Mills bags winner as Marketmen beat Lowestoft in Suffolk derby
- Credit: Archant
Needham Market 1 Lowestoft Town 0
Adam Mills netted a 50th minute winner as Needham Market beat Lowestoft Town in a windswept Suffolk derby at Bloomfields, in the Southern League Premier Central this afternoon.
In one of the only few local games to survive the wild weather, the Marketmen went some way towards ensuring that they will finish this season as the highest-ranked Suffolk non-league team.
This was their fifth win in their last six matches, the first three recorded under former manager Richard Wilkins, and the recent two under new boss Kevin Horlock.
They are now 12 points clear of the Trawlerboys, in the table, although their win was slightly tarnished by a serious-looking injury to Joe Marsden, who was stretchered off late in the game.
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Needham broke the deadlock inside five minutes of the second half, via a smart finish from Mills, and that proved to be the match winner.
Marsden delivered a pinpoint cross from the right flank, into the six-yard box, where an onrushing Mills was able to steer his downward header into the centre of the net.
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Needham largely played against a strong swirling wind in the first half, but they still created the better of the few scoring opportunities on offer.
Billy Hunt should really have netted the opener in the eighth minute. The ex-Brightlingsea Regent goal poacher was teed up by Mills, who delivered a fine cross from the left, but his cleanly-struck low shot flew wide of the far post.
A minute later and midfielder Russell Short curled a 20-yarder narrowly over the bar, as the Marketmen continued to look the more likely scorers.
Lowestoft's best chance of the first half fell to striker Jake Reed, who was unmarked at the far post, only to lean back and see his shot fly harmlessly over the bar.
On 18 minutes, the visitors threatened again via 25-yard firecracker from central midfielder Ross Jarvis which keeper Marcus Garnham managed to deflect into the air before fumbling the ball behind for a corner.
Lowestoft keeper Luis Tibbles ventured our of his box and struggled to clear his lines, on the 20-minute mark, leaving his goal unguarded. Hunt pounced on the loose ball, but his attempted lob was charged down by a defender.
Needham went close, five minutes before the interval. Marsden whipped over a dangerous low cross into the box, where defender Dylan Ruffles nearly diverted the ball into his own net. He made good contact, the ball flying just wide of the near upright.
But it took the hosts just five minutes of the second period to break the deadlock, Mills nodding home Marsden's cross.
Lowestoft rarely threatened, although keeper Garnham did well to block Reed's goalbound drive in the 56th minute, while 20 minutes later centre-half Dan Morphew charged down Malachi Linton's shot at point blank range, following good work by Reed.
On 80 minutes, Reed actually found the back of the net, after being released by Linton, but the assistant referee had already raised his flag for offside against the Trawlerboys striker.
A serious injury to Marsden caused a long break in play, from the 84-minute mark, which ensured there would be seven minutes of stoppage time.
In the second of these, Garnham beat away a swirling free-kick by substitute Louis McIntosh, while at the other end Callum Page's rising shot clipped the bar on 95 minutes.
NEEDHAM: Garnham, Marsden (sub Dye, 90), Sturgess, Short (sub Parker, 90), K Morphew, D Morphew, Page, Heath, Hunt, Collard, Mills (sub Ingram, 72). Unused subs: Diogo, Shorten.
LOWESTOFT: Tibbles, Ruffles (sub Cole, 53), Wilkinson, Jarvis (sub Deeks, 79), Curry, Tann, Lopez (sub McIntosh, 70), Fisk, Reed, Linton, Zielonka. Unused subs: Richardson, Wilkinson,