Needham Market 3 (Page 38′ 55′, Hunt 69′)
Bromsgrove Sporting 0
A rampant Needham Market continued their unbeaten start to the league season, with a 3-0 win over Bromsgrove Sporting.
Two goals from Callum Page and one for William Hunt saw the home side claim all three points, in an action packed encounter that also saw two missed penalties and a sending off.
Sporting actually started the game brightly, with a quick Josh Quaynor free kick resulting in Jason Cowley having a one-on-one saved, from which the resultant corner saw Luke Ward have a header blocked on the line.
The lively Ben Fowkes had a trio of chances midway through the half for the Marketmen; the first of these, from a good position, was met with a Daniel Platt save. The next found the side netting and the third was a pop from around 20 yards that Platt saved smartly low down.
The 35th minute should have seen Needham take the lead. The ball was played into the area, from where captain Gareth Heath had a close range shot spectacularly saved by Platt – the rebound was blocked by a Bromsgrove defender and the passage of play finally came to an end, with Page blasting over.
The opener finally came three minutes later; Page had a shot from 20 yards which Platt got a good hand to but, unfortunately for him, the ball looped high into the air and found its way into the net.
Fowkes had another effort saved by Platt with two minutes of the half remaining but Sporting had a golden opportunity even deeper into the 45 to level proceedings.
Cowley was fouled in the box and the spotkick was taken by Bromsgrove captain Leon Broadhurst; he aimed very central to the goal, but Marcus Garnham stood his ground and was able to block it away.
Needham had chances early in the second half to double the lead; Byron Lawrence capped off a well worked corner routine with a shot that was blocked on the line, before Hunt had a close range shot blocked well by Platt.
This was quickly followed by a penalty for the home side; a header hit the crossbar, which caused a slight goalmouth scramble which resulted in a foul being committed. Upstepped Hunt, who knocked the ball towards Platt’s left but the Sporting stopper met it with a strong palm.
However, the 55th minute saw the lead eventually increased to two. Fowkes hit the post with an effort from a fairly acute angle, with the rebound falling to Page, who tapped into an empty net for his second.
Sporting’s Jack Wilson had a shot from the edge of the area that produced a decent save from Garnham just shy of the hour mark. Soon after, Platt was equal to a Fowkes drive from around 20 yards, while Quaynor and substitute Kieren Westwood had chances from range saved by the Needham keeper.
The result was put beyond any reasonable doubt in the 69th minute; a ball over the back of the Sporting defence was taken under control by Hunt, who coolly slotted home into the top corner.
Gift Mussa and Cowley both had efforts saved by Garnham afterwards, with Needham substitute Kai Fletcher almost adding a fourth from inside the box, were it not for an alert Platt making an instinctive block.
The afternoon ended on a slightly downbeat note for the home side, as full back Callum Sturgess was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Chris Lait in the 88th minute. But it was a stylish victory for the hosts, who could have scored more if it wasn’t for the impressive string of saves from Platt in the Sporting goal.
Entertainment Rating: 4/5
Player of the Match: Ben Fowkes (Needham Market)