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Saturday's local football round-up: Needham Market progress in FA Trophy but Felixstowe & Walton United and Leiston bow out while Haverhill Rovers climb out of relegation zone



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Needham Market are the last remaining Suffolk representative in this season's Buildbase FA Trophy following a pleasing 3-1 home win over Welwyn Garden City.

A crowd of 202 braved the relentless driving rain at Bloomfields to witness a piece of club history as the Marketmen won through to the third round - when National League teams enter - for the very first time.

After a largely dominant goalless first half, Luke Ingram's tight-angled finish, after rounding the goalkeeper, broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute.

Needham Market players celebrate Luke Ingram's opening goal against Welwyn Garden City Picture: Phil Morley
Needham Market players celebrate Luke Ingram's opening goal against Welwyn Garden City Picture: Phil Morley

Within two minutes it was 2-0 with Jake Dye's adding a second from the right-hand side.

A diving header in the 89th minute pulled one back for the lower-league visitors but Hans Mpongo settled the nerves with a chipped third in stoppage time.

The second round proved a step too far for both Felixstowe & Walton United and Leiston though as their club record runs in the competition came to an end.

Luke Ingram rounds the goalkeeper before putting Needham Market ahead Picture: Phil Morley
Luke Ingram rounds the goalkeeper before putting Needham Market ahead Picture: Phil Morley

There was a bumper crowd of 612 at The Goldstar Ground as Felixstowe & Walton United took on Vanarama National League North opponents AFC Telford.

But the side from two leagues above where never in danger, running out 4-0 winners, having raced into a three-goal half-time lead.

Kia Williams opener the scoring in the 23rd minute before a quickfire brace from Jason Oswell (32', 40') which was added to early in the second half by Dom McHowell (58').

Darren Eadie and Chris Wigger's Leiston side were also well beaten, going down 5-1 at fellow Step 3 side Bishop's Stortford.

Hans Mpongo scores Needham Market's third goal Picture: Phil Morley
Hans Mpongo scores Needham Market's third goal Picture: Phil Morley

After Frankie Merrifield (6', 10') had scored two early goals for the hosts, Adam Mills' 20th minute strike had given the Suffolk side hope heading into the interval.

But the Hertfordshire outfit came back with three unanswered goals, via Darren Foxley (53'),

Christopher Harris (80') and Ryan Charles (82') to end the Blues' cup run.

For Lowestoft Town it was a seventh Pitching In Southern League Premier Central game without a win as Jamie Godbold's side drew 2-2 at home to St Ives Town, leaving them in the bottom three.

Needham Market players celebrate Hans Mpongo's third goal Picture: Phil Morley
Needham Market players celebrate Hans Mpongo's third goal Picture: Phil Morley

After the visitors raced into a two-goal lead inside 22 minutes, the Trawlerboys were given a big helping hand when goalkeeper Ben Heath was sent off on the stroke of half-time. Kieran Higgs converted the resultant penalty to half the deficit.

But it was not until the 64th minute that the Crown Meadow crowd (numbering 258) could celebrate an equaliser, via Joshua Harvey, and they were unable to find a winning goal.

The wind very nearly catches Welwyn Garden City 'keeper Charlie Crowley out from a corner at Needham Market Picture: Phil Morley
The wind very nearly catches Welwyn Garden City 'keeper Charlie Crowley out from a corner at Needham Market Picture: Phil Morley

Down a level in the Pitching In Isthmian League North Division, it was a great day for Stowmarket Town's travelling supporters as they witnessed a 6-1 victory at Barking.

Reggi Lambe (13') put them into an early lead while rcent signing Luke Brown continued his strong start with two goals (21', 72').

Bermudian international Willie Clemons (66'), Josh Mayhew (79') and Joe Jefford (86') also got in on the action with Darnell Goather-Braithwaite (78') getting a consoltation.

The result leaves the Old Gold & Blacks in sixth place and level on points with three sides above them in the play-off places.

Match action from Needham Market against Welwyn Garden City in the FA Trophy Picture: Phil Morley
Match action from Needham Market against Welwyn Garden City in the FA Trophy Picture: Phil Morley

AFC Sudbury are one of those teams and slip to fourth place following a 1-1 draw at basement side Hullbridge Sports.

Captain Lewis O'Malley had put the Yellows ahead in the fifth minute but they were forced to play the second half with 10 men following a red card being shown to Cruise Nyadzayo.

Tobi Adekunle rescued a point for the hosts nine minutes from time in a result which saw Sudbury's unbeaten run to seven matches.

Bury Town remain seventh, having not had a fixture due to Brentwood Town's involvement in the FA Trophy.

Soham Town Rangers saw their game at Halesowen Town in the Northern Premier League Midlands postponed due to a snow-covered pitch. A win for Histon - 4-3 at Loughborough Dynamo – sees The Greens fall to the bottom of the table.

In the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division Haverhill Rovers jumped out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win at lowly Brantham Athletic.

Jake Williams got the all important goal in the 42nd minute, holding his nerve to convert a rebounded effort from Josh Ambrose.

Visiting goalkeeper James Philip had to pull off a good save towards the end to preserve their lead and register back-to-back wins.

The three points moved Liam Aves' side up three places to 16th position while Michael Brothers' Brantham are 18th and just one place and one point above the relegation zone having played more games than the two below them.

Ryan Swallow fires Newmarket Town into the lead at home to Walsham-le-Willows Picture: Mark Westley
Ryan Swallow fires Newmarket Town into the lead at home to Walsham-le-Willows Picture: Mark Westley

Whitton United (19th) slipped into the bottom two after their home match with Wroxham fell victim to a waterlogged pitch while Lakenheath's (13th) game at Gorleston was didn't start.

Hadleigh United (14th) had led 1-0 at half-time at home to March Town United before the referee abandoned the game due to surface water in the goalmouth.

Mildenhall Town strengthened their position in third by dishing out an 8-1 drubbing at basement dwellers Swaffham Town.

Five goals came before half-time, from Natty Stewart, Tanner Call, Luke Butcher, James Hall and an own goal.

Ben Robinson (second from left) takes the adulation from his Newmarket Town team-mates after scoring what proved to be the winner against Walsham-le-Willows Picture: Mark Westley
Ben Robinson (second from left) takes the adulation from his Newmarket Town team-mates after scoring what proved to be the winner against Walsham-le-Willows Picture: Mark Westley

Hall and Call added their second goals thereafter with Phil Weavers also getting in on the act.

A header from Ben Robinson 15 minutes from time saw Newmarket Town make it three wins on the bounce at home to fifth-placed Walsham-le-Willows with a 2-1 scoreline. Read our match report from this game here.

Thetford Town ended a nine-game winless run in all competitions with a 3-2 success at home to Kirkley & Pakefield.

Andrew Cusack and Joao Varela made it 2-0 by half-time with Michael Campbell's goal making it 3-1 with 10 minutes to go before the visitors scored to set up a nervy finale.

The result moves the Brecklanders from 15th position to 12th, while Kirkley drop a place to 14th.

In the First Division North, Diss Town (9th) returned from basement side Wisbech St Mary with a 3-1 victory to move them to within three points of the play-off places.

James Bemrose scored twice and Harry Atkins was also on target.

Debenham LC's match at home to Parson Drove was abandoned at half-time due to an unfit pitch with the Hornets trailing 1-0.

Walsham-le-Willows try to test Newmarket Town goalkeeper Alex Archer from a corner Picture: Mark Westley
Walsham-le-Willows try to test Newmarket Town goalkeeper Alex Archer from a corner Picture: Mark Westley

Second bottom Needham Market Reserves were 3-1 winners at Huntingdon Town with Jose Santa De La Paz, Taylor Clark and Seth Carroll-Chambers all on target.

In the First Division South, Haverhill Borough drew 2-2 in the second instalment of their basement with Brimsdown but events off the pitch sadly dominated.

Borough tweeted: "Ends 2-2 @HB_FC were desperately unlucky not to take 3 points.

Walsham-le-Willows' Kieran Twinn rounds Newmarket Town goalkeeper Alex Archer ahead of scoring the eqauliser Picture: Mark Westley
Walsham-le-Willows' Kieran Twinn rounds Newmarket Town goalkeeper Alex Archer ahead of scoring the eqauliser Picture: Mark Westley

Today wasn’t about football unfortunately ruined by mindless thugs from @brimsdownfcuk, a huge thank you to parents, local police,and other spectators for attempting to keep our players safe after being assaulted.

"@HB_FC will now follow the correct procedures via the Police and FA to make sure this sort of behaviour is stamped out from the game. Thank you for the wonderful support today."

The result leaves Borough four points from Brimsdown with a game in hand.

Up the other end of the table, Ipswich Wanderers are second and a point of leaders Benfleet following a 5-0 victory at Wivenhoe Town.

George Mrozek scored two with Jacob Lay, Teon Leggett and Jack Baker accounting for the others.

Halstead Town saw their home game with Holland abandoned due to floodlight failure with the score 1-1.

Meanwhile, AFC Sudbury Reserves (15th) picked up a 3-2 home win over May & Baker.