Parker returns to haunt Needham with brace in big win
Evo-Stik Southern Premier League Central
Needham Market 1
King's Lynn Town 4
Needham Market were given a stark reminder of what it will take to earn themselves a play-off place after a New Year's Day mauling by King's Lynn Town, writes Chris Lakey.
The hosts were two goals down after less than quarter of an hour and by half-time it was all over, as Lynn slammed in another two, with only a 25th-minute header from Adam Mills providing any relief for Needham.
Mills didn’t help his team’s cause when he was sent off in first-half injury time, but by then it game over, with Lynn who have a distinct lack of bodies in their ranks, saw out the second half without any dramas.
From kick-off it was clear Lynn meant business, with left-back Frazer Blake-Tracey swinging in a first-time cross which former Needham player Craig Parker headed narrowly wide.
Parker almost turned provider with a cross from the right of the area which Adam Marriott couldn’t quite reach, but on 12th minute Needham were behind, when Parker rammed the ball home from 20 yards.
Two minutes later Blake-Tracy teed up Marriott for the second.
Needham were forced into an early change, with Dan Morphew picking up a knock and giving way to Jake Dye, while striker James Baker was called back to help his struggling defence.
Against the run of play, Needham were given a lifeline when Jeremiah Kamanzi forced their first corner on 25 minutes – and Callum Sturgess’s kick was headed home by Mills.
Lynn restored the two-goal advantage when centre-half Rory McAuley turned and volleyed past Jake Jessup Mills on 33 minutes and four minutes before the interval Parker got his second.
With the referee about to blow his whistle, Mills clattered into Lynn skipper Michael Clunan with the ball nowhere near and got his marching orders.
Lynn saw the game out for the remaining 45 minutes, allowing the 10 men more possession but without ever looking in danger.
Joe Marsden saw a left-footed effort deflected but keeper Alex Street scrambled across to gather.
Sturgess showed some neat footwork on the left, but when he put the ball in the Lynn box there was no-one there to finish it off.
Sub Tariq Issa took his time lining up a free-kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the area, but it high, wide and not very handsome.
Marsden put a speculative shot from the left flank straight at Street but his big chance came on 86 minutes when Needham broke. Reece Dobson found Marsden but his first-time effort comfortably palmed over the bar by Street.