Match Preview: Needham Market FC vs AFC Rushden & Diamonds Tuesday 14th September 7.45pm

Needham Market Preview

Tuesday night sees Diamonds face the long trip across to Suffolk to take on Needham Market located just north of Ipswich.

Diamonds will be looking to build on the excellent 1-0 win at Nuneaton Borough on Saturday while Needham Market had an impressive 3-3 draw at Banbury off the back of a first win of the season in FA Cup action the previous week.

Needham Market FC

There has been a team in Needham Market since the 1880s but this team was officially created in 1919. The Marketmen played in the Ipswich and Suffolk leagues and cups until joining the Eastern Counties league and then the Isthmian League.

They’ve played at Bloomfields since 1996 and saw 1375 attend an FA Vase Semi-final against Kirkham & Wesham in 2008 and 1748 saw an FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round tie against Cambridge United in 13/14.

After Step 3 promotion was achieved in 2014/2015 they were subsequently allocated to the Southern League Premier Central at the end of the 2017/208 season finishing 11th in the only completed season since.

Previous Games

Diamonds had a tremendous result on their previous visit to Bloomfields running out fantastic 5-1 winners in the early part of the 2018/2019 season. Ben Diamond, Declan Rogers, Jack Bowen, Tom Lorraine and Albie Hopkins scored that afternoon. They also won the game at Hayden Road 2-1 to complete the league double that season with Rogers and Bowen scoring again.

Needham got their revenge the following season with a pair of with a 2-1 victories at Hayden Road. The first was in the Southern League Cup with Ryan Dove scoring and the second was in the league at the end of January with Ben Farrell converting a penalty for Diamonds.

Current Form

Needham have yet to experience league success this season but have a win in the FA Cup to their name with a 1-0 victory at home against St. Ives. They followed that with an impressive 3-3 draw at Banbury last Saturday to be unbeaten in their last 2 games.

They had an opening day defeat at high-flying Hednesford Town and a draw with St. Ives in the opening week but then suffered a narrow defeat at home to Bromsgrove and another defeat at Coalville. The draw at Banbury sees them on 2 points from 5 games with a game in hand but sitting in 20th place.

Diamonds win at Nuneaton last Saturday saw them end a 3 game losing streak which had included an FA Cup exit at Coalville. Victory over Coalville had improved early spirits after opening game defeat to Banbury but defeats at Bromsgrove and narrowly at home to high-flying Peterborough Sports followed by that tough FA Cup reverse had Diamonds on the back foot. The win at Nuneaton has Diamonds on 6 points now though from 5 tough opening games sitting in 15th place with a game in hand on many opponents

The Team

Another impressive new signing has also boosted spirits with Ravi Shamsi joining his former Nuneaton colleague Claudio Dias at Hayden Road. He boosts the attacking options and with a midfield boosted by Dias and Jay Williams, and defence looking solid with Alex Collard’s return Diamonds will be entering this next phase of the season in good spirits.

The trip to Needham on a wet Tuesday night is a tough one from the fixture secretary particularly with Needham unbeaten in two games. Diamonds will be buoyed however by memories of that 5-1 win on the last visit to Bloomfields so it has all the ingredients of a cracking game.

Radio Diamonds will make an appearance but twitter updates might be under pressure tonight. Look out for the match report and interviews after the game though and tune in to Radio Diamonds for all the action.

Enjoy the game

Paul Judd