Needham Market striker John Sands is hoping his injury-time penalty winner at the weekend will be the first of many goals he scores during the rest of the season, writes Alex Moss.
The popular forward ended a seven-week injury lay off by coming on as a 70th-minute substitute in the Marketmen’s 2-1 win against Kingstonian on Saturday.
With Needham trailing 1-0 and heading for their first Ryman League Premier Division home defeat since mid-November, the returning Sands set up Luke Ingram to equalise seven minutes later.
Ingram was fouled in the box deep into second-half injury time, with Sands converting the penalty to seal a dramatic win at Bloomfields.
“It was really good to come back,” said Sands, whose last appearance before Saturday for the Marketmen had been in a 3-3 draw away at Enfield Town on December 10.
“The rest has done me good. I went to see a specialist about my knee and they said I’m 98 per cent all healthy.
“I’m going to play for the rest of the season and then in the summer I’m going to flush out anything I need to.
“To come on and do my part on Saturday, I was over the moon. I’ve never seen myself as a bench player, but I know I’ll be on the bench for a few games while I gradually build up my fitness.”
Needham (2nd) are back on the road this weekend with a trip to 10th-placed Worthing tomorrow (3pm).
Sands posted on social media early last week that he would ‘take scoring the winner’ against Kingstonian, a prediction which proved to be true.
The striker has gazed into his crystal ball once again and is predicting another win for Needham.
“I’ll be coming off the bench but I’m feeling a brace maybe,” he said.