DIVISION ONE NORTH
Needham Market 3
Ian Westlake believes there is much more to come from Needham Market after scoring less than two minutes into his debut for the Marketmen.
Needham — who visit Heybridge Swifts tomorrow (3pm) and host Wroxham on Tuesday (7.45pm) — began their quest for the Ryman League Division One North title with a 3-0 triumph over Romford at Bloomfields on Saturday.
Westlake’s deflected free-kick set the ball rolling before fellow debutant Lee Townrow and fans’ favourite Sam Newson settled the match inside the final five minutes.
“Hopefully we can go on and play better and better,” said ex-Ipswich Town and Leeds United midfielder Westlake. “We won 3-0, but we weren’t happy with how we played.”
He added: “If you don’t play well and win 3-0, it’s probably a good sign.”
It took the former professional less than two minutes to make his mark on the Ryman League when he curled a free-kick round Romford’s wall and into the top corner via a wicked deflection.
The Marketmen displayed some exciting attacking football as they zipped the ball across the Bloomfields pitch at pace and one such move led to Luke Ingram’s header from Darryl Coakley’s cross being clawed away by goalkeeper Aaron Oramd.
Needham continued to have the best of the opening 45 minutes, but the hosts only reached the break level courtesy of Sam Nunn’s brave block to deny George Woodward.
Romford were a little brighter as the second period began, but Needham were almost 2-0 to the good when captain Sheridan Driver latched on to Nunn’s delicately-clipped throughball and lobbed over the crossbar.
Driver turned provider in the 57th minute to tee up Jamie Guy, but the former Colchester United striker could only tread on the ball.
The visitors continued to pose more problems and the closest they got was when Kurt Smith charged down Nunn’s clearance and was superbly denied one-on-one by Andrew Plummer.
A pair of headers went close to adding to the scoreline — Nunn at one end and Tom Richardson at the other — but a third from Townrow sealed the result five minutes from time.
Coakley chipped in a free-kick from deep, Guy headed the ball across goal and Townrow stooped to nod the ball over the line and into an empty net.
Newson added gloss to the result in stoppage time when he collected a short corner, strolled into the penalty area and slammed a shot home inside the near post.
Needham: Plummer 7, Brown 7, Coakley 7, Driver 8, Nunn 8, Townrow 8, Ingram 7, Fenn 7, Guy 6 (Redgrave 87, 6), WESTLAKE 8, Charles 6 (Newson 66, 7). Subs not used: Morphew, Cripps, Poxon.