Hectic finale hit Needham’s bid

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DISAPPOINTED Needham Market captain Rhys Barber believes having to play two matches in three days played a major role in his side missing out on promotion to the Ryman League Premier Division.

The Marketmen were forced to face Enfield Town in their play-off final encounter on Sunday, despite a request to move the game to the Bank Holiday Monday, just three days after their gruelling 4-3 rearranged semi-final victory over Tilbury after extra-time.

The rigours of that encounter appeared evident against Enfield as Needham looked jaded throughout large periods of the tie and Barber is in no doubt fatigue made a difference.

“It was always going to be difficult coming from that 120 minutes of the semi-final on Friday, straight to the final on Sunday,” he said. “I think that did make a huge difference because players were struggling late on where as Friday we showed we can be strong late in a match.

“It was always going to a tough ask to come back from a goal down at their ground after the effort we had to put in on Friday.”

Reflecting on an ultimately disappointing end to the season, Barber believes inconsistency was a factor in Needham failing to gain promotion but backed his side to bounce back stronger next season.

“It has been and up and down season,” he added. “When we were good, we were good, but when we were poor we were poor and unfortunately against Enfield we were probably average.

“We just have to look to get over the play-off final defeat, come back in pre-season and look to push on again.”