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Needham Market strike at the start and end of the game to record a 2-1 win over struggling Long Eaton.

Kevin Horlock's side made one change to Tuesday's 5-0 win over Leiston, Luke Ingram dropped to the bench as Seth Chambers returned to the starting eleven.

The league leaders were ahead just under a minute in, Tevan Allen's right wing corner fell to Nico Valentine, who set up Dan Morphew for his fourth goal in seven games to volley home into the bottom left-hand, far, corner.

Four minutes later, Valentine exploited space to drive through the visitors half before threading Allen onto goal, but the keeper was out first to gather.

Allen then saw a low shot comfortably held by the keeper in the 13th minute from a short free-kick, while Seth Chambers' tap in was ruled out for offside after Hammond's 18-yard volley rasped the left-hand, far, post three minutes later.

Long Eaton then shot just wide minutes later, while Keiran Morphew looped a header over at the far post midway through the half.

Hammond was next to try his luck for the Marketmen, but saw his ferocious low volley held by the keeper from Dan Morphew's scooped cross back in on 26 minutes.

Needham retained possession comfortably, but found the visiting goalkeeper tough to beat, though it was seemingly a deflection that denied Dylan Williams on 32 minutes, as Williams' strike went just wide of the bottom right-hand corner for a goalkick.

Hammond though forced a good stop from the keeper on 45+1 minutes, the midfielder's goal bound header in the edge of the box was destined to nestle into the top left hand corner before being beaten away by the visiting keeper.

After the restart, Dan Morphew glanced a header narrowly wide from a Hammond free-kick on 56 minutes, but it was the visitors who equalised on 67 minutes, Spruce ran through on goal before slotting home into the bottom right-hand corner to set up a tense finish.

Needham then made a double change in reply, Luke Ingram and Jamie McGrath replacing Dylan Williams and Seth Chambers, while Byron Lawrence replaced Jacob Lay soon after.

The substitutes had a crucial impact for the Marketmen as Nico Valentine forced a comfortable save from the keeper - following a great run and through-ball from substitute Jamie McGrath on 80 minutes, before Luke Ingram fired narrowly over for the hosts five minutes later.

Jamie McGrath meanwhile headed narrowly wide from Allen's corner a minute later, although the substitute was on hand to bury home the winner in the last minute of normal time. Allen beat his man smartly to reach the right wing byline, whose cross saw Ingram's header clatter back to him off the face of the right-hand post, followed by a superb save from the keeper - denying an instinctive volley on the rebound, with McGrath was on hand to guide home.

Needham switch focus to the Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-Final on Tuesday, as they take on Ipswich Town U18s at Hadleigh United - looking to retain the cup for the fourth straight season (7:45pm).


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