After being on their travels recently, recording a league win and two League Cup wins, the Marketmen returned home looking to build on this as they faced a strong Banbury side who have started the season well.
The Marketmen Starting XI saw one change with James Baker coming back into the side with Jake Dye dropping to the bench. James took up his centre half role whilst Dan Morphew stepped into the right back slot.
It was the Marketmen who started the game the better in terms of chances. They had a good chance to open the scoring after eleven minutes when Joseph Marsden and Joe Neal combined well on the right, to allow the former a shot, which Banbury’s keeper Jack Harding saved well with his legs. Minutes later Harding was again called into action as he dived to grab a header from Keiran Morphew following a Gareth Heath corner.
Meanwhile, Banbury were passing the ball about well, but they were not quite able to find an end product to their play to cause problems for the Marketmen defence.
Midway through the half it was another Marsden and Neal combination for the Marketmen, that set up Luke Ingram on the edge of the area, unfortunately he drove his effort wide of the left post. Unfortunately, just after this Needham were forced to make a change due to an injury to Jordao Diogo. He was replaced by Samuel Squire.
Banbury responded well and started to create a few opportunities for themselves. The first was a good run by Jammel Gordon that ended with his effort going past the post. Then, just after the half hour mark the same player burst through again, but this time his shot was blocked and the rebound was put wide by Roger Ngaah. Pablo Haysham then had two reasonable chances in quick succession; firstly, a low strike from the right side of the box forced Marcus Garnham into making his first notable save of the afternoon. He followed that up shortly after with a drive which flew past the far post.
In between the Banbury’s efforts saw a Marketmen corner, taken by Gareth Heath, reach Russell Short at the far post, who controlled the ball well allowing him to volley it, but it was well blocked, Joe Neal picked up the loose ball but he also saw his strike blocked, as the half was condemned to end goalless.
Half Time: Needham Market 0 vs Banbury United 1
Banbury started the second half passing the ball about well and called Marcus Garnham into action early on when he had to guard his near post and smartly grab an Amer Awadh effort.
But, it was the Marketmen who went the closest to breaking the deadlock on sixty-five minutes though Luke Ingram. Following a good build up, Ingram found himself in possession on the right, having worked to find space he hit a superb strike towards the top corner, but disappointingly for the Marketmen players and supporters, it rebounded off the crossbar and away from goal.
The Marketmen were again ruing their luck five minutes later, when Gareth Heath found Joe Neal on the left side of the box; the striker's volley found its way through Banbury’s keeper Harding but Claudio Dias's had got back and his goal line clearance prevented the breakthrough.
Banbury responded and good defending from the Marketmen denied the visitors; a vital block by Keiran Morphew stopped a Jammal Gordon effort reaching the target. Not long after it was the turn of Dan Morphew to make a great tackle to break up a Banbury attack as they attempted to capitalise on a Needham mistake in midfield.
The Marketmen's search for a goal continued on 81 minutes, a great outswinging cross from Callum Sturgess found the head of Joe Neal at the back post, but the Banbury defence cleared the danger. Callum Page was introduced to proceedings soon after in place of Luke Ingram.
With five minutes remaining the Marketmen gave the ball away in their own half and Banbury broke forward finding substitute John Mills on the left side of the box. He ran on and cut inside, having found space he fired in a low shot that took a deflection to send it passed the keeper and into the back of the net to give the visitors the lead. 1-0 BUFC – 85 mins
Though, Needham were denied a deserved point two minutes from time, when Callum Sturgess' great ball in from the left found Dan Morphew running in at the back post but his shot was vitally gathered up by keeper Harding. It wasn’t to be the Marketmens’ day as the visitors went back to their Oxfordshire base with all three points.
Full Time: Needham Market 0 vs Banbury United 1
Needham: Garnham, Morphew (D), Sturgess, Short, Morphew (K), Baker, Ingram (84' Page), Heath, Neal, Marsden, Diogo (22' Squire)
Banbury: Harding, Roberts, Isaac, Odhiambo, Hawtin, Rasulo, Dias, Gordon, Bosio (54' Chong), Awadh (84' Ahmed), Haysham (73' Mills)