DIVISION ONE NORTH
Needham Market 0 Leiston 5
LEISTON must have thought it was still Christmas after Needham Market gifted their visitors a comfortable three points in a humiliating 5-0 defeat in the Boxing Day derby at Bloomfields.
The game was still in the balance with the score level at half time but a devastating 35 minute period after the interval saw goals courtesy of Gareth Heath, Luke Hammond, Rhys Henry and a brace from former Needham striker Danny Smy, wrap up an emphatic victory for the visitors and leave the large Marketmen contingent void of any Christmas cheer.
A shell shocked Danny Laws was left to apologise to fans afterwards as he looked for reasons behind the defeat which saw Needham lose their hold of top spot in Ryman League Division One North.
“I am absolutely gutted for those fans who turned up and everybody will be hurting after this result,” he admitted.
“I thought there would be defining moments in the game and those two quick goals after the break killed us off and finished the game.
“I thought we were comfortable at half time but maybe we got into a comfort zone and underestimated them and they punished us.
“To lose 5-0 at home in a local derby at Christmas time is devastating but all we can do is to dust ourselves down and try and get back to winning ways.”
The hosts started brightly and had the opportunity to open the scoring after 26 minutes but Danny Thrower’s delivery to the back post from the left hand side was headed narrowly wide by Jose Espinosa.
The visitors responded moments before the break as the impressive Gareth heath drove forward from midfield, beat centre half Ollie Fenn on the edge area but was unable to cap off the solo effort, firing a vicious strike over the bar to end a distinctively poor half.
However, unpredictably, the second half was about to deliver a 45 minutes that would live up to the old cliche of it being a game of two halves.
Just five minutes after the re-start, Leiston broke the deadlock as Rhys Henry’s partially cleared cross fell to Heath inside the six-yard area to drill a low left foot shot past Andy Plummer.
A minute later it was two, as an un-marked Smy reacted quickest to Patrick Brother’s in-swinging corner to smash home from all of three yards.
A clearly shell shocked Needham back line were struggling to cope with a now rampant Leiston side who should have stretched their advantage further in 56th minute, but Henry’s right foot shot from Heath’s cut back on the right, crashed back off the inside of the left post.
However they would not have to wait long for a third as just five minutes later Luke Hammond, given far too much space inside the area, volleyed home Heath’s cross from the left, giving Plummer no chance.
The home side continued to fail to get a foot hold on the match and although Jose Espinosa created Needham’s only attempt on target after 69 minutes, Leiston inflicted more misery on the hosts with two more goals in as many minutes, ten minutes before the end.
First Smy grabbed his second goal of the game, volleying home a spectacular 30-yard right foot strike before, substitute Nathan Stone with space on the left hand side picked out Henry, whose right foot deflected off Johnson past a helpless Plummer to round off a forgettable afternoon for Needham.