BACK TO BACK HOME DEFEATS FOR TOWN
Enfield Town 0 Needham Market 2
This was a bitterly disappointing result against a team at the wrong end of the table just six points away from the single relegation spot at the start of the game.
After Adam Mills had tested home keeper Joe Wright with a cross-cum-shot which held up in the wind, the Marketmen took the lead in straightforward fashion when the unmarked Mills converted at the near post from an inswinging corner on the visitors' right in the 12th minute.
In terms of the outcome of the game, a pivotal moment was the sending off of home keeper Joe Wright after he had brought down Mills for a clear penalty in the 19th minute, but with referee Dean Skipper ruling that a red card was an appropriate additional punishment. Centre back Mat Mitchel-King donned the goalkeeper's jersey, and there was a mountain to climb for Town once the stand-in keeper had been sent the wrong way by Dan Morphew’s spot-kick.
Town made a good fist of protecting Mitchel-King for the remainder of the half, keeping the score at 0-2 despite a number of “shoot on sight” attempts by the visitors, and they created a number of chances themselves, going close with shots from Sam Youngs and Mario Noto and headers by Simon Thomas and Mark Kirby. John Sands fired a free-kick just wide for the visitors as the half drew to a close.
Half-time: Enfield Town 0 Needham Market 2
Despite a good deal of home possession, and to their credit it was not always apparent that the hosts were playing a man short for the majority of the game, Needham keeper Danny Gay had relatively little to do after the break, although he was tested on the odd occasion, not least when he did well to save Noto's fine left foot strike midway through the half.
Needham were comfortable for much of the remainder of the match and, although they didn't commit too many men forward as they opted to protect three precious points, they had relatively few anxious moments.
Callum Harrison shot wide and John Sands' header was similarly off target from Brendan Ocran’s cross as the home rearguard held firm; Mitchel-King doing all that could have been asked of him with a resolute display between the sticks. Needham substitute Ryan Gibbs could have added a third for his side with a few minutes remaining, but his strike was well very saved by the stand-in keeper.
Town's final meaningful effort was a drive from Ryan Blackman that Gay had covered as it drifted narrowly wide. Town have a chance to bounce back from their current slump with a League Cup quarter final at Metropolitan Police on Tuesday.
Full Time: Enfield Town 0 Needham Market 2
Enfield Town: Joe Wright, John Kyriacou, Samir Bihmoutine, Mat Mitchel-King, Mark Kirby, Mario Noto (Jack Hockney 73), Ryan Blackman, Sam Youngs, Simon Thomas (Ryan Blake 63), Mickey Parcell (Danny Rumens 21), Aaron Greene. Unused subs: Taylor McKenzie, Liam Hope. Booked: Bihmoutine. Sent off: Wright.
Needham Market: Danny Gay, Jake Dye, Callum Sturgess, Jeremiah Kamanzi, Keiran Morphew, Dan Morphew, Luke Ingram, Callum Harrison (Brendan Ocran 70), Jack Simmons (Ryan Gibbs 79), John Sands (Rhys Henry 83), Adam Mills. Unused subs: Darryl Coakley, James Bradbrook. Booked: Harrison, Sturgess.