Angels blow 3-1 lead
Back to 4th as Marketmen swap places
It was all going so well for the Angels with a two goal advantage up until the 62nd minute although even by then the danger signs were appearing with the team down to 10 men and an enforced goalkeeping substitution. Needham Market then proceeded to score three goals in 22 minutes to win the game and reclaim 3rd spot in the league while Tonbridge drop to 4th.
Ugo Udoji retained his place in the starting line up but moved across from central defence to right back at the expense of James Folkes who was on the bench.
The Angels made the better start with a clever flick on by Nathan Elder in the 13th minute putting Alex Akrofi through on the left although his shot was straight at Danny Gay in the Needham Market goal. Just five minutes later the home side were in front when Nicky Wheeler's short corner was collected by Tom Phipp and his angled cross was headed past Gay by Ugo Udogi.
Needham Market were by now coming more into the game but it was the Angels who went further ahead when Luke Allen's perfect delivery from the left was met by the head of Elder for his 50th goal for the club.
An injury to Angels keeper Anthony Di Bernardo just before half time saw goalkeeping coach Stuart Copeland take over between the sticks in the 46th minute: it was to have a significant bearing on events. Just three minutes later John Sands for the visitors took full advantage to get a goal back but despite this Tonbridge were to go 2 goals ahead again on 52 minutes with a Mitchell Nelson header.
With Copeland having gone walkabout, Angels right back Ugo Udogi was dismissed for preventing a goal scoring opportunity on 53 minutes and from then on the home defence were struggling. Needham Market scored on 63 minutes through Luke Ingram, equalised on 77 minutes through Reece Dobson with the comeback complete on 85 minutes, Samuel Nunn scoring the crucial goal.
Deep in stoppage time with Needham Market now the team hanging on, Angels substitute Dan Thompson turned well in the area only to see his goal bound shot blocked on the line and that meant all the points were going back to Suffolk.
Afterwards, Angels boss Steve McKimm admitted that the sending off and the injury to di Bernardo were significant factors but the team should have been able to deal wth these challenges. "We made basic errors with ball retention in all areas which meant we were handing them possession far too easily. We've not been doing that in recent games so why today? If we had won, it would have given us some breathing space and would have still given us an outside chance of the title. I thinks that's gone now but we have a massive game at Leiston on Tuesday followed by games with Staines and a double header with Dulwich Hamlet so its not getting any easier but we'll roll up our sleeves and keep fighting for that play off spot."