Mark Morsley has lauded his Needham Market players for giving him a night off on Tuesday, as they returned to the summit of Ryman League Division One North.
The Marketmen may have only won by a solitary goal at in-form Tilbury — that a 35th-minute penalty from skipper Kemal Izzet — but, for Morsley, it was a coast to claiming three big points.
He said: “In my 14 years as a manager there have not been many games where I have felt comfortable enough to be able to rest my voice and enjoy watching my side play.
“But in the second half on Tuesday I did really enjoy it and did not feel in any danger of losing.
“It was only 1-0 but it could have been more and we just managed the game really well and the commitment defensively was superb.”
It followed a 3-0 away win on Saturday at another in-form side in Redbridge, with Luke Ingram adding to earlier strikes from Michael Brothers and Ryan Crisp.
Morsley, who gave a speech at the club’s academy opening night ahead of the new intake, at Brantham this week, was also delighted to see four Needham scholars; Jack Dye, Connor Ward, Taylor Bannister and Jack Newman involved in Ipswich Town Under-18s’ game with Crystal Palace.
Academy head coach Kevin Horlock said: “The four lads did very well and the Ipswich coaching staff were impressed with the lad’s technique and application.
“We have already had Ace Howell offered a contract so with this closer co-operation we hope that more of our scholars will follow him.”
Morsley’s side, now two points clear of Harlow Town with a game in hand, host Soham Town Rangers (11th) tomorrow (3pm) looking to make it four straight wins.
“We are not underestimating Soham,” he said. “They have a good manager and always give a tough game.
“Lately they have leaked some goals and we beat them in the FA Cup as well, and they will want to avenge that, but it is important we crack on with getting points now.”
Versatile pair Ollie Fenn and recent signing Joe Whight are set to continue together at centre-half, despite Sam Nunn (thigh) being back available for selection, while Chris Hogg (knee) is said to be a week away after starting training again.
Needham’s reserves travel to Braintree Reserves tomorrow (3pm), before Stowmarket Tuesday (7.45pm), winless in 12 games.