Westlake double sends unbeaten Needham to the top

ON TARGET: Ian Westlake scored twice for Needham during Tuesday night's 4-2 win at home to Cheshunt
ON TARGET: Ian Westlake scored twice for Needham during Tuesday night's 4-2 win at home to Cheshunt

RYMAN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE NORTH: Needham Market 4 Cheshunt 2: Needham Market have signed goalkeeper Shaun Phillips to help maintain their winning run ahead of the visit of Tilbury tomorrow (3pm).

The league leaders — who travel to AFC Sudbury on Bank Holiday Monday (3pm) — have acted quickly to bring in a replacement for Andrew Plummer, following an injury to the shot-stopper.

Needham boss Mark Morsley drafted in the former Colchester United goalkeeper to step in-between the sticks while Plummer recovers and is set to make his debut at Bloomfields this weekend.

“Andy Plummer has torn his hamstring and will be out for four-to-six weeks,” explained Morsley. “We’ve signed Shaun Phillips, who will be on non-contract terms with us while Andy is out injured.

“He was Colchester United’s number two, but was released during the summer.

“Shaun played for me while I was at Leiston and I’m hoping he steps up to the plate.”

Needham handed a debut to reserve goalkeeper James Bradbrook on Tuesday night, as they moved to the top of the Ryman League Division One North table with a 4-2 victory against Cheshunt.

Luke Hammond and James Crisell both came into the starting line-up in the two other changes from their 1-0 victory at Thurrock on Saturday.

Christopher Hogg put the hosts ahead after 29 minutes before being pegged back by an Aryan Tajbakhsh free-kick on the half hour.

Needham restored their advantage just before half-time when Ian Westlake’s outstretched leg steered Crisell’s shot into the far corner.

But the Ambers responded once again after Anthony Anstead beat Bradbrook to a high ball and converted the rebound into an open goal.

Morsley’s side went 3-2 up when sub Luke Ingram’s corner was headed home by Sam Nunn after 78 minutes.

And the Marketmen sealed another three points when Westlake intercepted a loose pass before finishing past Glenn Williamson with a minute left of normal time.

“We weren’t at our best but we stuck at it and the belief we had in each other got us through,” said the Needham boss. “We’ve started really well, but it’s still very early days.

“Two games in three days will be a test for us, but we’ll just go about our business in the same way.”

Needham Market Reserves travel to March Town United tomorrow (3pm) before hosting Stowmarket Town at Bloomfields on Wednesday (7.45pm).

Kevin Horlock’s youngsters followed-up Friday’s 3-1 home win against AFC Sudbury Reserves with a 2-1 loss at Woodbridge Town on Wednesday.

Needham: Bradbrook 7, Morphew 7, Coakley 7, Hammond 7 (Fenn 58, 6), Hogg 7, Nunn 8, Newson 7, Izzet 7, Cunningham 6 (Crisp 42, 7), Crisell 7 (Ingram 64, 6), WESTLAKE 8. Subs not used: Howell, Munson. Attendance: 204.