Needham Market 1
Bognor Regis Town 1
Needham Market captain Kem Izzet is excited to see what new central midfield partner Cameron Norman can produce for The Marketmen in the remainder of the season.
The former Norwich City player, who won the FA Youth Cup with the Canaries in 2013, put in a very assured display in the Suffolk side’s 2-2 draw with Ryman Premier Division leaders Bognor Regis Town on Saturday.
“I am very impressed with Cameron,” said Izzet, who played alongside Norman, and scored a delightful 25-yard goal to earn the Marketmen a well-deserved point against Bognor.
“He only trained with us on Thursday (after arriving from National League South side Concord Rangers) before coming straight in (to the starting line-up), but he gets around the pitch, passes the ball well, and has a really good size for this league.
“He knows when he needs to take a touch and when to turn and run, so I’m impressed with him so far.”
In truth, Needham were impressive as a team on Saturday.
After losing to Billericay Town (6-0) and Dulwich Hamlet (2-0) in their previous two games, they could have been fearing the worst after Gary Charman headed leaders Bognor into a 22nd-minute lead.
But, like they have done so often this season, Needham dug in to equalise through Luke Ingram’s excellent 34th-minute header, following Jack Simmons’ accurate cross.
Bognor retook the lead with a bundled second goal that Sami El-Abd claimed just three minutes later, but Needham ensured they took a share of the spoils when Izzet beautifully curled into the top corner from range, just moments before half-time.
Of his goal, Izzet, with a smile on his face, said: “It was definitely one of the better ones I’ve scored, that’s for sure.
“It was one from the middle of the foot and, as soon as I hit it, I knew it was going in.
“On another day, that goes 50 yards over the bar, but I’ll take finding the top corner.”
Both sides had chances to win the game in the second half, but, with no more goals, the points were deservedly shared, in Izzet’s opinion.
“2-2 was probably a fair result,” said the midfielder.
“We gave away a couple of sloppy goals but managed to claw ourselves back into the game.
“We’ve been behind quite a few times this season and gone on to win and draw games. We owed ourselves a bit of a performance after the last two games.
“On another day, we get the rub of the green and win it.”
Izzet and Norman are likely to start alongside each other in central midfield again tomorrow (3pm) when the now fourth-placed Marketmen travel to Tonbridge Angels, who leapfrogged them into third with a 1-1 draw with fellow promotion-hopefuls Havant & Waterlooville on Tuesday.
“The game against Tonbridge will be decent,” said Izzet.
“Their pitch is normally quite nice and big and that might allow us to get the ball down a little bit more.
“Our pitch is not helping us to get the ball down or pass like we want to, but it is what it is and we have to get on with it.”
Needham: Gay, Dye, Morphew, Nunn, Coakley, Ingram, Norman, Izzet, Simmons, Dobson, Sands. Unused subs: Miller, Holland, Clark, Whight, Munson.
Free Press man-of-the-match: Kem Izzet.