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A last gasp header by Eloise Ward snatched a dramatic three points for Needham Market as they beat Royston 2-1 in a tight encounter at Bloomfields.

The first half was goalless, but the away side had the better of the chances with young Evie McKane making some big stops to keep it level.

Needham improved after the break and took the lead through Mia Etheridge but it looked like a point a piece when Natalie Richardson equalised from distance before the late drama as Ward snatched victory.

Royston looked the most likely in the first half and had three big chances for Richardson, Poppy Smith and then a scramble from a corner but in all those chances the common dominator was McKane, who was equal to everything.

Needham had a few long range shots but failed to really trouble the goalkeeper as a tight first half ended blank.

The home side improved in the second half and were on the front foot from the beginning.

When the goal came in the 52nd minute it came as no surprise after sustained pressure with Etheridge making it two from two with a rifled finish inside the box as Royston failed to clear a corner.

Chances remained at a premium from there, but Needham had a great chance to kill it from the spot for handball, but Molly Hall dragged it penalty wide of the post.

With a tight scoreline it could have been nervy, but Needham looked pretty comfortable until five minutes to go when Richardson hit one that looped over the excellent McKane.

There was controversy as the throw in leading up to the goal was given the wrong way and Needham were making subs and Lois Balfour had not entered the field when the referee re-started the game.

Not long was left but there was still time for more late drama as Bloomfield smashed a long free kick deep into the back post with Ward bulleting a header back past the keeper and into the net for another narrow but important win.


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