‘Next four games could decide the Marketmen’s destiny’ says Wilkins

KEEPING COOL: John Sands shows composure from the penalty spot
KEEPING COOL: John Sands shows composure from the penalty spot
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Richard Wilkins believes the next four games could go a long way to deciding whether Needham Market finish in the play-offs this season.

The Marketmen host play-off-chasing Wingate & Finchley (8th) at Bloomfields tomorrow (3pm), before facing a tricky trip to mid-table Billericay Town on Wednesday (7.45pm).

Needham (2nd) will then see out the month with visits to Dulwich Hamlet (ninth) and current Ryman League Premier Division leaders Bognor Regis Town (1st).

And assistant boss Wilkins says the results his side pick up during the rest of February may have a big say in whether the Marketmen finish in the top five.

“The next four games are massive,” Wilkins said. “After these next four games we’ll have 10 games left.

“We need to pick up points in these games. We’re playing Dulwich and Bognor, two teams who are around us in the table, and we’ve also got to go to Billericay, who are a big-spending team and are only going to get better.

“We’ve got a tough game on Saturday first against Wingate, and then we have three games straight after that which are all going to be very difficult.

“The next four games could be massive in deciding our destiny this season.”

Needham finished on the wrong side of a seven-goal thriller at Woodside Road at the weekend, as two goals in three minutes late in the second half helped hosts Worthing to a 4-3 win.

The Marketmen had made a bright start, with Luke Ingram powerfully heading home from a corner on 13 minutes to put the visitors ahead, before they were pegged back just shy of the half hour mark when Lloyd Dawes scored from the penalty spot.

Aaron Hopkinson put Worthing in front in the 52nd minute, before the returning Billy Clark, making his first appearance since early September, set up top scorer Reece Dobson to equalise on 61 minutes.

The hosts then struck a killer double blow as the match entered the 80th minute, with quick fire goals from Harvey Sparks and Omar Bugiel handing Worthing a 4-2 lead.

John Sands gave the Marketmen hope of a late comeback when he converted a penalty a minute from time, but despite a lengthy amount of injury time, the hosts held on for the three points.

“It was a little bit disappointing not to get a result on Saturday,” Wilkins reflected.

“I felt we had a couple of bad calls go against us, with some decisions which didn’t quite go our way.

“We started the game very well and we perhaps should have been two or three goals up, but we didn’t hit the target enough.

“After we scored our second goal we looked to be slightly on top, but they scored two goals in two or three minutes to go 4-2 up and we didn’t defend as well as we should have done.

“When you score three away from home you should hope to come away with the win. It’s something we’ve got to take on the chin and hopefully we can bounce back and get a win this Saturday.”

Centre-back Sam Nunn came through training on Tuesday night and should return to make up a full strength squad for tomorrow.