Needham punish stuttering Hawks
Harlow Town struggled to get going in a dreary first half, with the second half improvement too little too late.
Needham Market hit home three times from a set piece situation to put the Hawks on the back foot, and despite a better showing in the second period that forced an own goal, the lacklustre first half proved decisive.
Hawks boss Danny Chapman was looking for an instant response to the poor performance in the last outing, but it wasn’t forthcoming in the first half.
Both sides struggled to take control of the game and despite the game flowing from end to end, neither goalkeeper was seriously tested early on. The Hawks still looked nervous in defence and wasteful in possession as attacking moves broke down with misplaced passes.
Needham Market took the lead with just over an hour played. Billy Holland drifted a corner in and Dan Morphew was able to head past goalkeeper Patrick Lee from close range.
Only then did the Hawks respond, producing their best attack of the game so far. Junior Dadson and Alex Read combined well in a flowing counter attack, before the ball was released to Andrea Mayasi to cross. Jared Small was waiting in the centre, but a Needham Market defender headed away the danger.
Needham Market doubled the lead on 41 minutes when Gareth Heath lifted a free kick over the wall and past the sprawling Patrick Lee.
With the final kick of the half the visitors made it three. In an almost carbon copy of the first goal, Sam Nunn bundled a corner in to give Harlow Town a huge hurdle to climb in the second period.
HT: Harlow Town 0-3 Needham Market
Whatever Danny Chapman said at half time had an effect as the Hawks came out looking more like themselves.
Craig Pope went close with a low drilled shot that was cleared away by Danny Gay in the Needham goal.
A period of pressure paid off on 51 minutes when Junior Dadson jinked past the defence and reached the byline. His low centre was destined to reach Alex Read for a tap in, but defender Sam Nunn touched the ball first putting it into his own net.
Four minutes later a neat turn by Jared Small made space on edge of the area, but his shot was always rising and cleared the crossbar.
The tempo of the Harlow Town play was much improved, but as the half wore on hopes of a comeback were fading.
With fifteen minutes to go a deep cross from Needham Market winger Jack Simmons found Callum Harrison unmarked in the middle, but his header was straight at Patrick Lee who collected easily.
Alex Read had a final chance to set up a nervy finish with ten minutes remaining, but when he hit a difficult volley with his left foot he wasn’t able to get enough power behind it and it was a comfortable save.
The evening was compounded when Craig Pope was shown a second yellow card late on for an innocuous challenge, and the visitors saw out the rest of the game for the victory.
FT: Harlow Town 1-3 Needham Market
The Hawks remain on seven points from their first eight points, in 22nd place in the league table.
Harlow now turn their attention back to the FA Cup, with a difficult trip to East Thurrock on Saturday 30th September. Kick off is at 3pm.