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Needham Market assistant manager Tom Rothery states promotion from Pitching In Southern League Premier Central would be an ‘unbelievable achievement’





Needham Market assistant manager Tom Rothery stated it would be an ‘unbelievable achievement’ to win the Pitching In Southern League Premier Central title after his side took another giant step towards promotion today.

The Marketmen ran out 3-0 winners at home to relegation-threatened Suffolk rivals AFC Sudbury, thanks to goals from Adam Mills, Seth Chambers and Dylan Williams, to maintain their eight-point lead at the top of the table with four games of the campaign remaining – after second-placed Mickleover snatched a 1-0 victory against Coalville Town.

“Everyone is already talking about how they’re going to celebrate and what they’re going to do. I’m just really pleased because we’ve had some tough times, even though we’ve had success, and I’m just pleased for everyone,” said Rothery.

Seth Chambers scores Needham Market’s second goal against AFC Sudbury Picture: Ben Pooley
Seth Chambers scores Needham Market’s second goal against AFC Sudbury Picture: Ben Pooley

“If we end up winning the league at this level, and this isn’t me saying how brilliant I am, I just think it’s a massive achievement because this level of football is so tough.

“The teams you are competing against have huge budgets, unbelievable resources, big squads and I think for us to do it at Needham Market, it would be an unbelievable achievement.

“If I’m honest, before the Hitchin game (on Good Friday), I told the lads ‘We’re going to win the league, now it’s about how you want to win it. Do you want to limp over the line, or do it with a bit of class that we’ve shown all season?’”

Seth Chambers scores Needham Market’s second goal against AFC Sudbury Picture: Ben Pooley
Seth Chambers scores Needham Market’s second goal against AFC Sudbury Picture: Ben Pooley

The bragging rights always looked like they would be in Needham’s hands come the full-time whistle as they broke the deadlock after 13 minutes, when former Sudbury man Mills, who was the difference between the two sides on New Year’s Day, turned home Tommy Smith’s cross.

And then, at the end of an uneventful first period, substitute Chambers was on hand to prod home the second after James Bradbrook could only turn Luke Ingram’s effort onto the crossbar.

The Marketmen then wrapped up the three points with the best goal of the afternoon, when Dylan Williams fired a sweet volley from 25 yards out into the bottom-left corner.

“Every game is important, we’ve just got to keep grinding out wins and get those magic four points to guarantee it (promotion),” said Rothery.

Seth Chambers scores Needham Market’s second goal against AFC Sudbury Picture: Ben Pooley
Seth Chambers scores Needham Market’s second goal against AFC Sudbury Picture: Ben Pooley

“It’s a massive win. I didn’t think we were brilliant, but I thought we were okay without being spectacular, but I thought we managed the game quite well.

“We’re very hard to score against, so we do the ugly stuff really well.

“We all want to play brilliantly, but the reality is over a league season you probably only play and handful of games when you’re really at your peak and at your best.

Needham Market assistant manager Tom Rothery told his side they would win the title Picture: Ben Pooley
Needham Market assistant manager Tom Rothery told his side they would win the title Picture: Ben Pooley

“The rest of the time it’s about grinding out wins and finding a way to win, and that’s what we’ve done this season. We’ve been, one of Kev’s (Horlock) words, relentless.

“We look very hard to beat and we also look like we’ve got goals in us, so it’s the perfect storm and that’s what we’ve built our success on.”

Rothery stressed how much he is enjoying this season at Bloomfields and waxed lyrical over the influence of boss Kevin Horlock.

“I’m the worst bloke for enjoying anything. I am trying to enjoy it, but that’s what Kev’s brought out of me as well,” he said.

“Kev’s such a charismatic guy, he makes me laugh so much more than anybody’s ever made me laugh, even through the dark times last season he brought a smile to my face.

“It’s unreal, it’s enjoyable and you have to enjoy it. Last season was so tough, there were times, and I’m sure Sudbury are going through it this season, where you change things and you can’t find a way to win whatever you do. You kind of feel like you’re going a little bit mad if I’m honest.

“This season is the polar opposite. We’ve just found a way to win and, off the back of that, the confidence and momentum is huge. The atmosphere is brilliant.”