Holland’s double is Needham’s get out of jail free card in hard-fought win
Needham Market 2
Folkestone Invicta 1
After his two goals helped to keep Needham’s in touching distance of leaders Bognor Regis Town, the midfielder praised his team-mates display of resilience.
Folkestone Invicta had travelled up to Bloomfields in 13th place, but belied their league position to force second-placed Needham back into their own half for large periods of the match.
Controversy reigned at full-time as the vocal band of away followers continued their protests to the match officials that they felt a legitimate injury-time equaliser had not been given.
Referee Ryan Whitaker did not agree Callum Davies’ effort, which saw Danny Gay arching backwards to claw out, had crossed the line, before the assistant’s offside flag went up after substitute Carl Rook turned in the rebound.
But in the end it was Holland’s double, in the first and then 78th minute, which ultimately decided a testing 90 minutes for his side.
“I think we deserved the three points,” he said.
“We have had a few games like that recently where we have had to grind them out, especially when the weather gets like this and the pitches get like this.
“But we did what we have done so often this season and hung in there and grafted out the points, and that is the most important thing.”
Just 20 seconds had ticked over on the clock before the player who starred in Ipswich Wanderers’ record FA Vase run last season had the ball in the net, firing into the left corner after Folkestone’s defence failed to clear a Luke Ingram cross.
“It was a perfect start,” said Holland, the gaffer told me I would be playing in a slightly more advanced role than I have in the past couple of months which suits me as I have played there before. And it could not have fell any better, to be fair, and it was nice to get off to a good start.”
He added: “We bounced back (to their equaliser) quite quickly and showed the character we have got in the side.
“I didn’t quite know as much about the second one, but I got my leg on it and that was the most important thing.”
The visitors responded well to the early set-back but found Danny Gay in great form, with the Needham number one turning a Josh Vincent effort around his near post before they finally got the goal their play had deserved, but not until the 75th minute.
Needham were punished after not clearing a deep free-kick when Miles Cornwell fired a loose ball from Davies’ header into the net.
But it only took Mark Morsley’s side three minutes to get back in front.
Home debutante Jack Simmons saw his shot come back off the bar and Holland, with an acrobatic effort, was quickest to react to turn it in.
Needham: Gay, Dye, Coakley (Snaith, 76’), Morphew (Harrison, 69’), Miller, Whight, Simmons, Izzet (c), Dobson (Nunn, 65’), Ingram, Holland. Unused sub’s: Clark, Munson.
Free Press Man of The Match: Billy Holland. Attendance: 257
n On Tuesday Needham exited the Alan Turvey Trophy Sponsored by Robert Dyas League Cup at the quarter-final stage following a disappointing 3-1 home defeat to Tonbridge Angels.
Sid Sollis fired in a hat-trick from the 30th to 55th minute, with Needham’s only reply coming from Callum Harrison in the 89th minute.