On the whistle: Needham Market progress to second round qualifying of Emirates FA Cup after beating lower-league Dereham Town in a home replay
Needham Market have set-up a trip to divisional rivals Lowestoft Town in the next round of this season's Emirates FA Cup, after needing a replay to overcome lower-league Dereham Town.
But 90 more minutes was enough to progress, with a goal in either half seeing the Marketmen through to second round qualifying on September 21 via a 2-1 victory; Gareth Heath and Joe Neal each finding the net, before a late spot kick saw Dereham score.
The BetVictor Southern Premier Central side had to come from behind on Saturday to force tonight's replay, with Luke Ingram's 87th minute strike crucial to keeping the Marketmen in the prestigious competition with the 1-1 draw.
And Dereham proved formidable opponents once more, despite competing a league below in the BetVictor Isthmian League North, with glimpses of the danger and killer touch they demonstrated in the first tie.
It was a frantic game played at a high tempo throughout, with Needham dominating the first half before then spending a lot of the second period hanging on to their narrow lead before their late score.
Skipper Gareth Heath found the net shortly before the break in the 42nd minute to give the home side the advantage into the break.
He made the most of his experience as he raced into the box with Luke Ingram crossing from the right and, although Dereham keeper Elliot Pride beat him to the ball, a crucial spill opened the door for the evergreen midfielder.
He leaped on to it and netted for a scrappy but effective opening score.
The majority of chances fell for the higher-league side, with Joe Marsden's strike after just five minutes skidding across the grass to test the steadiness of Pride's hands.
Marsden was then caught offside in the 12th minute as Needham threatened to cut swathes through the defence and once more was the spearhead of the attack minutes later as he and Heath forced double saves.
Needham were lucky not to get caught out in defence on a few occasions as Dereham's attackers stalked opportunities with shark-like hunger, but could not find a way through.
Keiran Morphew then limped off after just 29 minutes and was replaced by James Baker as the half continued to threaten end-to-end attacking football.
Dereham had a key chance shortly after the break, with Marcus Garnham denying Adam Hipperson one-on-one in the 50th minute.
Baker found himself in the wrong place as Hipperson ran forward, making an ugly swipe at the ball and inadvertently putting it in the Dereham forward's path. But Garnham was wise to the run and ran to intercept, making himself big and blocking well.
Dereham kept up the pressure, finding ways through a Needham defence that looked vulnerable, particularly dealing with counter-attacks.
A free header in the 63rd minute was put wide by the visiting Toby Hilliard before Garnham once more made a vital save minutes later.
Hilliard was then unlucky to be in the wrong place, as Hipperson and Rhys Logan combined for a great chance; but Logan's shot came off Hilliard and went wide.
Jake Dye made good work down the right with just 15 minutes ago for a rare second half chance for the home team, but the subsequent corner was easily stopped before Hipperson put the ball wide with an across goal shot minutes later at the other end.
Joe Neal added the cushion in the 85th minute with a comfortable side foot into goal after latching on to a spill by Pride – who did well to make the stop off a ferocious shot on the edge of the area – to leave Needham on the cusp of progress before late drama.
Dereham were awarded a penalty in added time, converted by Hipperson, for an anxious last two minutes.
But Needham held out for the win, and a chance to face Lowestoft in the next round.
* Reaction and pictures in Friday's Free Press
More by this authorHannah Dolman