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Knights' Late Header Earns Needham A Deserved Point

An even encounter at Nuneaton Borough's Liberty Way ends in a share of the spoils as Needham Market respond from Saturday'sdefeat at Stratford Town with a good all round team performance on Tuesday night. 

Manager Kevin Horlock reverted back to the team that beat Maidstone United to set up an Emirates FA Cup First Round Proper trip to League One strugglers Burton Albion, as Hugh Cullum and Jacob Lay started in place of Harry Knights and Colchester loanee Kaan Bennett. 

In truth clear cut chances were few and far between, though it was the home side who forced an early good save from Needham goalkeeper Marcus Garnham in the 4th minute. A right wing corner found Charlie Dowd in space on the left-hand edge of the box, though the midfielder's low volley driven towards Garnham's bottom right hand corner was matched by a strong save from the shot-stopper, to beat it behind for a corner. 

The first half was an even affair in terms of chances, with Needham looking to hit Nuneaton on the break. This time it was the Marketmen who were denied the opening goal on 15 minutes, great passing play from the Suffolk side, wearing their yellow away kit, saw Kyle Hammond, Luke Ingram and Noah Collard work the ball around nicely. Ross Crane the. Latched onto a great through-ball down the right-hand side before cleverly beating his defender to drive into the box, although his low fierce shot at the near post was beaten behind by the diving Breeden at his near post. 

While Nuneaton saw a close range shot denied three minutes later, Kane Richards drove onto the left-hand edge of the box, only to fire a rasping drive narrowly wide of Garnham's top far corner on 26 minutes. 

At the other end, the visitors went close three minutes later, Jacob Lay drove through dangerously onto the left-hand byline, though his cutback towards Luke Ingram was cleared away by a home defender. 

Charlie Dowd meanwhile had two chances for Nuneaton in the space of 3 minutes, the first of which saw possession fall to the midfielder in space on the left-hand edge of the box, although his volley went just wide of the bottom near corner after 33 minutes, whilst his second attempt saw a first time shot in space on the right-hand edge of the area comfortably held by Garnham at his bottom near corner. 

Great play from the away side though was unfortunate not to result in the first goal of the game on 38 minutes, Jacob Lay threaded Luke Ingram down the left-hand side of the box, but the forward's shot while weaving towards goal went just wide of the bottom far corner. 

The last chance of the half then fell to the visitors on 44 minutes, Kyle Hammond's sumputous left wing corner was creeping underneath goalkeeper Breeden's crossbar, forcing the 'keeper to tip it over for a corner. From the resulting set-piece, the ball fell to midfielder Christian Frimpong, but the latter's effort from the edge of the box was parried away by Breeden at his right hand post.

This game followed a similar script to the previous meeting at Liberty Way between the two sides in last November - which saw Nuneaton strike first in the second half before Needham came from behind courtesy of goals from Harvey Sayer and Luke Ingram to win 2-1 - only this time the Marketmen came away with a deserved point, which could have been all three had play went on for a few minutes more.

After the home side took the lead, this time on 50 minutes - Prince Mancinelli was fed through down the right wing by Charlie Dowd, who in turn delivered a good ball into the midfielder to glance a header home into the bottom far corner - Needham dominated possession and the majority of the major chances. 

In response, a 40-yard Needham free-kick was looped over by the head of captain Daniel Morphew after 56 minutes, while a Kyle Hammond cross which hung dangerous underneath Breeden's crossbar was held well by the stopper two minutes later.

On the hour mark, Ross Crane then flashed a good 30-yard strike narrowly wide of Breeden's bottom far right-hand corner, while the home side forced a good save out of Marcus Garnham a minute later. A dangerous cutback saw Kane Richards' close range shot towards the roof of the net instinctively parried away by Marcus Garnham, albeit Dowd was offside as he blazed the rebound over the crossbar.

At the other end on 77 minutes, Hugh Cullum - who at this stage was playing right wing-back - drove into acres of space down the right wing before fizzing a good ball across the face of goal, although Breeden dived down well to hold onto it.

Four minutes later, the Marketmen got their deserved equaliser, Man Of The Match Kyle Hammond's left wing corner picked out substitute defender Harry Knights free at the back post to direct a close range bullet header into the near post which Breeden could only slap into his own net, 1-1. 

While Ross Crane saw a cross into the box lunches away by Breeden, a crucial save from Marcus Garnham denied Nuneaton from snatching all 3 points on 89 minutes. Substitute Ryan Beswick floated in a dangerous ball on the right-hand byline, helped on by a header across goal towards Kane Richards, whose low shot from close range was smothered and well held by the quick reactions of Marcus Garnham, down to his right hand side. 

A good response from Horlock's side, following last weekend's defeat at Stratford, who will be looking to back that point up when they host Bedford Town ait Bloomfields on Saturday (3pm).

Nuneaton Borough:-

13 Tony Breeden

2 Christopher Cox

3 Kane Richards

15 Aaron Forde (78' Beswick)

20 Isaiah Osbourne 

6 Scott McManus (c) (73' Magunda)

18 Lathaniel Rowe-Turner

8 Charlie Dowd

9 Matthew Stenson (87' James)

10 Cain Noble

11 Prince Mancinelli


4 Ryan Beswick

1 Liam Castle (GK)

5 Joseph Magunda

7 Luke Benbow

14 Revarnelle James

Needham Market:-

1 Marcus Garnham

2 Kyle Hammond

3 Jake Dye

14 Christian Frimpong

5 Hugh Cullum

6 Daniel Morphew (c)

7 Jacob Lay

8 Noah Collard (65' Bennett)

9 Luke Ingram (78' McGrath)

10 Tom Fitzgerald (72' Knights)

11 Ross Crane


12 Jamie McGrath

15 Harry Knights

16 Taylor Clark

17 Taykaan (Kaan) Bennett

4 Seth Chambers

Booked: Fitzgerald (19'), Rowe-Turner (24'), Dowd (37'), Stenson (87'), Crane (88').

Needham assist: Hammond (81').

Goals: Dowd (50'); Knights (81').


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