Image by Ben Pooley
Ahead of this weekend’s Emirates FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round tie, we take an in-depth look at our opponents, Needham Market
The club currently sit 2nd in the Southern Premier Division Central having had a promising start to the season, which has seen them claim six wins and three draws from their opening ten league games.
Their only league defeat of the season came on the opening day of the season as they were comfortably beaten 6-1 away from home at Stratford Town, but they’ve since bounced back from that loss as they now sit comfortably in the playoff positions.
The seventh tier side have also had a promising start to their Emirates FA Cup campaign, having originally entered this season’s competition in the 1st Qualifying Round.
This season’s journey in the competition started back in early September as they secured a 3-0 win away at Spartans South Midlands Premier Division side FC Romania, before securing a 1-0 win over newly promoted Isthmian Premier Division side Hashtag United in the next round.
The previous round saw them secure a 0-0 draw at National League North side Peterborough Sports, before going on to beat them 3-0 in a replay which set up this weekend’s tie at the LNER Community Stadium.
Victory this weekend for Needham Market will ensure they enter the hat for Monday’s 1st Round proper draw for a second successive season. Last season they exited the competition with a 2-0 defeat at League One side Burton Albion.
Manager: Kevin Horlock
Horlock took over at Bloomfields in February 2020 and has since guided the Marketmen to club record runs in the FA Trophy Quarter-Finals in 2022 – masterminding wins over National League side Yeovil Town, Wealdstone, and National League South side Dartford – and the First Round Proper of the FA Cup last season – which included a 1-0 win over National League side Maidstone United.
Horlock, who previously played for the Marketmen between 2008-15, enjoyed 17 years as a professional midfielder, notably winning promotion to the Premier League as Champions in 2001-02 at Manchester City – where he made over 200 league appearances. Horlock also played over 60 games for Ipswich Town, as well as making over 170 appearances for Swindon Town and was capped 32 times for Northern Ireland.
Top Scorer: Luke Ingram
Closing in on 450 club appearances, Luke Ingram not only holds the record for the most club appearances but is within 15 goals away from becoming the club’s all-time record goalscorer, having notably scored the winning goals against Dartford in the FA Trophy to advance to the Quarter-Finals, and Maidstone United to book his side’s spot in the FA Cup first round proper last season. A winger by trade, Luke has scored 20 and 19 goals respectively in the last two seasons as a striker, and is currently the club’s top scorer this season with 5 goals in as many games.
One To Watch: Marcus Garnham
Since joining the club in 2019, goalkeeper Marcus Garnham has quickly made over 200 appearances for the Marketmen and without doubt established himself as one of the best shot-stoppers in the league with his performances in between the sticks.
Marcus played a massive part in Needham’s run to the Quarter-Finals of the FA Trophy with a Man Of The Match performance away to Yeovil Town in January 2022 – scoring the decisive penalty in between two of his four penalty saves – before restricting League One side Burton Albion to one goal until the 97th minute in November 2022. Garnham, along with his defence, have already kept 10 clean sheets in a run of 14 games unbeaten between August and October of this season.
Founded in 1919, one of the club’s most notable successes came in the form of Suffolk & Ipswich Football League Senior Division Champions in 1995/96, before earning promotion as runners up from the Eastern Counties First Division in 2004/05. The Marketmen’s maiden season in the Eastern Counties Premier Division also proved to be successful, finishing in 6th place. The club then won it’s first ever FA Cup tie in a home win over Desborough Town in 2006/07, before going on to finish fourth in the Eastern Counties Premier division and beating Concord Rangers 2-1 to win the East Anglian Cup.
The club then finished runners up in the league the following season, while also making the semi-finals of the FA Vase and bowing out to eventual winners Kirkham & Wesham, and winning the League Challenge Cup in the same season. The club then finished 3rd in the Eastern Counties Premier Division in 2008/09, before reaching the Quarter-Finals of the FA Vase in 2008/09.
The following season saw the club achieve a domestic double for the first time in the league’s previous 15 seasons after being crowned Eastern Counties Premier Division Champions and League Challenge Cup winners. Step 4 football followed in 2010/11, with the club proudly finishing 2nd in their maiden season in the Isthmian League Division One North before losing to Brentwood Town in the semi-finals. The club again achieved a play-off spot in 2011/12, but lost to Enfield Town in the play-off final following a 4th place finish, scoring 104 goals along the way.
The club then reached the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup in 2013/14, which drew the club’s record attendance to Bloomfields as 1,784 spectators witnessed a 1-0 defeat to higher league Cambridge United, while the club again reached the play-off semi-finals in the Isthmian North Division after a 5th place finish.
The club then won promotion to step 3 for the first time in 2014/15 as Isthmian League North Division Champions, securing promotion to the Isthmian Premier Division. A 20th placed finish was followed by a 9th place finish in the club’s first two seasons in the division before being moved sideways into the Southern League Central Division in 2018/19, a league in which the club currently remain in now.
Head to Head
This weekend’s Emirates FA Cup encounter will be the first-ever meeting between the two sides.