DIVISION ONE NORTH
Needham Market 2
Chatham Town 1
Needham Market manager Mark Morsley has indicated talented youngster Ace Howell must fight his way back into the first team.
The Marketmen’s boss — whose side travel to Great Wakering Rovers tomorrow (3pm) — cited ‘commitment issues’ as the reason behind the teenager being dropped from his squad.
Howell — who has recently been on trial at Ipswich Town — is still at the club’s academy, where he will have to prove himself again to Morsley.
“There’s been one or two concerns about his commitment to the football club and also his commitment to the trials,” said the Needham boss. “The trials at Ipswich were cut short, but it is still an ongoing situation.
“The door is always open for a return, but at the moment he’s no longer a part of the first team.”
Needham won their second straight match on Saturday since losing 2-1 at title rivals Harlow Town a fortnight ago.
Goals from the returning Rhys Henry and Luke Ingram secured a 2-1 home success for the Marketmen against struggling Chatham Town.
The hosts dominated the first half and were denied on several occasions by visiting goalkeeper Thomas Wellham, with efforts from Ingram, Henry and Ryan Crisp all kept out.
But Needham finally broke Chatham’s resistance on 40 minutes when Henry rushed on to Kem Izzet’s throughball.
The former Southend United trainee — making his second debut at Bloomfields — rounded Wellham and slotted home into an empty net.
The league leaders were much slower to get out of the blocks in the second half, and paid the price when Chatham equalised through Junior Kaffo.
Ollie Fenn’s header back to goalkeeper Shaun Phillips lacked pace and Kaffo fired the loose ball home on 75 minutes.
However, parity did not last long, as Needham regained their lead just two minutes later.
After Henry’s shot had been parried by Wellham, Ingram’s powerful strike from the rebound found the net for his 10th goal of the season.
“I thought we played very well,” said Morsley. “We had a bit of a scary moment when they got it back to 1-1, after a very unusual Ollie Fenn mistake.
“But I thought we dominated the first half and could have won by a lot more really.”
The Marketmen will welcome back Darryl Coakley and Ian Westlake to the squad for this weekend’s trip to Burroughs Park, but will be without captain Izzet and top goalscorer Sam Newson.
Danny Cunningham has played his final game for the club after leaving by mutual consent last week.
NEEDHAM: Phillips 6, Brown 6 (Heath 45, 6), Mills 8, Fenn 6, Hogg 7, Nunn 7, Henry 8, Izzet 7, Crisp 7, Morphew 7, INGRAM 8. Subs not used: Jo. Dye, Ja. Dye, Newman, Munson.