RYMAN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE NORTH Needham Market 1
Needham Market manager Mark Morsley has warned rivals his side can only get better after maintaining their unbeaten start to the season.
Jamie Guy struck the decisive blow, smartly sweeping home substitute Ryan Charles’ cut-back in the 80th minute, but not before the visitors had been reduced to 10-men following Hussanou Jaffa’s second yellow card for upending Luke Ingram when clean through 10 minutes earlier.
The result keeps the Marketmen on the coattails of the top two ahead of hosting Wroxham at Bloomfields tomorrow (3pm) and a trip to rivals AFC Sudbury on Tuesday (7.45pm), and Morsley is confident there is still yet more to come from his blossoming squad.
“The most pleasing thing for me is that we are a new team that has been thrown together over the summer and we can only get better,” he said.
“What we have got is a phenomenal team spirit and you can see that when we score, everyone is together, there is no bickering going on.
“There is a genuine unity in the group and that will carry us a long way forward — we’re certainly in a good place.
“However, there are 46 league games and we’ve only just started, but we have 10 points and I am very happy.
“Wroxham is going to be a tough game because there are no easy games in this league and obviously Sudbury is a local derby where it is not about form because anything can happen.
“I’m looking forward to it because I had two great years there, but I’m sure I’ll get a bit of stick from the supporters — it should be a great game.”
A scrappy start to the encounter was finally ended after 23 minutes as Sam Newson called Dean Driscoll into action, turning his curling effort around the post after the striker had cleverly engineered himself some space on the edge of the area.
The visitors responded strongly as the half wore on and should have found themselves ahead 10 minutes later when the lively Leslie Thompson beat the home offside trap to find himself bearing down on goal.
However, with only goalkeeper Andrew Plummer to beat, the winger hesitated, allowing Ollie Brown to get back, as he rolled his effort wide of the right upright under pressure.
Opportunities continued to follow for Redbridge as just a minute later, the imposing Geoffrey Mitchell, whose physical presence caused havoc throughout the match, spurned a good chance, lashing into the side-netting when well placed, before Emiel Aiken headed over Eljay Worrell’s corner with the last chance of the half.
The second period started as the first ended, but this time with Mitchell heading over Worrell’s delivery, before four minutes later Sheridan Driver brought the best out of Driscoll, who made himself big to turn away the Needham captain’s close-range effort from a Sam Nunn flick-on.
Mitchell wasted another golden opportunity at the other end, curling over the bar from inside the area, before the impressive Matt Cripps stung the palms of Driscoll with a first-time 25-yard effort in the 69th minute as the match became increasingly stretched.
Then came the 70th-minute flash point as Jaffa was dismissed for hauling down Ingram as he raced through on goal, having previously been booked midway through the first half for a foul on Brown, giving Needham 20 minutes to seize the numerical order.
And they did just that with ten minutes remaining as Guy, who had an effort flash past the post five minutes previously, swept home from close range after good work on the left from Charles to seal all three points.
Needham: Plummer, Brown, Morphew, Cripps, Driver, Nunn, Ingram, Fenn, Guy (Norfolk 85), Newson, Redgrave (Charles 45)
Subs not used: Leabon, Poxon, Munson
Shots on 6 1
Shots Off 4 8
Woodwork 0 0
Corners 2 7
Offsides 6 3
FK conceded 12 11
Bookings: Redbridge: Jaffa (foul), Jaffa (foul)
Red cards: Redbridge: Jaffa (second bookable offence)