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Sands returns to grab late equaliser for Needham Market against Met Police

John Sands, centre, shirt off, celebrates his equaliser with his Needham team-mates. Photo: BEN POOLEY

John Sands, centre, shirt off, celebrates his equaliser with his Needham team-mates. Photo: BEN POOLEY



Needham Mkt 1 Met Police 1

Gareth Heath, left, holds up a Met Police defender. Photo: BEN POOLEY Gareth Heath, left, holds up a Met Police defender. Photo: BEN POOLEY

John Sands made a welcome return to the Needham Market team, following injury, and came off the bench to rescue the Marketmen with a late equaliser to foil ‘The Met’ who commenced the afternoon in a play-off position in the Bostik Premier Division, writes John Campany.

The point was most deserved for Richard Wilkins side, but with lowly Harlow Town and Tooting & Mitchum both surprisingly winning, the Suffolk side slid perilously to 23rd in the table – just three points ahead of basement side, Worthing.

These are anxious times for Needham, but there performances more than matched their high-fying opponents, who greatly strengthened their side in the summer with some astute experienced signings.

There were notable home displays from man-of-the-match Keiran Morphew and 19-year-old Jake Dye making his 100th appearance in the senior side, while Jamie Griffiths looked in fine form up front.

The visitors almost took a first minute lead when Danny Gay made a fine block to deny Bayley Mummery, and in response Gareth Heath’s free kick was volleyed over by Griffiths. Moments later Heath headed into the path of Griffiths who struck a tremendous volley on target, but Thomas Williams saved well.

It was an absorbing contest against two well matched sides and the visitors again went close when a cross from the right fell kindly off a defender to Jonathan Wright who powerfully volleyed, but Gay distinguished himself with a terrific save.

The visitors went in front on 28 minutes when Wright played in Lloyd Macklin who from 12 yards fired beyond Gay. The Marketmen were showing great determination and nearly equalised when Heath released Armani Schaar who powerfully drove from 20 yards, but Williams saved.

In an entertaining match in front of 215 spectators, the home side pressed for long periods and Dye, on the run, had a shot blocked and the introduction of Sands saw him net with his first touch only to be ruled offside.

On a freezing afternoon Needham turned up the temperature with a 76th-minute equaliser. It was a long high clearance that eluded defenders and Sands timed his run to perfection to dispatch a thunderous shot past Williams to send home supporters into raptures.

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