THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Cornard Utd 2
Needham Market Res 0
Cornard United joint-manager Ryan Lines praised a young Needham side for making his team work hard for a victory which was only secured when Harry Banner got the Ards’ second goal in the 90th minute.
Cornard duly completed a league double, but never looked likely to repeat the 5-1 scoreline they enjoyed against the Marketmen earlier in the season.
“When we played there it was 0-0 at half-time, but when we got one it was game over,” said Lines. “We said this game could go the same way, but it wasn’t to be.
“I don’t think we were at our best, but all credit to the boys for digging in deep, and credit to Needham for coming at us and trying to give us a real game.
“It was hard work, but three points, which is really all that matters at the moment.
“I felt we were very below par, but I’ll take the three points, even if 2-0 was a little bit flattering for us. They are a good young side, and there are definitely one or two that I would take for my team.”
The victory lifted Cornard up to 12th in the division and their target is a top-10 finish and qualification for the FA Cup.
“Hopefully we have a team that can now hit our targets and this was another step closer,” added Lines.
Cornard went ahead after nine minutes, Ezra Drann comfortably outjumping everyone at the near post to head home a corner from Banner.
Incidents were few and far between before the interval, with Needham easily outpassing Cornard, but the speedy Will Richardson failed to deliver a decent final ball.
Ben Foster and Jamie Smith tested Cornard goalkeeper Matthew Grove early in the second half, but most of the chances came Cornard’s way as a stop-start half saw both sides make changes.
Callum Griffiths was inches wide, and Lewis Blanchett twice had close-range shots blocked. Too often Cornard were guilty of trying to walk the ball in.
But finally they succeeded with a neat passing move. Drann fed Blanchett, and he in turn put in Banner, who beat the onrushing Fin Shorten from close range.
* Cornard travel to bottom side Team Bury on Saturday (3pm) looking to make it three straight wins, which would be their best sequence of the season.
Cornard Utd: Grove, Egner, Glassington (Coe 88), Keating, Hayes, Clark, Payne (Fosker 62), Banner, Griffiths (James 78), Blanchett, Drann. Subs not used: Dowding, Stock.
Yellow card: Blanchett (dissent).
Free Press Man of the Match: Harry Banner