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Needham Market make it five wins from five from their pre-season schedule with a 1-0 win at home to Vanarama National League South side Braintree Town at Bloomfields.

The return of Luke Ingram (started on the right wing) and Reece Harris (at the number 10 position) - both of whom started - boosted Kevin Horlock's side, as the Marketmen recorded an impressive victory, following a brilliant all round team performance.

Marcus Garnham started in goal, Tommy Smith continued at left-back, Tevan Allen started at right-back, Kyle Hammond and Flynn Crosthwaite made up the midfield, while Callum Page started up front. Academy graudates Seth Chambers, Taylor Ollie Fraser and James Letts all started on the bench. Keiran Morphew and Jamie McGrath were both away on holiday, while Dylan Williams was unavailable, Taylor Clark was rested - due to his ongoing trial at Wycombe Wanderers (see post match interview with Kevin Horlock for more information) - with Jamie Smith unavailable.

Terrific defending from Jake Dye denied Braintree a shot at goal on 13 minutes, the away side threaded George Quantrell through onto the left-hand side of the box, though the attacker was dispossessed smartly by the Needham defender, again filling in at centre back alongside stand in captain Daniel Morphew.

Braintree then picked out Nmadi Nwachuku with a left wing cross, but the forward's leaping header was comfortably saved low by Marcus Garnham on 16 minutes.

Three minutes later, the Marketmen broke the deadlock with a well worked goal, Flynn Crosthwaite slotted Tommy Smith through with a great low brilliant defence splitting pass down the left-hand side of the box, the full-back then slotted Reece Harris into space in the centre, he then slid a great low ball across the six yard box to Jacob Lay to tap home into the top right-hand corner, 1-0 Needham.

Needham continued to enjoy more of the possession and create the better chances as a great left wing cross found Luke Ingram, at the back post, whose header glanced just wide of the right-hand post - albeit from an offside position, on 21 minutes.

More great play from the Southern League Central Premier Division side saw the visiting 'keeper drawn into a good save on 35 minutes. Kyle Hammond threaded Luke Ingram into space on the right-hand side, the forward drove onto the edge of the box, on the near side, before smashing a great low strike that was creeping into the bottom near corner, forcing the keeper to tip it just wide.

The resulting corner, a minute later, saw Flynn Crosthwaite's sumptuous left wing cross find Luke Ingram whose backwards looping header is tipped well by the keeper at his top left-hand corner.

The Marketmen then won another corner on 38 minutes after a left wing effort was beaten behind the far post by the keeper.

That drew to a close an entertaining first half, with the Marketmen arguably on top.

The Marketmen continued the second half in the same fashion, arguably dominating possession and the chances, while also restricting Braintree to one major shot on goal.

Six minutes after the restart, good linkup play from the Reds saw Kyle Hammond fed into acres of space in midfield, he then fed Tevan Allen through into space down the right wing, the defender then found Luke Ingram, the latter's low cross though was deflected off Clements through to the keeper.

While Braintree shot wide of the right-hand post on 53 minutes, Needham created a great chance to double their advantage on 64 minutes, substitute Seth Chambers - who along with James Letts and Ollie Fraser had not long came on in place of Luke Ingram, Flynn Crosthwaite and Reece Harris - broke through smartly down the right wing before feeding Lay, the winger then played a neat one-two with Callum Page before seeing a sumptuous low wrapped cross across the six yard box chested just wide of the far post by a Braintree defender.

Another good save from goalkeeper Sims denied the Marketmen from doubling their lead on 69 minutes, Tommy Smith threaded Ollie Fraser through down the left wing, the winger weaved cleverly through onto the near side of the box, only for his low shot across goal to be tipped away by the keeper.

Six minutes later, a Braintree Trialist, wearing number 14, saw a fierce long range low strike well blocked, while Needham went close to doubling their lead after 77 minutes.

Tommy Smith broke through smartly down the left wing before beating the defender as he broke into the box and onto the byline.

The defender then rode another foul to cut the ball back to Jacob Lay, whose near post point blank range low shot was well smothered by Sims.

At the other end, Marcus Garnham was on hand to make a superb stop to preserve his clean sheet after 80 minutes, Trialist number 16 was picked out in space on the edge of the box whose low curling shot towards the bottom right-hand corner was shovelled wide by the diving Garnham.

Six minutes later, Needham almost doubled their lead with the last chance of the afternoon, Seth Chambers was released into space one on one on the right-hand side of the box whose shot was deflected behind crucially by the retreating Trialist 14.

Needham continue their pre-season fixtures on Tuesday, when they host Isthmian North side Stowmarket Town kicking off at 7:30pm


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