League leaders Mildenhall leave it late to grab Hadleigh United win
- Credit: Archant
It took an 85th-minute goal from Thurlow Nunn Premier Division league leaders Mildenhall to snatch a deserved victory against a resilient Hadleigh side, whose rearguard performance frustrated the visitors for long spells.
Before the game Town manager Dean Greygoose said every team approached their games against Mildenhall as a cup final, and this was no exception, his team eventually increasing their winning league sequence to eight straight victories.
The visitors created two chances within the first two minutes. Firstly Joe Asensi’s cross was headed wide by Luke Butcher and then Jacob Brown crossed beyond the far post, picking out George Tolliday who also headed fractionally wide.
The Brettsiders immediately responded when Ben Elliott’s free-kick resulted in Kyle Cassell’s header being blocked.
The visitors started to gain more possession but the home defence was resolute against a side averaging three goals a game, while Sam Mansfield in the home goal was hardly troubled until the 20th minute.
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Garry Burdett the Hadleigh skipper fouled Dan Brown and Jamie Hilton’s free-kick found the head of Butcher who, from five yards, who nodded straight at Mansfield.
Little was seen of the home side as an attacking force with Cassell virtually isolated against a well-organised defence that had conceded a meagre eight league goals.
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Town then had a chance when Lee Clift headed into the path of Dan Brown whose powered shot was deflected for a corner.
Mansfield then did well to collect the corner under the bar with the menacing Butcher in close attendance.
The visitors were testing Hadleigh’s resolve with a series of crosses but Burdett led by example with excellent headed interceptions to foil the Town raiders.
The Hall made significant substitutions in the second half that produced more attacking options and tested Hadleigh manager Stuart Alston’s side.
Asensi’s free-kick picked out the rangy Butcher but again he spurned a great opportunity, heading over, before Gareth Simpson flashed a shot wide.
Against the run of play Hadleigh had a great chance when Ben Goulding released Cassell through on goal but the action-starved visiting custodian was quickly of his line smothering the ball at the forward’s feet.
A decent five-man move then saw Mildenhall substitute David Bacon square to full-back David Cooper whose cross was then headed wide by his advancing team-mate.
Butcher then almost found the target with another header that struck the bar.
Bacon then fired a fierce free kick from 25 yards that took a wicked deflection but Mansfield produced a brilliant fingertip save to foil the attempt.
It had been all Mildenhall in the closing stages and they were rewarded with five minutes remaining, Chris Bacon’s cross from the right being met with a stunning diving header from skipper Butcher to finally make the breakthrough.
After the game, Greygoose said his team missed several chances against a Hadleigh side that had “worked their socks off”.
He felt that it would have been a travesty of justice had they dropped points and continued by confirming that match winner Butcher should have had four goals.