Former Welsh youth international Charley Edge believes a squad with Needham Market’s talent should never have found themselves sucked into a relegation battle.
The Colchester United loanee, who made the switch to get game time at Bloomfields ahead of last week’s midweek win at Leatherhead, believes the Marketmen should be a lot higher up the Bostik League North Division table with the players at their disposal.
Following back-to-back defeats over the last week, a 3-0 home loss to league leaders Dulwich Hamlet on Saturday followed by Tuesday’s unfortunate 3-2 loss at Metropolitan Police, where they felt they were on the receiving end of some costly decisions, Richard Wilkins’ side have dropped to 17th place.
It still leaves them seven places above the single relegation place, which may not be implemented anyway, and with a buffer of 12 points.
But just a month ago things looked far from safe as they had been less than two wins above the bottom spot before hitting a purple patch.
Former Swansea, Stoke City and Everton youth midfielder Edge, who shone on his home debut on Saturday as Needham were beaten, said: “We have got quite a strong team and I think it is a bit of an injustice with where they are this season.
“I think they could be a lot higher because they have got a good team.”
Reflecting on Saturday’s display, which saw Nyren Clunis twice take advantage of home errors to have the leaders 2-0 ahead within 20 minutes, before Nathan Ferguson’s precise low finish made it three just after the interval, he said: “It was frustrating more than anything because the goals we have given away are sloppy.
“It was just two silly mistakes and then that was it, the game was gone.”
The 20-year-old, who has made his only first-team appearance for Sky Bet League Two side Colchester last February, is looking to impress at Needham in order to win himself an extension to his contract at his parent club, and has had little problem settling in.
“It is not far to come and I knew a couple of the lads, like Brendan (Ocran) and Jerry (Kamanzi), who have been at Colchester before with the Maldon link-up, and Callum Harrison and Callum Sturgess, so it has been quite easy to settle in.”
Meanwhile, manager Richard Wilkins felt his side were well worth a result from Tuesday’s trip to Met Police, with Luke Ingram (36’) having fired them into the lead before Jonny Wright (45’), Sam Williams (52’) and Liam Enver-Marum (55’) put the hosts 3-1 ahead. Brendan Ocran (66’) pulled it back to 3-2 with a screamer but the controversial dismissal of Sam Nunn left Needham too much to do.
“We were disappointed with a few decisions that went against us,” said Wilkins. “We should have gone in at half-time 1-0 up but the linesman’s flag did not go up, although it was clear on the video.”
He added: “It was a very harsh decision on Sam Nunn and the linesman was over-ruled by the ref, who was about 40 yards away.”
Needham will be looking to get back to winning ways when they host second-from-bottom Tooting & Mitcham tomorrow before travelling to play-off chasing Leiston on Monday (both 3pm), looking to avenge their 5-2 home loss.
But while Adam Mills (ankle) returned from injury on Tuesday, it looks as if striker John Sands could be ruled out for the remainder of the campaign after damaging his ribs and shoulder in a nasty building site accident.