Wilkins calls for Needham reaction after big derby defeat

EARLY EXIT: Needham Market midfielder Keiran Morphew (right) was forced to come off injured late in the first-half during the Marketmens 4-0 defeat to local rivals Leiston on bank holiday Monday
EARLY EXIT: Needham Market midfielder Keiran Morphew (right) was forced to come off injured late in the first-half during the Marketmens 4-0 defeat to local rivals Leiston on bank holiday Monday
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RYMAN LEAGUE

PREMIER DIVISION

Needham Market 0

Leiston 4

Richard Wilkins is looking for Needham Market to bounce straight back to winning ways against Uxbridge in the Emirates FA Cup this weekend.

The Marketmen fell to their first defeat of the season on Bank Holiday Monday, losing 4-0 at home to local rivals Leiston at Bloomfields.

And after experiencing his first loss as Needham assistant manager, Wilkins has called for a reaction from his side when they visit lower league Uxbridge in the FA Cup first qualifying round tomorrow (3pm).

“The most important thing is the team doesn’t lose two on the spin,” the former Bury Town boss said.

“We need to bounce back. It’s a game which we should win, they’re a level below us but the FA Cup is the FA Cup, form goes out the window.

“We need to start on the front foot. I think if we do that we’ve got a fair chance of going through.

“But we need a better start to the game than what we did against Leiston.”

Needham found themselves 3-0 down with just 25 minutes on the clock on Monday, as table toppers Leiston, who came into the Suffolk derby with five wins from five games, hammered home a commanding advantage.

Joe Francis found the top corner of the Marketmen’s goal twice in the space of eight first-half minutes, with both strikes of real quality which home goalkeeper Danny Gay could do nothing about.

A mistake at the back gifted Matt Blake an opportunity to score Leiston’s third of the afternoon, before Gareth Heath completed the scoring 10 minutes from time.

A change in formation towards the end of the first-half coincided with an improvement from Needham, who enjoyed plenty more of the ball in the second-half, but crucially could not find a breakthrough.

And in the dying minutes of the game striker John Sands was sent off for a late tackle on Leiston’s Seb Dunbar, leaving the hosts to finish the game with 10 men.

Needham manager Mark Morsley, and his assistant Wilkins, both former managers of Leiston, went up against the Blues in an early season derby at Bloomfields having both made impressive starts to the season.

The Marketmen made it two wins and two draws from their four completed fixtures so far in 2016-17 away at Folkestone Invicta on Saturday, with Reece Dobson grabbing the winner on 53 minutes.

While for Leiston they came into the Bank holiday clash top of the fledgling Ryman League Premier Division table with a 100 per cent record.

The Blues were quick out of the blocks and could have been in front even earlier than Francis’ ninth minute opener.

Michael Brothers cleared an effort off the line, before Gay touched a header from Christy Finch over the crossbar as the visitors dominated the opening stages.

Francis provided the first goal for Leiston on nine minutes with a superb strike, curling the ball into the top corner after retrieving the ball from a half cleared free-kick near the corner flag.

At the other end Dobson and Sands combined well a few minutes later, but it was the Blues who would strike next, with Francis firing home another goal of similar quality to the one which broke the deadlock barely 10 minutes earlier.

Leiston stretched their lead even further in the 25th minute. Joe Whight missed his attempted clearance and Blake controlled the loose ball and calmly finished past Gay to make it 3-0.

Seconds after the visitors scored their third, Finch struck the crossbar.

It was the final straw for Morsley, who switched the Needham formation around and brought on Sam Nunn and Ollie Fenn either side of half-time.

After the restart the Marketmen enjoyed more of the ball and for most of the second-half matched their Suffolk rivals.

But on 80 minutes Leiston ended any hopes of a dramatic comeback by scoring a fourth.

Dunbar’s cross from the left reached an unmarked Heath at the far post, who sent the ball into the roof of the net to put the visitors 4-0 up.

Needham then ended the game with 10 men as ex-Leiston striker Sands’ rash tackle on Dunbar prompted a red card from the referee, which capped off an afternoon to forget for the home side.

Wilkins reflected: “I thought we had chances in the first-half. It wasn’t all one way traffic.

“In the second-half we pushed them and we needed to score early on but we didn’t.

“As the game wore on we probably had the lion’s share of the ball but we didn’t create enough to really threaten.”

n The Marketmen’s abandoned home league fixture with Canvey Island will be replayed on Tuesday (7.45pm).

n Needham Market have been drawn at home to Mildenhall Town in the first round of the Suffolk FA Premier Cup.

Needham Market: Gay, Dye, Coakley, Morphew (Nunn 35), Miller, Whight, Ingram, Izzet (Osei 70), Brothers, Sands, Dobson (Fenn 46). Subs not used: Clark, Curtis. Sent off: Sands. Referee: T Hancock. Attendance: 573.