PUBLISHED: 14:59 30 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:00 30 December 2018
Needham skipper Gareth Heath gave the Marketmen the lead in their 2-1 win at Hitchin. Picture: BEN POOLEY
Evo-Stik Central PremierHitchin Town 1Needham Market 2After the defeat in the Boxing Day derby to Leiston, the Marketmen bounced back to take all three points at Hitchin’s Top Field with a goal in each half, writes Paul Munn.
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Joe Marsden bagged the winner for Needham at Hitchin. Photo: BEN POOLEYAlthough the hosts did pull one back late on, through Lewis Ferrell, a first half strike by Gareth Heath and one from Joseph Marsden in the second was enough to seal the victory. The Marketmen took the lead on 31 minutes through a good move that saw Adam Mills finding James Baker, who in turn slid the ball across to Heath to apply the finishing touch.They had an opportunity to increase their lead when a half cleared free-kick fell to Joseph Marsden but he put his effort wide. The match, in all truth, did became a bit untidy after that and it was Needham’s single goal that divided the teams at the break. LISTEN: All eight episodes of our cracking non-league podcastThe hosts started the second half in the similar fashion to the first and within a minute of the restart they thought they had good case for a penalty, when Ezra Forde went down in the box after a challenge, but it was waved away. The Marketmen, as they did in the first half, got themselves back into the game, and just over the hour mark attacked down the left and forced a corner. It was swung in by Callum Sturgess and wasn’t dealt with at all well by the home defence, allowing it to fall to Joseph Marsden who applied the finishing touch to double Needham’s lead from close range.With the match deep into injury time Hitchin won a corner, which was swung into the box and this time it was the Marketmen’s defence who didn’t deal with it very well, allowing it to fall to Lewis Ferrell on the far post, who tucked it away from six yards.This lead to a few nervous seconds for the Marketmen but they saw the game out to go sixth in the league, level on points with four other teams.And with other teams only two or three points behind Needham a good battle for play-off places looks assured in the coming weeks.- Elsewhere, Lowestoft Town grabbed a valuable point in a 0-0 draw at St Ives Town.