latch onto Jacob Lay's good low ball through onto the left-hand side of the box, albeit the former's low shot was easily held by the 'keeper. 


Needham saw out the remaining minutes, including six additional minutes to advance to the Third Qualifying Round.


Needham return to league action next Saturday away to AFC Telford United (3pm, coach departs Bloomfields at 9:45am). 



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