Tuesday 27th October 2015 ko 19.45
Isthmian League Premier Division
NEEDHAM MARKET 1 (Mills 30)
BILLERICAY TOWN 3 (Nesbitt 3 24 87p)
A small market town isn’t, at first glance, the most obvious place to find a real footballing success story. The small town lies plumb in the centre of Suffolk, and is best known for for Joseph Priestley if you’re a scientist (he discovered oxygen), and June Brown if you’re a fan of Eastenders (she played Dot Cotton), but there’s obviously something in the water at Bloomfields that allows football to grow.
As late as 1996 the club were playing in the Suffolk & Ipswich League, but since then have rocketed through the Eastern Counties League and the Northern Division of the Isthmian League, with a FA Vase semi-final in 2008 along the way.
With the rapid elevation you’d expect Bloomfields to have struggled to keep pace with ground grading regulations. Usually a club simply adds another “Arena” stand on each promotion and then result is often a dull hotchpotch that aesthetically adds up to very little. That really isn’t the case here, the wooden main stand offering both good views and a real focal point. Yes, there is a double “Arena” stand behind the far goal, and irony of irony, it was the least populated area of the ground!
I suspect the club saw this game as a test of just how far they’ve come. With all due respect to the Marketmen, Billericay are used to playing at this level and had a recent one season stint in the National League South. And for the majority of the game it showed, and they were just that little bit sharper than their hosts.
That said the opening goal was fortuitous, Teddy Nesbitt’s shot taking a huge deflection wrong-footing former Southend keeper Daniel Gay in the home goal. From then on it was fairly consistent Town pressure save for a brief flurry in the last section of the first half when Needham got their goal. Nesbitt completed his hat trick with a late penalty to complete what Town will regard as a satisfying away win.
For Needham, third from bottom, they’ll be metaphorically looking over their shoulder, but when they look back a mere ten years they should be incredibly proud of what they’ve achieved.