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Needham Market Women ended 2023 with a victory over Bowers and Pitsea at Bloomfields on Sunday.The Reds defeated the Essex outfit 4-1 in a one sided affair in the Eastern Region Women’s Premier Division.

It was a fast start for Needham, seeing them in front after only a minute. A long clearance from Lexie Pryke found Molly Hall in on goal. The forward looped the ball over the goalkeeper from the edge of the area for the perfect start. 

After 17 minutes Needham had a second. Smart hold up play by Hall allowed Keira Topple to fire home her first goal for the First Team on her league debut.

The first half consisted of constant pressure from the hosts. Lois Balfour almost caught the Bowers ‘keeper off guard straight from a corner, but it was tipped over the bar. Mia Etheridge-Golding came close from the following corner, heading just wide from close distance. 

Early into the second half the visitors hit back. A wide freekick was turned in inside the six yard box to give Bowers a goal back. Needham reacted well to the setback and pushed to gain back their two goal advantage. Hall and Topple both came close to their second goal of the game, with chances going narrowly wide.

The third came just after the hour mark. Balfour picked up the ball on the left side and found Hall in the box with a perfect pass. The forward turned the defender and found the bottom right corner from the centre of the box for her fifth goal in two home games in the league. 

With ten to play, the hosts furthered their advantage. Substitutes Lucy Loomes and Paige Wakefield combined to make sure of three points. Wakefield netted her second goal in as many home games to end the year on a high.

Another league debut came with Sophia Gillingham entered the pitch for the final 10 minutes, again highlighting the pathway for the development players to progress.

The victory moves Needham into fourth and they will look to continue their fine form in the league in 2024. They next host Royston on the 7th of January following a Christmas break.


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