Griffiths leads the way as Needham Market take huge step to safety with fine win over Margate
Needham Market 3 Margate 2
The Marketmen took another step to safety in the Bostik Premier Division with this fine win over a Margate side who were seeking their eighth straight league win, and the chance to go top of the table, writes John Campany.
In reality the Kent side, excepting a late rally, were largely dominated by Richard Wilkins hard-working team. Although sometimes lacking in fluency, the result was based on hard graft and the clinical finishing of man-of-the-match Jamie Griffiths.
Margate were a great disappointment to their travelling supporters who swelled the gate to 303 spectators. They rarely looked capable of justifying a promotion challenge, while the Suffolk side climbed three places to 18th with the other relegation candidates all losing ground.
Needham forced the early pace with John Sands missing a great chance in front of goal following Griffiths’ cross and then Adam Mills headed fractionally over. Sands set up Mills who volleyed wide and Dan Morphew’s header was deflected over.
It was relentless pressure on the visiting defence and Needham forced 10 corners before taking a deserved lead in the 35th minute.
Jeremiah Kamanzi crossed from the right and Sands headed forward enabling Griffiths to ghost in and tap home.
However, Margate equalised against the run of play on the stroke of half-time with a self-inflicted home wound. Jake Dye hesitated in possession losing the ball resulting in the league’s joint leading scorer Jordon Chiedozie sweeping home his 25th goal of the season.
Needham continued to dominate and generally controlled the game and skipper Gareth Heath fired over. The visitors made two early substitutions, but in vain, as Wilkins’ side took the lead again.
It was a fine move that developed down the right that culminated in Dye atoning for his earlier aberration, squaring the ball with pace to the edge of the 18-yard line whereupon Griffiths sent a stunning first time shot into the roof of the net beyond the helpless Lenny Pidgeley.
The Marketmen then appeared to make the game safe when on 84 minutes Dan Morphew scored from the spot after Sands had been bundled over.
However, it was a tension-packed finish as substitute Jay May reduced the arrears five minutes later, but Needham held on deservedly for crucial points.
Referee – Mr Elliott Kaye.