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Sands at the double but it’s not all Christmas cheer for Needham Market

PUBLISHED: 11:30 24 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:44 24 December 2017

John Sands scored twice for Needham in their 2-2 draw with Folkestone. Photo: BEN POOLEY

John Sands scored twice for Needham in their 2-2 draw with Folkestone. Photo: BEN POOLEY

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Bostik League Premier Division

Needham Market 2 Folkestone Invicta 2

John Sands brought glad tidings and some comfort and joy as he rescued the Marketmen for the second time in a week, this time with two late goals.

Richard Wilkins' side sit 21st in the table following the draw. Richard Wilkins' side sit 21st in the table following the draw.

John Sands brought glad tidings and some comfort and joy as he rescued the Marketmen for the second time in a week, this time with two late goals.

However, the euphoria was short lived as the visitors took advantage of poor defending and were gift-wrapped an equaliser, deep in injury time, to deny Richard Wilkins’s side the win they desperately needed to ease there precarious lowly position.

The Kent side, in 6th place in the Bostik Premier, arrived at Bloomfields off the back of four successive defeats, whilst for Needham this was there third consecutive draw in a week.

The main talking points surrounded the yellow card shown to the visitors’ Josh Vincent for retaliation when clearly he might have received a straight red for kicking out at substitute Adam Mills.

Secondly, deep into stoppage time the home side were caught offside, but the free-kick that immediately preceded Folkestone’s equaliser was allowed to be taken a couple of yards inside the Needham half of the pitch. Supporters expressed their disquiet but, in reality, it was the correct interpretation of the law by referee Mr Quick.

The first half was largely mediocre. Luke Ingram found the net inside two minutes, but ruled offside, whilst Danny Gay in the home goal produced an excellent interception from Scott Heard’s low cross and then brilliantly and bravely denied Johan Ter Hors’s effort with a point-blank save.

After the break the 261 supporters were greatly encouraged when Jack Simmonds tormented two defenders with his speed and skill before crossing to Luke Ingram who drilled a powerful shot that struck the woodwork.

However, this optimism was short lived when on 65 minutes Folkestone’s Ade Yusuff rose unchallenged to head home.

After sustained pressure Needham won a corner on 85 minutes and Gareth Heath’s placement picked out Sands who rose majestically to head home. Then minute later Sands shocked the visitors and put his side ahead, galloping beyond the last defender to coolly plant the ball beyond Nick Shaw.

However, the ensuing Christmas cheer cruelly evaporated with an injury time equaliser. The home defence had again acquitted itself superbly, lead by the imperious Kieran Morphew, but contrived to leave Ian Draycott in space to head home.

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