DIVISION ONE NORTH
Needham Market 3 Romford 3
NEEDHAM Market manager Danny Laws was left disappointed as his side missed out on guaranteeing a play-off spot after letting a two-goal advantage slip in 3-3 draw with Romford at Bloomfields.
All three points looked a certainty with 15 minutes to play after Sam Newson and Duane Wright added to Danny Bloomfield’s early opener in between Joe Bingham’s equaliser for the visitors just before the break.
However two goals in as many minutes from Kurt Smith and then Paul Clayton with ten minutes remaining, snatched an unlikely point for Romford and left the hosts still waiting to confirm their play-off berth.
The Marketmen now need a victory in their next match away to Chatham Town and Laws has urged his players to learn from the result and secure their place within the top five of the Ryman League Division One North table.
“I was really disappointed we let the two late goals in because we could have been celebrating being in the play-offs,” he said.
“We dominated for long periods, but we let slip a two-goal cushion.
“The lads knew they could have achieved our aim of promotion during the match and now they have to take that hurt of disappointment and put that right against Chatham.
“We have to win at Chatham now, in what will be another tough match, it is as simple as that.”
The home side got off to the perfect start as Bloomfield broke the deadlock within the opening two minutes. Racing on to Wright’s acute throughball, the striker kept his cool to slide a right-foot shot across Elliott Anderson and into the bottom left corner.
Dominating proceedings, Needham came a post’s width away from doubling their advantage after 36 minutes as Scott Chaplin cut inside his marker from the left, before curling a right-foot shot against the inside of the upright.
And he was made to rue that miss moments before the break as the visitors drew level against the run of play.
Joe Oates’ cross from the left was only partially cleared to the edge of the area where Bingham was waiting to unleash an unstoppable right-foot strike that flew past the helpless Liam Jones and into the top left corner.
Leading marksman Newson was introduced into the fray for the injured Bloomfield after the interval and the striker did not take long to make an impression.
In the 58th minute, he raced on to Angelo Harrop’s throughball and with just Anderson to beat, goalscorer Bingham, desperately tracking back, brought him down for a penalty.
Newson picked himself up and confidently slotted his spot-kick into the bottom right corner.
In the 75th minute, Newson turned provider, racing down the right wing before drilling the ball across the goalmouth for Wright to simply tap home, as Needham looked on course for victory.
However, five minutes later, Romford turned the game on its head as Kurt Smith controlled Jack Barry’s long ball into the box before bundling it under Jones to reduce the deficit.
Just a minute later, the comeback was complete as captain Clayton rose highest to head home Chris Sullivan’s in-swinging corner from inside the six-yard box, snatching a share of the spoils.
Needham: Jones 6, Boyland 7, R Barber 6, Fenn 6 (Smith 85, 6), De’ath 7, Johnson 6, WRIGHT 8, Harrop 7, Bloomfield 7 (Newson 45, 8), McGlone 7, Chaplin 7 (Napier 82, 6)
Subs not used: Wilkinson, Thrower
Shots on target 7 5
Shots off target 3 4
Woodwork 1 1
Corners 9 3
Offsides 5 3
FK Conceded 11 10
Red Cards: None
Referee: Darren Stobbart