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Needham Market Women drew 2-2 away at Stevenage on Sunday in the Eastern Region Premier Division.

It was a fierce contest at the Hertfordshire County Ground that saw Needham cancel out a first half comeback from the hosts.

The first ten minutes of the game provided no chances for either side. Until in the 11th minute, Needham took the lead.

A dangerous in-swinging corner from Amber Cantwell was met by Mia Etheridge-Golding, who powered her header into the roof of the net for the perfect start.

Stevenage responded quickly as Thomas-O’Keefe capitalised on a Needham mistake to put the score level. 

Needham responded well to the equaliser, Ellie Rossiter came close at the half hour mark, striking the post following a smart forward run. 

Stevenage however turned it around a few minutes later. Lilia Dempsey found a way through with a powerful half-volley. 

The visitors were unlucky not to come into the break level. Lucy Loomes ran through the Stevenage defence to put herself one-on-one with the goalkeeper. The forward rounded the ‘keeper and tapped home into an empty net. The referee called a foul on the recovering

defender from Loomes, much to the displeasure of the Needham dugout. 

The second half was of a rejuvenated Needham side. They came out the blocks and kept the hosts on the back foot for most of the half.

At 52 minutes played, Loomes got her deserved goal. The forward volleyed home after an array of Needham attacks early in the second half.

The rest of the half was all Needham. The visitors had the best of their chances towards the end of the match. Hayley Kindred found the net, but it was disallowed once again.

As the final whistle approached, you got the feeling it wasn’t Needham’s day. Kindred came close once again with the ball falling nicely inside the box, but the substitute couldn’t find the net. 

Needham felt hard done by to not leave with all three points, but it was a performance with plenty of positives.

Needham will look to gain their first win of 2024 this week as they travel to Sudbury Reserves in the Suffolk County Cup on Sunday the 21st of January


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