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NMFC U23s Pick Up First Point Of The Season

Needham Market Under-23s pick up a deserved first point of the season, following a 1-1 draw with Diss Town at the Ruby Homes 3G Arena.

The young Marketmen handed a handful of debuts to 16-year olds, who had their first taste of senior football - one of those was Conner Lane, who was Man Of The Match alongside goalscorer Archie Exworth, with some regulars rested for Wednesday night's FA Youth Cup tie at Kings Lynn Town.

Despite that, the young Reds were on top in the first half, while the second half was a tight affair, with the home side battling hard to earn a share of the spoils. 

The first opportunity of the night fell to Needham after just 2 minutes, Jayden Hanna's 30-yard free-kick was swung in towards Hugh Cullum, free at the back post, whose header from a tight angle was well held by goalkeeper William Sarchet. 

Three minutes later, Needham forward Luca Braddon almost captialised on captain Kehan Whitby's short back header, but Sarchet was quick enough to just gather. 

Needham again looked to advance through on goal after 9 minutes, but the great low ball round the defence towards Alex Oakley was gathered well by the onrushing Sarchet. 

Meanwhile, at the other end, Diss broke the deadlock a minute later, after Tom Baird's strike was brilliantly blocked by captain Shane Wardley, a right wing cross found Kyle Baker, who nodded home into the far corner from close range, 0-1. 

The visitors then had a decent chance on 13 minutes, a free-kick lofted into the box found Jordan Attree from close range, but the forward glanced his header over the near post. 

Two minutes later, there was a good chance at both ends of the pitch, first Baird's shot from inside the box was blocked well by Mo Igwebuike, while Needham broke on the counter but just couldn't hit the target. 

Diss in the other hand drew a comfortable giving save from Fin Shorten, diving low to his right to hold onto a 20-yard free-kick on 18 minutes.

A terrific save from Sarchet though denied Needham what would've been an incredible equaliser on 27 minutes, an audacious strike on the left-hand edge of the box was curling and dipping towards the top far corner, forcing the goalkeeper to tip the ball over well. 

Archie Exworth however almost beat Sarchet directly from a low corner, a minute later, although the latter reacted well to just hold onto the ball, while Diss quickly broke forward but fired wide of the target. 

The hosts though were soon awarded a penalty after Archie Exworth was taken down in the penalty area. Up-stepped the midfielder, who cooly sent Sarchet the wrong way to dispatch the spot-kick into the bottom right hand corner, and deservedly draw his side level on the half-hour mark. 

Three minutes later though, Diss went close to regaining the lead, a great right wing cross picked on it Sillet free from point blank range, but the latter was just unable to connect to the ball, whilst Baird's well taken volley was well blocked by Conner Lane. 

Keeley on the other hand drew a comfortable low save from Fin Shorten on 42 minutes, while Conner Lane's long range effort was also comfortably gathered by Sarchet. 

But a minute before the break, Diss arguably should have at least hit the target, after Wardley gave the ball away to Jordan Attree, who drove through towards goal, the forward blazed his shot well wide of the near post.

In a tight and even second half, chances were mostly at a premium, with the visitors having the first chance since the restart. A right wing corner found a Diss man free from close range, whose header was headed over well by the well placed Luca Braddon.

A terrific save from Fin Shorten after 54 minutes, denied Diss from going back in front, Keeley's shot from the left-hand edge of the box forced Shorten to fly up to his near post and palm it away. The rebound however was just kept in by Ben Jones whose hook goalwards just missed the target. 

While Keeley blazed over after 65 minutes, Needham had a great chance a minute later, Exworth again drove through into the box, although his low shot was well held by Sarchet down at his near, right-hand, post. 

Straight after, another good defensive block denied Diss once more, this time it was Travis Buxton who put his body on the line to deflect the shot behind. 

A world class save from Shorten then denied Whitby in style after 70 minutes, the Diss captain met a great right wing corner from close range, though Shorten was alert to quickly dive down to his far post and just hold onto the ball.

Substitute Aaron Attree then Saw his shot deflected well by Cullum, leaving an easy diving gather for Shorten on 82 minutes, whilst Mo Igwebuike just failed to connect with a great cross from point blank range. 

The crossbar meanwhile thwarted Diss from taking all three points a minute into stoppage time as Baird's left wing free-kick curled over via the top of the crossbar at the far post. 

That proved to be the final chance of note, as the two sides shared the spoils.

Needham Market U23:-

1 Finlay Shorten

2 Jayden Hanna

3 Conner Lane

4 Mahmoud Igwebuike

5 Hugh Cullum

6 Shane Wardley (c)

7 Alex Oakley (88' Jolley)

9 Luca Braddon

10 Archie Exworth

15 James Letts

16 Travis Buxton


12 Sam Leslie

17 Aidan Jolly

18 Ben Smith

Diss Town:-

1 William Sarchet

2 Harry Atkins

3 Keiron Brown (81' Cawcutt)

4 Kehan Whitby (c)

5 James Sillet

6 Kurtis Hodges (78' Simpson)

7 Tom Baird

8 Ben Jones

9 Jordan Attree (73' A.Attree)

10 Kyle Baker

11 Joe Keeley


12 Aaron Attree

14 Spencer Cawcutt

15 Jack Simpson

16 George Erith

17 Daniel Appleton 

Booked: Cullum (12'), J.Attree (12'), Igwebuike (56'), Jones (56'), Shorten (85'), Exworth (90'+6').

Goals: Exworth (30'pen); Baker (10').


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