Blues Come So Close
Blues suffered a smash and grab raid by opponents Needham Market writesThe Mariner
Blues fans watching Wednesdays nights encounter with the Marketman must have wondered how their team finished pointless in a game they totally dominated in the second half.A combination of the wood work some fine saves from the visiting keeper and yet again another controversial refereeing decision all combined to deny them what could have been a richly deserved win.
Kieran Bishop making his full debut for the Blues capped a fine display with his first goal for the club and he showed that he will be a valuable asset in Blues quest to extricate themselves from the relegation zone.
Blues set out their stall right from the kick off playing with a lot more energy and pace, Bishop and Lheareux Menga looked particularly sharp up front putting the visitors back four under pressure not allowing them time on the ball, their lead was taken up by their team mates as they moved the ball with pace something that has been missing in previous weeks.
Needham had the first attempt on goal when Ingram tested Amadou Tangara in the home goal with a header which the big custodian fielded comfortably.
The diminutive Sandy Cunningham was to provide Blues first effort on goal when the young Scot turned and fired in an effort which sailed wide of the visitors upright.Harry Watkins was the next to try his luck but his shot had a similar fate failing to trouble Gay in the visitors goal.
At this stage neither side managed to gain the upper hand chances came and went at either end with both sets of defenders dealing comfortably with any threats, that was until the 25th minute when Needham made the breakthrough.Harrison picked up the ball some 30 yards out and tried a shot on goal which lacked any real pace or direction,Blues keeper Tangara seemed to have the ball covered when it seemed to take an unexpected bounce deceiving the keeper hitting his arm and into the net.
The goal was a bitter blow given Blues enterprising play in the opening period but they did not let this setback upset their rhythm and they came back strongly.Bishop and Menga were beginning to develop a dangerous partnership and it was Menga who provided his strike partner with a great opportunity nodding the ball on only to see Gay make a diving save from Bishops first time shot.
It was Bishop again who came so close to levelling the scores turning quickly only to see his strike hit the woodwork with Gay beaten.Needham then had a chance to increase their advantage,a free kick deep into the box found Snaith in space but he squandered the chance drilling the ball just over.
In the 42nd minute Bishop was at last rewarded for his efforts,Needham failed to clear a corner the ball fell to the Grays man and he made no mistake to bring the scores level.He could have increased his tally moments later but his goal bound effort was blocked by the alert Gay.
Blues continued in the same vein at the start of the second period ,Jamie Mascoll used his pace to get down the visitors right flank and floated the ball into Menga who nodded down to Bishop but his snapshot was well saved by Gay.
With Blues pressing forward Needham broke quickly out of defence and cut through the home midfield the ball eventually fell to Snaith who unleashed a fierce cross shot which Tangara did well to turn behind for a corner.
Blues were now enjoying the lions share of the play with the visitors penned back in their own half and forced into sporadic breaks, from one of these they were awarded a penalty when Tangara was adjudged to have brought down Ingram although it seemed the keeper did get something on the ball.Ingram stepped up to take the kick but Tangara was the hero of the hour when he parried the shot he pounced on the loose ball and won a free kick when Ingram appeared to kick the ball from his hands.
The penalty save certainly inspired Blues and they began to lay siege to the visitors goal,Menga had a golden opportunity to put Blues in front just yards from goal he somehow managed to put his effort over the bar although in his defence he was falling back as he struck the ball.
Just as it looked like the Blues would make the breakthrough Needham struck in the 59th minute and it came when Blues were in an attacking position.Menga appeared to be pushed in the back when he went for the ball but the referee waved play on, the ball was hooked forward to Ingram wide on the right he then cut inside and drilled a fierce drive past Tangara.
Blues didn't let the goal affect them and they continued to press for a goal,Bishop powered forward firing across goal and brought a save from Gay,Needham quickly countered and it was Tangara who produced the save of the match when he flew to his left and somehow managed to turn over a 25 yard screamer from Holland.
As the clock ticked down Blues continued to ask all the questions Adiyenka Cole provide a moment of skill beating two players and sending in a searching cross which just failed to meet the head of the onrushing Cunningham.Needham came close at the other end when Curtis struck the bar with a crisp volley.
Cunningham who had looked sharp throughout the game did well when he picked the ball up inside the Needham area wriggling past two challenges he was clipped as he shaped to turn,it looked a clear penalty but much to Blues players and fans amazement the referee awarded a free kick to Needham and booked the Grays man for simulation!
The Blues onslaught continued and it was the woodwork again that came to Needham's, rescue a low cross from Bishop caused panic in the visitors six yard box forcing Coakley into a hurried clearance his sliced effort struck the base of the post and was scrambled clear.It was left to sub Luke Hornsley who had Blues last chance of the game when he found himself unmarked inside the box his strike beat Gay but not the upright.
Despite the defeat Blues performance on the night should if they continue in the same vein soon bring them the results they so clearly need . The signing of Kieran Bishop certainly could be the spark that ignites revival in fortunes.
Blues are on the road again this Saturday when they travel to Burgess Hill Town,the teams played out 1-1 drw earlier in the season.