Needham after a quick reaction

RESPONSE DEMANDED: Needham assistant Richard Wilkins

RESPONSE DEMANDED: Needham assistant Richard Wilkins

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Needham Market assistant boss Richard Wilkins is looking for an instant reaction from his players when they host Folkestone Invicta tomorrow (3pm).

The Marketmen suffered a disappointing start to 2017 with a 5-1 mauling at Leiston – only their fifth loss of the campaign – on Monday, where Luke Ingram was on target in the second half.

Wilkins said: “We got well beaten by Leiston at the end of August and we didn’t really turn up on Monday either.

“The first goal was always going to be crucial and, although I felt our goalkeeper was impeded, it was one-way traffic after that.

“No department came out of the game with any real credit and we let our supporters down.”

The defeat saw Needham, whose game at Billericay was postponed due to fog on Friday, relinquish top spot to Bognor Regis Town.

“We haven’t been rolled over easily too many times this season but we need to bounce straight back,” admitted Wilkins.

“It’s important that we can now go on another run and put five or six results together.”

The Marketmen have bolstered their squad with the signing of winger Jack Simmons from Canvey Island, while Keiran Morphew enjoyed 25 minutes of action at Leiston after three months on the sidelines with an injured ankle.

Simmons re-joined Canvey Island from National League South side Dartford in May last year.

He first came through the ranks at Colchester United, being rewarded with a professional development contract in 2013, and has also appeared for Leiston.

“Jack has always done well when he has played against us in the past and he will give us a different dimension once he is fit and has got some games under his belt,” said Wilkins.

“He has missed the last few weeks with a damaged shoulder but I expect him to get into his stride quickly.

“It’s also great to have Keiran (Morphew) back and it was good that he came through 25 minutes unscathed on Monday. We are perhaps looking to add another offensive player to the squad in the next couple of weeks.”

Striker John Sands is still awaiting a scan on his troublesome knee after suffering a suspected cartilage injury and he isn’t expected back until the penultimate month of the season.