Ryman League play-off semi-finals update: Needham Market game OFF again and rearranged for Thursday

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THE effect of heavy rain on the pitch at Tilbury’s Chadfields means it has failed its third pitch inspection in two days and tonight’s game has been posptoned with officials hoping to try again on Thursday.

The game was originally scheduled for Tuesday night but has been postponed for the second day running with just one area of the pitch still waterlogged.

Tilbury chairman Robin Nash said: “We will have to try again tomorrow as one part of the pitch is still holding it.

“We have had two pitch inspections today, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

“Because of the drainage system we have one area of it is still holding it.”

He added: “We have worked very hard on it and had six or seven people working on it.”

Needham Market finished their season in 4th place in the Ryman League Division One North table after a 2-1 defeat to Brentwood Town at Bloomfields on Saturday to set-up an away tie with 3rd-placed Tilbury.

Setting up a semi-final in front of their own fans had been in their grasp until suffered the disappointing defeat against ninth-placed Brentwood.

But manager Danny Laws is of the opinion that playing away from home is far from a bad thing for his side.

“Our home form is not great and possibly going away from home creates a siege mentality,” he said. “We have lost six games at home and, like against Chatham, we had a siege mentality and I think maybe some players have got in a comfort zone here thinking thinks are going to go right for them, and it hasn’t more often than not.

“I have maintained all along the only inconvenience is you have to make sure there is not a traffic jam and that is it as far as I am concerned.”

The Marketmen ended their season in fourth position following Grays Athletic suffering a 3-0 defeat to Enfield while Tilbury beat Thamesmead Town 4-3 to move up to third.

Laws said: “We have finished fourth and it is the sixth season on the trot I have been at this football club and we have never finished below fourth so I am happy with that and it is now on to the play-offs.

“I am pleased we finished with a flurry (on Saturday).

“I would have hated it to go out with a damp squib 3-0, 4-0 with defensive errors.

“We came out with a bit of a fight (second half) and got a goal so we can take that into Tuesday night.”

Needham drew 1-1 last time out at Tilbury with Bradley Barber, Saturday’s goalscorer, finding the net. And the Reds thrashed them 4-1 on their own turf back in October (Wright, Newson, Thrower & Bloomfield).

Laws said: “They have had a remarkable season but out of all the boys at the top there, our record against them is the best so we go there with confidence.

“But they have had a fantastic season – look at all the Grays Athletics and Maldons around their area and to finish third for them is credit to their manager Paul Vaughan.

“I look forward to locking horns with him Tuesday night and he has done a fantastic job – it’s going to be a battle.”

Sam Newson (knee), Danny Bloomfield (knock) and Duane Wright (illness) should all recover in time.

Right-back James Evans was unable to get back into the matchday 16 on Saturday after recovering from injury but will be hoping to be involved while midfielder Danny Thrower has been given extended leave from the club.

Tilbury’s top scorer Alex Reed went off injured on Saturday and is doubtful ahead of the clash.

*FOR live match updates from Wednesday’s game (7.45pm ko), follow @russclaydon on Twitter.