Sunday 19 March 2023

Ground #381 - Bloomfields 3G Ground

Date: 11th March 2023
Ground: Bloomfields 3G Ground
Location: Needham Market, Suffolk

My sixth new ground of 2023 was on Saturday 11th March at the Bloomfields 3G Ground in Needham Market, Suffolk. The game was Needham Market U23s vs. Parson Drove in the Eastern Counties League Division One North.

Bloomfields 3G ground sits adjacent to the south of the main Bloomfields ground which is home to Needham Market's senior team. The complex is located around half a mile from Needham Market railway station with the ground nestled on the western outskirts of the town in the midst of a residential area. The 3G ground is bordered by the car park and housing to the east, fields to the south and west and the main Bloomfields ground to the north. Needham Market has been at Bloomfields since 1996 with the 3G ground opening in 2019 for their junior side.

With the 3G arena being next door to the main ground it does share facilities. The Hub Cafe & Bar (on the north side of the 3G ground and south-west corner of the main ground) is a two-storey building with dressing rooms and toilets on the lower floor and a cafe and clubhouse on the top floor. It is designed so the two pitches can be seen from opposite ends of the building. The one overlooking the 3G ground has a balcony where a number of people viewed the game from.

The only stand at the venue is the Terry Ingram Stand to the west of the halfway line on the northern flank. This small stand has seating for 52 spectators. The rest of this side is hard uncovered standing and this extends round to the eastern side behind the goal. The remainder of the ground is not accessible to fans leaving it as a two-sided venue. The south and western sides run right up to the cage enclosure with the southern flank also having the two dugouts.

Needham Market were comfortably in lower mid-table in 13th spot whilst Parson were in 17th in one of the potential relegation spots by a point but with three games in hand. It took the visitors less than a minute to open the scoring with Matteo Perkins capitalising on a terrible back header by a Needham defender to slot past the keeper from 12 yards with only 50 seconds on the clock. It was almost two in the 5th minute when a punt upfield went straight to Perkins and his shot and follow-up were both saved by Needham's Finlay Shorten. The hosts' first threat on goal came in the 11th minute with a cross by Ben Smith knocked onto the crossbar by Archie Exworth. Needham were still failing to deal with Parson's attack though - in the 21st minute Matteo Perkins was let in on goal yet again only to drag his shot across goal just the wrong side of the post. Four minutes later with warnings not headed it was 2-0. A visiting attack initially saw a shot through Finlay Shorten's legs blocked on the line by Shane Wardley but the ball was only cleared as far as Martin Tudosa on the edge of the box and with Shorten out of position he picked his spot low into the bottom corner. The home side came into the game after this with Parson goalie keeping out efforts by Eddie Baker and Seth Chambers before half-time. The perseverance paid off ten minutes after the break - a cross from the right found Archie Exworth and though his first shot hit the bar the ball bounced right back to him and he smashed in from close range. It was pretty end-to-end after this - Finlay Shorten pulled off a terrific double-save in the 72nd minute whilst a minute later a Needham free-kick in a dangerous area was blazed over. In the final minute Matteo Perkins scored his second and Parson's third to wrap up an important three points for the visitors.

Result: Needham Market U23s 1-3 Parson Drove
Division: Eastern Counties League Division One North
Attendance: 41

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