DIVISION ONE NORTH
Needham Market 1
Waltham Forest 6
Manager Danny Laws has admitted he could rightfully drop his entire backline for Needham Market’s trip to Thamesmead Town tomorrow (3pm).
The admission followed the Marketmen’s latest defensive horror show, in which they were failed to cope with the raw pace and ruthlessness of mid-table Waltham Forest’s front three, who uncovered an alarming amount of frailties within the hosts’ back line.
The defeat was Needham’s second in four days following a loss to Maldon and Tiptree United, in which goalkeeper Louis Johnson paid the price for conceding three, with his starting place against the Stags.
However, replacement Mark Bowden fared no better, as Adrian Clifton’s opener was added to with a brace from Joel Palmer and further strikes from Corey Whitely and Manu Dagher, as well as an own goal from Rhys Barber, after Nathan Clarke had reduced the deficit at 2-0, to cap off a frightful display on the eve of Halloween.
It means Needham have conceded nine goals in their last two outings ahead of the trip to high-flyers Thamesmead, before facing Bury Town at Ram Meadow in the Ryman League Charity Shield on Tuesday evening (7.45pm).
“The last two games have been incredibly frustrating, I just don’t really understand what is going wrong at the moment,” admitted a bewildered Laws.
“We’ve defended like schoolboys recently and I’m pretty disgusted, you could argue I should drop the whole back four.
“Thamesmead have a 100 per cent home record and we’ve just shipped nine goals so I’d be happy with a draw, you can safely say we’re the underdogs.”
A 12th-minute mistake by Ollie Fenn set the tone of the evening for the hosts when his misplaced pass was punished by Clifton, who took a touch before rifling a 30-yard strike beyond the reach of Bowden and into the top left-hand corner.
In the 24th minute, the visitors were gifted a second goal.
Pip Boyland’s short backpass on the left-hand side was seized upon by Dagher, who outpaced Clarke before seeing his low drilled cross inadvertently deflected into his own net by Rhys Barber.
Clarke gave the hosts a glimmer of hope, firing in from close range, but it soon turned into despair as the lively Whitely beat Jemel Fox on the right-hand side before somehow squeezing an angled effort across Bowden and into the far bottom corner, restoring Waltham’s two-goal lead before the break.
The second half failed to yield any improvement for Needham as a devastating 25-minute period sealed victory for Waltham
Palmer grabbed an 11-minute double, smashing a left-foot drive past Bowden having outpaced Fox three minutes after the restart, before seizing on another poor backpass from Boyland eight minutes later to round the keeper and slot home.
The dangerous Dagher added the sixth, cutting through the centre before drilling a low shot into the bottom left corner to complete Laws’ misery.