Brace from Baker seals home win for Marketmen
PUBLISHED: 21:44 18 December 2018
Needham Market 3 Redditch United 1
Needham Market weathered a first-half onslaught, from both Redditch United and the wild weather, before a brace from James Baker and a good finish by Adam Mills sealed a hard-earned win at Bloomfields tonight.
It had been a difficult last few days for the Marketmen, with their withdrawal from the FA Trophy – they should have been playing at Weymouth in that competition last night – but they responded well to cement their place in the top 10, at the expense of their Worcestershire visitors.
Needham were under the cosh for the virtually the whole of the first half, while playing into the teeth of a strong wind and driving rain. The fact that they managed to reach half-time all-square, at 1-1, was a bonus after they had conceded an opener on 29 minutes.
The Marketmen found it difficult to even get out of their own half in a one-sided first period, but they defended stoically with keeper Jake Jessup also making some fine saves.
Jessup did well to dive to his right and prevent a 20-yarder by Robbie Bunn from sneaking into his net after just two minutes, and the Needham keeper was again at his best to beat away a speculative shot by Jamie Ashmore.
Jessup was finally beaten, just before the half-hour mark, thanks to a wonderful strike by Redditch skipper Robert Evans. His cracking shot on the turn flew into the roof of the net.
Needham finally launched their first real attack in the 33rd minute. Callum Sturgess curled a free-kick into the box, which was only half-cleared, but Mills mis-kicked when lurking on the edge of the six-yard box.
Just when it seemed as though Needham would be trailing at the break, up popped Baker with a 44th minute equaliser. Mills squirmed clear of Redditch’s back-line and although his goal-bound drive was charged down, a brave Baker slid in to steer the ball into an empty net, despite the close attentions of a defender.
Playing with the elements in the second half, Needham forced the pace and Mills swept them into the lead on 76 minutes, before Baker obliged with an improvised finish for his second and Needham’s third on 86 minutes.