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Late Comeback For The U18s Away At Wanderers

Needham Market Under-18s kick off 2023 with a stunning late comeback away at Ipswich Wanderers to maintain their lead at the top of the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties Youth League Central Division.

With the division very competitive, the young Marketmen's never say die victory after coming from 2-1 down to win 3-2 in stoppage time could prove vital in where the league trophy ends up at the end of the season. 

While that is still too early to say, Needham displayed the winning mentality of champions, by finding a way to overcome a good Wanderers side. 

It was a tight affair, with the game growing into life after the half-time interval. The goalless first half saw only 5 noteable chances between the two teams, as the first fell to Needham after 11 minutes. Ed Barker picked up possession on the left-hand edge of the box only to see his good low strike well held by the goalkeeper. 

Wanderers arguably had more of the possession first half and went close 3 minutes later, firing a 30-yard shot wide of the top far corner. 

Wanderers then swung an ambitious right wing corner over directly via the top of the crossbar on 37 minutes, while Ed Barker tested goalkeeper Will Willis two minutes later. The forward latched onto possession well down the right-hand side of the box only to see his low shot across goal beaten away well by Willis. 

Needham meanwhile started the second half on the front foot, Barker again finding space to shoot, albeit this time his low effort from the edge of the box was straight at Willis after 47 minutes.

Sixty seconds later, Needham broke the deadlock, after Ivan Sanchez flashed a brilliant ball on a plate across the six yard box, which just evaded two Needham Red shirts running in from point blank range, Mileeq Banya whipped the ball back in low across the penalty area, drawing Willis off his line to smother the ball away. Substitute Luca Braddon was first on the scene to capitalise, tucking home his 8th Under-18 goal of the campaign into the empty net from 8-yards out, 1-0 Needham. 

Travis Buxton then saw a low fierce strike well held by the goalkeeper on 51 minutes, before Wanderers equalised two minutes later as the game became end to end. Ryan Marsh's fierce low shot down the left-hand side of the box was well smothered away by goalkeeper Lawrence Robinson as far as the arriving Ollie Flemming who finished well, sidefooting home into the top right-hand corner, 1-1.

Billy Stones then saw a fierce shot towards Robinson's bottom right-hand corner well held by the shot-stopper on 59 minutes, before the hosts fired a half volley narrowly wide, but always rising, of the top right-hand far corner two minutes later.

Luca Braddon however volleyed just over the top near right-hand corner from 6-yards out following a clever free-kick over the top on 72 minutes, while Eddie Barker smashed a fierce 25-yard free-kick over the crossbar four minutes later.

Wanderers though took the lead with ten minutes left on the clock, Joe Betts capitalised on acres of space down the centre as he drove through towards goal before cooly smashing home down the middle of the net, 2-1 Wanderers.

Needham though were not deterred, Eddie Barker saw a low fierce 35-yard free-kick well held by Willis on 84 minutes, before Needham restored parity two minutes into stoppage time.

Luca Braddon latched onto a great through-ball haring through down the right-hand side, of the box, only to see his low shot across goal well palmed away by the goalkeeper off his line, falling to the arriving Jayden Hanna, who tapped home into the vacant bottom left-hand corner, 2-2.

Then in style, Needham turned the scoreline round in their favour again with a well taken goal. A brilliant defence splitting pass threaded Lucas Vance through one on one inside the box, who drew Willis off his line before slotting home ice cold composed into the bottom left-hand corner for 3 crucial points. 

Needham now enter a busy period of home games, the Under-23s host Whittlesey on Saturday, while the Under-18s host Leiston on Thursday (3nd February, with the first team at home on the Tuesday), which is followed by an Academy double header the following midweek - the Under-23s entertain Haverhill Borough on the Tuesday (7th), before the Under-18s host Brantham Athletic on the Thursday (9th).

Ipswich Wanderers:-

1 Will Willis

2 Jake Kerry

16 Max Rice

4 Billy Stones

5 Dan Smith (c)

6 Bailey Fuller

7 Sam Ling

8 Will Smith

9 Ryan Marsh

10 Louis Crozier-Flatts 

11 Ollie Flemming


15 McKenzie Lowe

17 Brad Vince

22 Joe Betts

20 Tino Capasso

21 Marno Capasso

Needham Market:-

1 Lawrence Robinson

2 Mileeq Banya

3 Ivan Sanchez

4 Travis Buxton

5 Ben Smith

6 Stanley Fovargue

17 Alex Oakley

8 Eddie Barker (c)

9 Ed Barker

10 Aiden Jolly

11 Lucas Vance


12 Tom Roughley

14 Callum Sumner

15 Fabio De Souza

16 Jayden Hanna

18 Luca Braddon

Booked: Flemming (83').

Goals: Flemming (53'), Betts (80'); Braddon (48'), Hanna (90'+2'), Vance (90'+5').



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