Newmarket Town still looking to end winless run in the league but signs are looking positive
The wait for a first Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division win since September 4 goes on for Newmarket Town.
But if the second-half display in Tuesday’s 1-1 home draw with March Town United is anything to go by, those elusive three points may not be too far around the corner.
Youngster Ben Landshoff sparked the revival after the restart following a first half in which the Jockeys found it tough to carve out significant chances.
Visiting March, meanwhile, made the most of one of their lively counter-attacks when former Soham Town Rangers frontman Craig Gillies guided the ball in from close range in the 17th minute.
However, the half-time introduction of Landshoff provided Newmarket’s attack with some much needed vigour, and it was he who scored the equaliser nine minutes from time.
“In the defensive third and middle third we stayed the same (throughout the game),” said player-manager Michael Shinn. “We wanted to get on the ball, we wanted to play.
“The attacking third in the first half was nowhere near good enough in terms of movement, our desire to get on the football, our desire to put centre-halves under pressure and to stop them playing out.
“The second half looked much better in that respect – we had an outlet, we had people spinning down the sides and coming to feet.
“Performances have been better of late, and the second half is another one to add to that.
“We’ve had a couple of draws and we’re not celebrating draws, but I said after the Ely game (1-0 defeat) there was shoots of recovery and I think tonight there was even more.
“We trusted each other, we kept trying to play through them. We explored every avenue to try to win the game, which from where we were a month or so ago, it’s brilliant to watch.
“We’re still lacking that little bit of belief in the final third but it’s miles better than it has been and we’re improving.”
The impact of Landshoff – on in place of James Hall – was particularly pleasing for Shinn, who believes he has a bright talent on his hands.
The attacker also found the net off the bench during Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Gorleston, and he could be in line for a few starts in the near future.
“Ben was somebody that when I first came to the club, I watched him in the under-16s and thought ‘what a player’. So we got him involved real early and he started to influence games, like Mildenhall in the Vase,” said Shinn.
“He ended up at Histon and it didn’t work out for him, then he came back and was like a different player for a bit.
“I’m tough on him because I know he’s got a lot of ability. It’s a strange one because he needs to relax, but I’m tough at times – it’s a difficult balance because there is so much to come from him.
“At his age he isn’t going to play every week, but he’ll get his share. Sometimes there comes a point when you can’t hold youngsters back any more, and maybe he isn’t far from that.
“He’s being patient as well in fairness to him and I think he realises we want the best for him. It doesn’t always feel like that when you’re a young player because you just want to play, but you don’t want to throw them in to early and never see them again.
“We have held him back to a point, but maybe now is the time we let him show what he can do.”
Saturday will see Newmarket switch their focus to the Buildbase FA Vase when they play host to Redbridge in the first round (3pm).
The Motormen have made a decent start to the 2021/22 campaign, winning 10 of their 16 fixtures to sit second in the Essex Senior League Premier Division.
“I know a few people that play against them so we’ll do our research, but sometimes in games like this it is better to not get too fixated on the opposition,” said Shinn.
“You can get over concerned by what they do and stop concentrating on yourself.
“Rather than trying to nullify the opposition too much, we need to focus on ourselves.”