NEEDHAM Market manager Kevin Horlock said he was ‘delighted’ to take a two-goal advantage into the second leg of the Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup Final.
While admitting they were not at their best, Horlock’s side defeated Lowestoft Town 3-1 in the first leg at Bloomfields on Tuesday night before 232 spectators.
Goals after nine minutes from Joe Marsden, in first-half injury time from skipper Gareth Heath and Billy Hunt after 69 minutes, with Adam Tann replying seven minutes earlier, mean the Marketmen will head to Crown Meadow next Tuesday with a two-goal cushion.
Horlock said: “I thought the performance was below where we have been – that’s just me being brutally honest – but I am made up with the result because it is a really positive sign when we are not at our best and we are winning against a local rival 3-1, so there are nothing but positives from that point of view.
“I just said to the lads I want us to be relentless. We have hit heights already this season where we have been magnificent, and we have a great group who work hard and are buying into what we are doing here. I just want to keep those standards high all the time.
“Today I am not faulting the lads’ work rate because I know they give me that, but I just thought they looked a bit jaded at times and not at our best and that is going to happen.
“I am fully aware that we are not going to be at our best and not always going to win games, but I will take that tonight and I am delighted to be going to Lowestoft next Tuesday with a two-goal advantage.”
Needham Market skipper Gareth Heath (red shirt, No.8) gets to the ball just ahead of Lowestoft Town left back Owen Murphy (blue shirt, No.3) to stab the ball home past keeper Luis Tibbles to put his side 2-0 ahead in the first leg of the final. Main Photograph: Lowestoft Town captain Adam Tann (blue shirt, far left) steers the ball into the far corner of the net to reduce the deficit. Photographs: Paul Voller
Lowestoft Town manager Jamie Godbold described it as a ‘game of moments’ in which Needham were more clinical in the final third of the pitch.
He said: “It was certainly different from when we played them ten days ago as were a lot more competitive. The game was a lot closer and I think it was just a game of moments.
“It was two evenly-matched teams, but unfortunately for us they finished their moments and we just failed to produce in the last third. I think in between both boxes it was relatively quite close.”
While describing it as a ‘wonder goal’ Godbold said it was poor defending that led to the opener as his team should have known that was what Marsden would try to do.
He said the timing of the second goal in added time at the end of the first-half was a bad time to concede, especially as right-back Josh Curry was injured and about to come off at the interval.
He continued: “In the second half we made a good go of it and got back into the game and it sums football up as we had got momentum and hit the bar and two minutes later the ball ends up in the top corner of our net and takes the sting out of the game.”
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