Needham Market 3
Brantham Athletic 2
Kemal Izzet has revealed he could not afford to gamble with his family’s future as he now aims to help guide Needham Market to promotion.
The former Colchester United captain shocked the footballing world last week to agree a two-year contract with the Marketmen despite offers to remain in the Football League.
However, after steering his new club through a challenging tie against lower-league opposition, scoring a delicate lob in between a brace from Sam Newson, the 32-year-old has no regrets about his decision.
“I could have played on in League One or League Two, but in a year’s time I could have been in the same predicament of not having a club because I’m not fortunate enough to have made enough money not to work again,” he said.
“It’s about trying to build a life for yourself outside of football and that’s what I’m trying to do here with the football academy, I’m trying to secure my family’s future.
“We want to get out of this division this year which to me is a must with the players we’ve got and that is something I’m sure we’ll be aiming to do.”
After a bright start to the tie by the visitors, Needham finally started to get hold of the match with Izzet going close on two occasions, curling an effort just past the post before tamely striking a left-foot effort straight at Ryan Bedingfield inside the area as the sides went in level at the interval.
However, that was not to be case for long as the match erupted into life just three minutes after the restart as Newson swept home a driven cross from the left to open the scoring.
Brantham responded immediately and levelled just a minute later as Sean Gunn capitalised on Plummer’s weak punched clearance to fire through a crowd of bodies and into the bottom right corner.
With 17 minutes remaining, Izzet introduced himself to the Bloomfields faithful in perfect fashion, showing his pedigree to lift an exquisite lob over Bedingfield to reinstates the hosts’ lead.
However, just as before the visitors struck back immediately as Edward Nobbs was picked out at the back post to slot a first time effort back across Plummer and into the far right corner.
Lee Grimwood missed the chance to win the tie late on, but he could only watch on in horror as with only Plummer to beat, his attempted lob fell tamely into the hands of the keeper.
And he was made to rue his miss as Ryan Charles weaved his way down the left flank before picking out Newson to tap home and send Needham through to the next round.