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Marketmen continue their good home form

Needham Market continue their good home form with a 1-0 win over basement side Hednesford Town, which sees the Marketmen jump up four places to 12th in the league table.

Manager Kevin Horlock made 2 changes from Saturday's goalless draw at Stourbridge, with Tom Fitzgerald and Jamie McGrath starting in place of Noah Collard (unavailable) and Luke Ingram (started on the bench).

The win makes it seven clean sheets this season for Horlock's side, who also have the best defensive record in the league so far this season.

The Marketmen went close after just 51 seconds, Ross Crane broke through quickly down the left hand side of the box only to his shot blocked by Redfern.

The Reds exploded out off the blocks as Tom Fitzgerald found space to fire a fierce strike at goal only for the midfielder's effort to be well blocked after 5 minutes.

Nine minutes later, great play from the home side almost brought a breakthrough, Kyle Hammond threaded Christian Frimpong through into space down the right-hand side of the box whose brilliant ball across the face of goal just evaded a red shirt running in.

 The Marketmen continued to play some great football as Jacob Lay threaded the onrushing Hammond through down the right-hand side where the defender's audaciously clipped cross was turned goalwards by Christian Frimpong sliding in from close range whose effort was well held by goalkeeper Brooks down to his right-hand side. 

Hammond and Frimpong went close again to breaking the deadlock on 25 minutes, the former worked space to shoot inside the box only to see his effort blocked as far as Frimpong whose fierce strike at goal was deflected behind for a corner. 

The resulting set-piece saw Jacob Lay's fierce close range strike saved well from point blank range at the near post, the rebound then fell to Jamie McGrath whose overhead kick effort went wide of the near post. 

Just after the half-hour mark the home side again tested the visiting defence, Patrick Brothers' great right wing free-kick from distance was swung in brilliantly to Frimpong whose close range effort bounced up comfortably for the 'keeper to gather. 

The woodwork then thwarted the Marketmen on 33 minutes, as Kyle Hammond's rasping 30-yard fierce strike clipped just wide of the outside base of the near right-hand post. 

Three minutes later, the home side created another great chance, Jake Dye's clever long range ball picked out Jamie McGrath's towering leap in the centre although his header was well held by Brooks. 

While Leroy Lita saw a shot from inside the box blocked, Needham had a header cleared off the line a minute before the interval. A brilliant left wing free-kick from distance was flicked on well by Keiran Morphew, who rose the highest, onto McGrath who beat the onrushing sliding goalkeeper to the ball, poking the ball goal-bound at the right-hand post only for his effort to be cleared off the line vitally by the recovering Redfern and into Brooks' grateful gloves. 

It was more of the same in the second half, as the Marketmen hunted for the opening goal of the night and nearly found it just four minutes after the restart. Hammond drove into space well onto the right-hand edge of the box only to see his ferocious strike cannon back into play of the face of the near post as far as Patrick Brothers on the left-hand edge of the box.

The midfielder exploited space to smartly fire a low shot towards the near post, forcing Brooks across to beat it away at his near post. 

After Needham goalkeeper Marcus Garnham was well placed to hold onto a near post header from a right wing corner on 63 minutes, Jacob Lay drew a good save from Brooks a minute later.

The winger weaved through well onto the edge of the box only to see his powerful strike beaten away by the flying goalkeeper at his top left-hand corner. 

Patrick Brothers then curled a 25-yard strike narrowly over the top far left-hand corner on 66 minutes, while Hednesford shot over the bar following a dangerous ball across the face of goal three minutes later. 

Needham however deservedly broke the deadlock after 70 minutes, Ross Crane picked up possession out on the right wing before weaving onto the edge of the box whose fierce shot was deflected in off a defender into the bottom far corner for his 4th league goal of the season and sixth in all competitions, 1-0 Needham. 

Crane then turned provider 17 minutes later, the winger's great right wing cross picked out Luke Ingram towering highest at far post who won the header but couldn't quite control possession. 

A outrageous stunning save from Marcus Garnham though preserved his side's lead and seventh league and tenth in all competitions clean sheet of the season in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

A shot from the right-hand edge of the box was directed towards the top near corner by an unmarked white shirt inside the box, requiring Garnham to fly quickly across to tip the ball over via the top of the crossbar, while the home defence were equally as alert to clear a near post header from right wing cross crucially off the line two minutes later.

An important victory for the Reds, ahead of their final home game of 2022 on Saturday against AFC Rushden + Diamonds (1pm kick off).


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