Mills and Marsden star as Marketmen battle back for draw
PUBLISHED: 13:20 09 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:20 09 December 2018
Evo-Stik Southern Premier
Needham Market 3
Banbury United 3
The Marketmen maintained their sixth place in the table following this entertaining match at Bloomfields against the league's draw specialists, Banbury United, who are enjoying an unbeaten run of six games, writes John Campany.
Needham themselves had been in a rich vein of form before their mid-week defeat at Biggleswade. And this proved another tough encounter – in front of a crowd of 222 – against the Oxfordshire side, who came from behind twice before going ahead, but the home squad’s gritty performance earned parity that keeps them just one place off the play-offs.
The return of Adam Mills after his match day suspension on Tuesday evening proved crucial, with a goal and an assist, but it was man of the match, the versatile Joe Marsden, who brought early success with a stunning strike in the fifth minute.
There appeared no danger when Marsden received the ball wide right. He beat a defender, moving inside before unleashing a terrific left foot shot from 25 yards that powered into the roof of the net.
The Puritans’ Edmund Hotter was then yellow carded for a crude tackle on Callum Sturgess, who shortly after had to be replaced by Luke Ingram, with Marsden moving to the full-back role.
The visitors had a good spell and equalised with a goal on 20 minutes through Steve Diggin, who fired home following a Charlie Wise cross.
Richard Wilkins’ side went ahead again on the half hour when Gareth Heath played in Marsden, who then released to the forward-moving Mills, who rifled home in stride.
Needham’s good work however, was undone in added time before the break, when a hopeful lob from the far right, high into the box, was allowed to go unchallenged and fell at the feet of Diggin, who tapped home from five yards.
The visitors went in front in the 53rd minute when substitute Ravin Shahsi firmly struck home the third.
Needham’s display showed character and determination though, with the subtle skills of Sam Squires particularly catching the eye in midfield.
The 63rd minute equaliser came from a long clearance by keeper Jake Jessup, headed on by Mills into the path of Reece Dobson, who scored.
Needham travel to Weymouth for an FA Trophy tie next Saturday.