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MARKETMEN GO TOP FOLLOWING CLINICAL 5-0 WIN OVER RIVALS


Needham Market returned to the top of the Southern League Central Premier tablet following a 5-0 clinical thrashing over Suffolk rivals Leiston.


Kevin Horlock's side made 3 changes to the team that started Saturday's late comeback win at Berkhamsted, Luke Ingram, Dylan Williams and Jacob Lay all started with Adam Mills injured and Seth Chambers and Jamie McGrath both dropping to the bench.


Needham started brightly as a fifth minute right wing corner just evaded a Red shirt in the box.

Leiston though had an early chance of their own two minutes later, as a far post, tight angled, header from a right wing cross rebounded back into play off the crossbar.


Luke Ingram meanwhile raced through after being slotted into space down the right hand side, albeit nobody in Red was around to get on the end of his cutback after 9 minutes.


Jake Dye then shot narrowly wide a minute later, while on-loan Ipswich Town winger Nico Valentine was threaded free onto the right hand side of the box though his cutback just evaded Tevan Allen in the 12th minute.


Needham continued to create great chances as Kyle Hammond drove into space on the left hand byline, a minute later, as his audaciously hanging cross to the far post just evaded Valentine.


The Marketmen though broke the deadlock with a stunning goal from Jake Dye in the fifteenth minute. The full-back exploited space inside the box to sumptuously curl home into the bottom left hand corner.


The hosts almost doubled their lead 3 minutes later, great play saw Jacob Lay threaded through down the left wing whose cutback saw Kyle Hammond - free on the left hand edge of the box - wrap an audacious low furlong cross to Nico Valentine at the far post whose first time shot cannoned back into play off the outside of the post.


Dan Morphew then saw an acrobatic overhead kick cannon back in off the bar on 21 minutes, albeit wouldn't have counted after a foul, though Needham did double their advantage two minutes later.


Jacob Lay drove smartly onto the left wing before cutting the ball back to an unmarked Dylan Williams, whose neat Cruyff turn saw the midfielder smartly find the bottom right hand corner.


Kyle Hammond then saw a low shot from distance hit straight at Donkin on 27 minutes, while Jacob Lay just couldn't get on the end of Tevan Allen's dangerously squared low cross just prior to the half-hour mark.


Needham increased their lead in clinical fashion on 37 minutes, Luke Ingram threaded MOTM - chosen by match sponsors The Windscreen Company - Tevan Allen into space on the right hand edge of the box before smashing home ferociously into the bottom far corner, 3-0 Needham.


Leiston did have a chance to reduce the deficit on 42 minutes but curled and dip the shot just over the top far, left hand, corner.


After the restart, Nico Valentine was threaded smartly down the right wing, the winger weaved past his marker into the box, only to see his low cross held by the diving keeper on 52 minutes.


Loza saw a close range shot well blocked for the visitors on 54 minutes, before Needham added a fourth five minutes later.


Valentine intercepted possession brilliantly before driving into acres of space through Leiston's half, onto the left hand edge of the box - the forward then unselfishly threaded Tevan Allen through onto the far side of the box to smartly drop the shoulder, cut in past 2 markers and smash into the bottom left-hand corner.


Needham then made all three changes within 9 minutes, first a double substitution saw Luke Ingram withdrawn for season top scorer Seth Chambers, while Ipswich Town midfielder Emmanuel Okunowo made his Bloomfields debut in place of former Ipswich Town midfielder Kyle Hammond. Byron Lawrence was then introduced on 71 minutes, replacing Tevan Allen in his first league appearance for Needham since his horrific injury.


Seth Chambers went close twice to extending Needham's lead within a few minutes, first his low shot in space on the right inside the box, low across goal, saw Donkin palm it away on 77 minutes, while the strike broke through before slotting home from a tight angle - albeit ruled out for offside.


The striker did get in on the act though on 83 minutes, good work from Jacob Lay blocked a Leiston clearance just inside the visitors' half to Chambers who had the freedom of their half to turn and bare down on goal, breaking through onto the left hand side of the box before cutting inside and effortlessly finding the bottom far corner from close range.


Nico Valentine almost added a sixth for Needham with the last touch of the game on 90+3 minutes, but his low shot from the left hand side rasped back into play off the post and into Donkin's gloves.


Needham host 20th placed Long Eaton on Saturday (3pm).

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