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A dull encounter goes the way of the visitors as a first half Hawker deflected effort settles an important encounter at Bloomfields.

Kevin Horlock made 1 change to the win at Bedford Town with Patrick Brothers starting in place of Christian Frimpong.

Needham though started brightly, Patrick Brothers threaded Luke Brown through past the defence down the left-hand side of the box, albeit the striker shot just over the near post after 3 minutes. 

The Marketmen meanwhile had a great chance 3 minutes later, a left wing cross from range found Luke Ingram on the edge of the box whose powerful header was comfortably held by the 'keeper.

Stratford on the other hand broke the deadlock on 14 minutes, Josh Hawker's left footed shot from 25-yards out took a deflection, wrong footing Garnham into the roof of the net. 

Needham however remained on top, but just couldn't trouble the Stratford defence as much as they would've liked with Keiran Morphew seeing his fierce volley at goal from the edge of the box well blocked on 23 minutes. 

Stratford though did fire a shot just wide of the bottom near right-hand corner on 28 minutes, while Needham drew a decent stop out off goalkeeper Liam O'Brien three minutes later. Noah Collard won back possession midway through the visitors' half before driving through into space and onto the right-hand edge of the box where his low drilled strike was well saved by the 'keeper at his near post. 

Ingram, albeit flagged offside, though did see his ferocious shot across goal beaten away well by the 'keeper down well to his left-hand side on 37 minutes, as a fairly uneventful first half drew to a close. 

The Marketmen though dominated the second half, but couldn't break down the Bards' deep defensive line. 

First, Dylan Williams' free-kick saw a towering header towards the far corner gathered by the keeper ahead of the lurking Morphew 3 minutes after the restart, while Williams curled a 30-yard free-kick over the crossbar on 67 minutes. 

Eight minutes later, the best chance of the afternoon for either side fell to the Marketmen, Jake Dye's audacious left wing cross found Ross Crane towering highest from close range only to see his bullet header towards the roof of the net beaten over for a corner by the goalkeeper.

Horlock's side will look for a response when they travel to Bromsgrove Sporting on Tuesday (7:45pm)


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