Wroxham hold leaders Needham Market to secure much-needed point

Wroxham v Needham Market at Trafford Park, Christy Finch applies the pressure for Wroxham. Photo :St

Wroxham v Needham Market at Trafford Park, Christy Finch applies the pressure for Wroxham. Photo :Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Wroxham produced a resolute defensive display to earn a potentially crucial point against league leaders Needham Market at Trafford Park.

Needham began to warm to the game as it passed the 15-minute mark, Ollie Fenn testing Elliot Pride with a long-range effort that the Wroxham goalkeeper spilled, only to reclaim it at the second attempt.

The hosts survived two penalty appeals in the first half before Needham keeper Shaun Phillips produced an excellent double save from first Jamie Forshaw and then Christy Finch shortly before half-time.

A slick move found Forshaw with space just inside the box, the red-hot frontman smashing an effort towards goal that was palmed away by the Needham stopper, with Phillips reacting well to get up and block Finch's follow-up effort from 10 yards.

The visitors continued to assert the pressure in the second half, Ollie Fenn heading over on the run on 62 minutes in their best opening.

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Despite the league leaders' sustained pressure, they were struggling to break down a resolute Wroxham defence who were answering the questions posed time and time again.

It was becoming more and more apparent that one goal either way could decide the contest, with both sides going close to doing so as the game entered the last 10 minutes.

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Wroxham were the first to go close, a raking ball finding Finch at the back post, the striker sending it across for Nathan Stone but the substitute was unable to get to the ball as it was just behind him.

Needham then went down the other end and went close themselves, Sam Newson beating the offside trap to streak down the left wing and descend on Pride, the Wroxham keeper doing well to tighten the angle and save well with his feet.

The visitors went close again with five minutes to go, Taylor blocking well after a ball in from the left found Ingram with space from 12 yards out, before the clearance found Finch down the other end, who could only blaze Kyle Baker's knock-down over.

And that proved to be the last act in a tight game, with Wroxham seeing out the final moments to keep themselves inside the league's top five.

Stewart Larter and his men will ultimately be happy with a point that keeps them in the play-off places, although Dereham's win against Waltham Abbey means that both Matt Henman's Magpies and seventh-placed Thurrock are both breathing down their necks.

Battle resumes today with the Yachtsmen away at mid-table Soham Town Rangers (3pm kick-off), who won 3-2 at Trafford Park in December, while Dereham travel to Needham and Thurrock host lowly Romford.

Wroxham: Pride, Taylor, Rust, Hinton, Howell, Halliday, Garrod (Baker 76), White, Forshaw (Stone 76), Finch (King 90), Gordon. Unused subs: Guyton, Swatman

Needham Market: Phillips, Brown, Caokley, Morphew, Hogg, Nunn Ingram, Izzet, Fenn, Brothers, Westlake. Subs: Newson, Whight, Crisp, Henry, Pelling

Referee: James Turner

Attendance: 222

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