‘We can hold our heads high’ – Needham Market manager Richard Wilkins after Billericay draw

PUBLISHED: 16:34 01 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:34 01 November 2017

Needham Market attacker Adam Mills jumps above the Billericay defence during Tuesday night's 1-1 draw at Bloomfields. Picture: BEN POOLEY

Needham Market attacker Adam Mills jumps above the Billericay defence during Tuesday night's 1-1 draw at Bloomfields. Picture: BEN POOLEY

Archant

Needham Market boss, Richard Wilkins, praised his side for their “character” to rally from a backs-to-the-wall first-half to secure a deserved point against promotion favourites Billericay Town on Tuesday night.

Gareth Heath (left) celebrates his equaliser against Billericay Town with team-mate Jamie Griffiths during the 1-1 draw at Bloomfields. Picture: BEN POOLEYGareth Heath (left) celebrates his equaliser against Billericay Town with team-mate Jamie Griffiths during the 1-1 draw at Bloomfields. Picture: BEN POOLEY

Trailing 1-0 to Jake Robinson’s 23rd minute penalty, awarded in controversial circumstances, the Marketmen weathered the storm with their keeper, Danny Gay, making three key saves before skipper Gareth Heath drilled home a 66th minute equaliser in an entertaining 1-1 draw.

“It was a great night for the club,” enthused Wilkins, with reference to both the result and also a record crowd of 607 for a league game at Bloomfields.

“I thought we were excellent in the second half, and we can certainly hold our heads up high after this match. There was a big crowd, and the atmosphere was great. Now we have set ourselves a benchmark for the rest of the season.

“We got in some good areas in the first half, but our deliveries into the box were poor and we were indebted to some good saves from Gay.

“I didn’t think it was a penalty, and neither did Billiercay. Keiran (Morphew) slid in to win the ball and his momentum took him into Gareth (Heath) and their lad (Sam Deering). Even the guy who scored from the penalty (Robinson) admitted that it shouldn’t have been awarded.

“But our heads did not go down. Good character was shown by all the lads and the final 20 minutes were played at 100 miles-per-hour. I think in the end a draw was a fair result.

“Billericay were very complimentary after the match, and we have a lot to be positive about.

“They are a big and powerful team, and we were giving away two or three inches per player. A lot of long balls and long throws went into our box, but we defended well.

“It’s a big point for the club. We have had some difficult matches, like away at Dulwich Hamlet and at Hendon, and we have had some decisions go against us.

“Now we have Worthing at home this Saturday and we’re looking for all three points. We need that, otherwise our point on Tuesday night won’t look so significant,” added Wilkins.

Needham remain in 19th slot, while Worthing are bottom without a league win this season.

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