Another big weekend in the Thurlow Premier as Felixstowe and Gorleston look to keep pressure up on Mildenhall

Felixstowe’s Jordan Matthews eludes Alex Steed of Walsham during last week's game between the two si

Felixstowes Jordan Matthews eludes Alex Steed of Walsham during last week's game between the two sides. - Credit: Photo:Stan Baston

Felixstowe & Walton will be hoping for another bumper crowd when they host local rivals Brantham on Saturday for what could be a crunch game in their pursuit of leaders Mildenhall.

Brantham inflicted one of only five league defeats on the Seasiders to date in the reverse fixture at the Leisure Centre back in mid August, and they remain the only side to date to have stopped the home side scoring in the league this season.

With both Gorleston and leaders Mildenhall facing tricky opposition away from home, this is almost a must-win game where three points could be crucial as the Seasiders set about trying to chase the leaders down. It must certainly be match of the day locally with Brantham having their own agenda as they look to get into the top half of the table and cancel out a negative goal difference. Without a win since the beginning of December, the visitors have lost their last three by a single goal margin and will feel their luck has got to turn.

It’s a local derby Friday night, when Hadleigh United host Ipswich Wanderers (kick-off 7:30pm) with the home side sitting in the third relegation spot and looking to play their way out of trouble, a win could lift them a couple of places overnight, but their negative goal difference could be a telling factor come the end of the season, if they don’t pick up enough points to pull themselves clear. Wanderers have got themselves into a top ten spot and they to need to improve their goal difference with the sides immediately above and below them having games in hand, an away win would if lift them into eighth spot at least overnight.

Meanwhile, this weekend League leaders Mildenhall face a tricky test at Saffron Walden as they look to get back to winning ways having ended their losing run last week with a home draw. They lost the reverse fixture at the beginning of the month and won’t want to end the month in the same fashion against the same team with their lead now down to seven points.

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Third-placed Newmarket host a Fakenham side who ended any outside chance Stanway may have had of winning the title with a win last week at the Hawthorns while the Jockeys will be looking to extend a four match winning run that has seen them score 18 goals, 10 of them in the last two games on their artificial surface.

Fourth placed Gorleston, who have enough games in hand to catch and pass the leaders, should they win them, travel to an Ely side who have seen their own form improve since their FA Vase defeat last month and they will provide a stiff test for the greens.

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Long Melford, unbeaten in five, travel to Godmanchester looking to continue their improved form against the side immediately above them in the table. They start the day on the same points but with an inferior goal difference plus having played three games more.

Haverhill Rovers, with just one win since Christmas, host a Gt Yarmouth side with just one defeat in the same period and on a three match winning run including a 1-0 victory over leaders Mildenhall.

Kirkley & Pakefield should be too strong for struggling Wivenhoe who have lost five of their six games in 2017. The home side have been through a sticky patch but should be refreshed after a fortnight off.

The two bottom clubs look unlikely to improve their form this weekend with Swaffham, at least 11 points from safety with ten games left, hosting a Stanway Rovers side that may have dropped out of the title chase, but who should be too strong for their hosts.

FC Clacton will not relish their trip to Thetford, with the home side having lost just one of their seven games since the turn of the year and in good form, while the Essex Seasiders mini-revival has been halted, plus being short of match practice having not played for three weeks.

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