Needham boss says side cannot afford to let their new lead slip

CLEAN SHEET: Craig Brand claims a cross during Team Bury's goalless draw against Haverhill Borough in the Thurlow Nunn First Division on Saturday
CLEAN SHEET: Craig Brand claims a cross during Team Bury's goalless draw against Haverhill Borough in the Thurlow Nunn First Division on Saturday
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Now they have a five-point gap at the top of Ryman One North, Needham Market’s manager has stressed the importance of maintaining it.

After a 2-0 home win over Soham Town Rangers on Saturday (Sam Newson 7, 44), they used their game-in-hand on Harlow Town to extend their lead by three points after a 3-1 win at play-off chasers Brentwood Town on Tuesday.

But ahead of a different challenge at a struggling side in Cray Wanderers tomorrow (3pm) — who have not won a game in their last five attempts and sit second-from-bottom in the table — Mark Morsley is not about to tolerate anyone in his side taking their foot off the gas now.

“The problem with a buffer is you lose a bit of that buffer you encourage the other side,” he said.

“I said to the lads after the Brentwood game that I would give them the night off training, but I also said it is easy to motivate them to play against Brentwood but they will have to be equally motivated to go to Cray Wanderers.”

After a cagey first-half on Tuesday, Luke Ingram scored twice in 16 minutes from his 50th-minute breakthrough, with Sam Newson adding a third in the 81st before Stanley Sherwood replied with a consolation in the 90th minute.

Walsham-le-Willows are looking up the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division table again after a magnificent 4-1 triumph at Gorleston on Saturday.

Martin McDonnell bagged a brace on the east coast, while Ryan Foster and Charlie Webb were also on target for Paul Smith’s men.

The Willows — who host Kirkley and Pakefield tomorrow (3pm) — may be 14th in the Premier Division standings, but they are just four points shy of the top eight.

Thetford Town, a place lower than Walsham after drawing 0-0 with Haverhill Rovers on Saturday, are looking forward to a Norfolk derby against runaway league leaders Norwich United tomorrow (3pm).

Mildenhall Town could not quite overcome the table-toppers on Saturday, going down 2-1, and they will be hoping for better fortune on a return to home soil when they welcome Gorleston to Recreation Way tomorrow (3pm).

In the First Division, Team Bury continue to play catch-up having played less matches than anyone else.

They drew 0-0 with Haverhill Borough on Saturday before beating Cornard United 4-3 at home on Tuesday.

The young Blues travel to Halstead Town tomorrow (3pm) and Cornard on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Stowmarket Town lost 2-1 to AFC Sudbury Reserves on Saturday but won 4-0 at home to Needham Market Reserves on Tuesday. They do not play again until March 21 (3pm) when they visit Downham Town.

Aside from their clash with Stow this week, Needham’s reserves were beaten 2-0 at Braintree Town Reserves on Friday. They host Debenham LC tonight (7.45pm) and Great Yarmouth Town Wednesday (3pm).