Morsley is left thanking his luck as Needham stay in play-off hunt

JUST REWARDS: Young defender Keiran Morphew has been rewarded for an impressive campaign with a new three-year deal at Bloomfields
JUST REWARDS: Young defender Keiran Morphew has been rewarded for an impressive campaign with a new three-year deal at Bloomfields
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Mark Morsley has been left counting his lucky stars as his 
Needham Market side cling on to their hope of sealing a place in the play-offs.

Following a disappointing week in which the Marketmen followed up a 3-2 defeat to promotion rivals Thurrock with a 1-1 draw against struggling Barkingside, courtesy of Ryan Crisp’s leveller, Morsley’s men looked to have thrown away hopes of finishing in the Ryman League Division One North top five.

However, with their rivals failing to capitalise, the Bloomfields-based outfit remain just five points off the pace with the a game in hand over Harlow Town in the final play-off spot.

And after being granted a second chance, Morsley — whose side were due to host basement side Waltham Forest last night, before welcoming Waltham Forest on Saturday (3pm) and visiting Romford on Wednesday (7.45pm) — is relieved to still have Needham’s destiny is their own hands.

“We have had a very 
poor week in which we 
didn’t step up, but thankfully no one else did,” he said. “The fact of the matter is we 
should have been out the 
promotion race by now but we aren’t.

“Thankfully, our destiny is still in our own hands and that is all you can ask for.

“It will be a similar test coming up in the next week to the one we faced in the last and we are certainly not throwing the towel in just yet.”

With a squad including former professionals Kemal Izett, Ian Westlake and Chris Hogg, an inability to gain promotion may be considered a failure by most.

However, the manager has brushed off the claim as he looks to a brighter future, no matter the outcome of the current campaign.

“There is absolutely no pressure from the club towards me,” he added.“The club needs longevity and that is what they given me.

“We have former professionals, but they have been balanced with youth, which is the model we will take forward.

“Whatever happens, I know we will come back stronger next season having come through this the learning curve of this campaign.”

n Morphew has been rewarded for his stellar form this season with a new three-year contract at Bloomfields.

n Last Thursday, Needham fought back from 3-0 down to 3-2 through Morphew and David Cowley, but could not find an equaliser against Thurrock.

n Needham Market Reserves head into a busy fixture period on the back of successive victories. Ahead of visiting Long Melford tomorrow (3pm) before hosting Swaffham Town on Monday and Haverhill Borough on Wednesday (both 7.45pm), the reserves sealed successive 1-0 wins against Fakenham Town and Haverhill Borough.

n Needham Market Under-18s will face their counterparts from Cornard United in the Suffolk Youth Cup final at Bury Town’s Ram Meadow ground on Thursday (7.45pm).