Grinder Gavin gives Marketmen extra edge

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NEEDHAM Market manager Danny Laws has hailed the experience of defender Gavin Johnson as the main contributing factor behind his side’s changing mentality to grind out victories.

The Marketmen stretched their consecutive winning streak to eight matches in Ryman League Division One North after a hard-fought 2-1 victory in their top-of-the-table clash with second-placed Essex outfit Grays Athletic.

Although the match did not deliver the usual goal-fest that Needham fans have been treated to in recent weeks at Bloomfields, with a total of 14 goals scored in the previous four home matches, Laws was just as satisfied with the style of the win and credited stalwart Johnson for his positive impact on the team.

“Good sides win in different ways, we saw that game out in the last 25 minutes,” he said.

“I want that mentality to stay because we haven’t particularly had that in the past.

“That might not always be great for the fans, but if we do that, the league table will look after itself.

“To me that is down to the experience we now have with players like Gavin Johnson.

“He has played at a high level throughout his career and to have him at centre-half makes us a lot stronger and that is all credit to Gavin.

“I feel Gavin has flown under the radar when it has come to praise, but he has been fantastic.

“I am just so glad we managed to persuade him that this is where he should be and it is fantastic he took us up on the offer.”

Two challenging away trips kick-off a busy Christmas period for Needham with a match with sixth-placed Brentwood tomorrow (3pm) followed by another testing game against eighth-placed Harlow Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).

The manager is fully aware of the challenge facing his players, but remains confident of extending their impressive run of form.

“Brentwood will be a different match from the one in the cup and we can’t read much into that victory,” he added.

“Harlow are another tough side and we are going to have to work our socks off and make sure we are prepared.

“It is two tough away games against teams who will have aspirations of finishing in the top five but this group of players will do for me what they have done all season and stick together and do all they can to continue our unbeaten run.”