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Needham Market wrapped up the Pitching In Southern League Central Premier Division title following 2 late goals from Jamie McGrath, to complete his hat-trick in a 3-1 home win over Royston Town.

Kevin Horlock's side, who are now eleven points clear at the top with 9 points to play for - from three games, made one change to the team that beat AFC Sudbury on Easter Monday.

Adam Mills dropped to the bench in place of Seth Chambers, while Reece Harris returned to the bench after a few months out with injury with Harrison Podd dropping out of the squad.

The Marketmen were dominant in the first half, with Jamie McGrath racing onto a ball in space to thread Seth Chambers inside the box, on the right-hand side, whose good low shot across goal was kicked away by the goalkeeper.

Needham then had a corner moments later, which was headed just agonisingly over the top, near, right-hand corner by Chambers in the 4th minute.

Jacob Lay, meanwhile, teed up Kyle Hammond in space from 30-yards out, albeit the latter fired his shot over after 11 minutes, before the Marketmen were denied by the crossbar 13 minutes later. A booking for Royston, following a foul on Hammond saw Tevan Allen's subsequent right wing free kick find Jamie McGrath tower highest in acres of space, at the far post, only to see his looping header rebound back into play off the crossbar.

Moments later, Needham then had another corner, though Dan Morphew's near post diving header went just wide of the bottom far, right-hand, corner.

The home side almost broke the deadlock on 29 minutes, Allen's left wing corner saw McGrath flick it on smartly, with a header, to Seth Chambers free ay the far post whose clever close range bicycle kick went just wide of the right-hand post.

The Marketmen though did get their deserved breakthrough two minutes later, MOTM and man of the moment Jamie McGrath was threaded through clear on goal by Kyle Hammond to chest the ball down smartly and calmly finish, right footed, into the bottom right-hand corner.

Two minutes later, Tommy Smith's great crossfield ball just evaded captain Keiran Morphew running in at the far post, while Tevan Allen saw a shot inside the box blocked on 34 minutes.

The Marketmen were relentless before the break, as Kyle Hammond saw a shot rasp back into play, off the left-hand post, a minute later, while Luke Ingram was thwarted twice by the Crows goalkeeper within as many minutes.

The first, on 37 minutes, saw a great long ball release Chambers through down the right wing, who ran on into the box near the byline, the forward's great squares ball across to Ingram, 8-yards out, saw the latter's first time shot blocked away well by the goalkeeper.

The forward then held the ball up again inside the box before seeing a close range shot diverted just wide of the bottom right-hand post by the shot-stopper.

Allen then picked out Dan Morphew with a excellent right wing corner, but the defender's great header towards the top far corner was well caught by the diving keeper on 40 minutes.

At the other end, the Needham centre-back was well placed to comfortably head a goal-bound header off the line two minutes later, following a corner, before Needham arguably could've gone into the break 2-0 ahead.

Seth Chambers broke into the box, on the right-hand side, drawing the keeper off his line only to shoot agonisingly just wide of the bottom near corner from close range.

Although Needham had the first chance of the second half, it was the visitors who were the better side between scoring the equaliser and the 70th minute.

Jacob Lay broke into the box, five minutes after the restart, but with the keeper advancing poked his shot just over from 8-yards out.

Royston though equalised on 59 minutes, Asafu-Adjaye's cut in and well hit cross on the right wing found Harness at the far post to head home across goal and into the bottom far corner.

Asafu-Adjaye then fired over on 62 minutes, while a looping Crows' header towards the top left-hand corner was well held by the diving Marcus Garnham a minute later.

Esan then saw an audacious left wing cross crucy tipped away by Garnham, off his line, to deny a tap in for Georgiou behind the shot-stopper on 65 minutes, while Brighton's 25-yard curling free kick was creeping into the top near, right-hand, corner - requiring Garnham to fly across and swat it over for a corner in the 66th minute.

Needham responded with a substitution, Adam Mills replaced Jacob Lay on 68 minutes, which had the desired effect.

Though Royston headed a left wing corner just over from a yard out at the back post a minute later, Needham had the ball in the net on 71 minutes.

Albeit offside, as Tevan Allen scored from inside the box. And the Champions thought they'd scored again a minute later, but Adam Mills' left wing cross was adjudged to have gone behind for a goal-kick as it curled round for Luke Ingram to tap home at the back post.

Byron Lawrence was then introduced in place of Seth Chambers, while Needham went agonisingly close to the title sealing breakthrough on 77 minutes.

Adam Mills' clever wrapped, curling, left wing cross was headed just wide by Ingram, free from 6-yards out, at a tight angle at the back post.

However, Bloomfields erupted four minutes later - with second placed Mickleover losing 3-1 at Stourbridge it meant that a Needham win would see the Suffolk side promoted to step 2 if the non-league pyramid, for the first time in their history.

Substitute Adam Mills' clever curling left wing, left footed, cross stayed in play as it evaded all the defenders and goalkeeper to pick out Jamie McGrath as it curled slightly back in at the far post for a simple header home from 2-yards out.

Bloomfields was jubilant again on 85 minutes, a second goal in four minutes from hat-trick hero McGrath wrapped up the league title in style, for his fifteenth league goal of the season - and seventeenth in all competitions this season.

A brilliant long ball over the top threaded McGrath clear on goal to smartly dink the onrushing goalkeeper into the bottom left-hand corner, 3-1.

The Marketmen then saw off the final five minutes, plus the five added minutes, to start the initial title winning celebrations, with Stamford at home next up on Tuesday (7:45pm).


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