Resurgent Brantham stun Gorleston and Thurlow Nunn Premier title race is blown open - here is a look at the weekend fixtures
- Credit: Photo:Stan Baston
The odds against Felixstowe & Walton winning a first-ever Thurlow Nunn League title fell dramatically on Tuesday evening, when Gorleston lost at home 3-0 to a resurgent Brantham Athletic.
It would be difficult to get the Seasiders’ management to make any such noises about being favourites, as they know there will be more twists and turns to come.
This weekend they host a Wivenhoe side, who currently sit just above the relegation places by virtue of a better goal difference than Hadleigh United in 19th place. The Dragons have won just once since the turn of the year, conceding 19 goals while scoring just three, two of those coming in their win over basement side Swaffham. They will be looking to end a run of three straight defeats without a goal, and will take heart from the fact they held the Seasiders to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture back in August.
Seasiders’ manager Kevin O’Donnell knows that every game is a big one from here on in, and will be wary of a visiting side capable of causing an upset as they tick off one of their games in hand over leaders Mildenhall, who have the afternoon off.
Hadleigh United have drawn their last three, picking up a useful point last time out at 5th placed Stanway Rovers, and know a win at home against Fakenham Town could well lift them out of the relegation places. They need to improve their goal difference, which is currently worse than the two sides immediately above them in the table, if they are to give themselves a realistic chance of avoiding the drop.
Ipswich Wanderers start the day in 9th spot - they picked up an excellent win last time out at Thetford, albeit by a single goal, but against a side currently in good form. They host Stanway Rovers at Humber Doucy Lane in a game where they will feel they have a good chance of getting a positive result. A couple more wins would see them cancel out a negative goal difference, and almost ensure a top ten finish.
Walsham Le Willows make the difficult trip to third placed Newmarket, who are currently on a six match winning run and with eyes on promotion. Walsham were the last side to take points off them when the sides drew the reverse fixture in mid-January, and a similar result here would suit Paul Smith’s side and ease them further away from the relegation spots.
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Leaders Mildenhall, resurgent Brantham and Long Melford all find themselves sitting out this weekend’s round of fixtures, while Kirkley & Pakefield travel to Saffron Walden with neither side in particularly good form, both having produced some erratic results in recent weeks. Both lost last time out and both will be hoping to take something from this fixture.
FC Clacton host fourth placed Gorleston, with the visitors looking to bounce back from their midweek defeat with three points against the side in 21st spot. This is a huge game for both clubs and the Essex Seasiders will be equally keen to carry on from last week’s 2-0 win over Saffron Walden.
Godmanchester, with just one win from their last three games, will be hoping to add to that tally when they host basement side Swaffham - they should be too strong for their visitors who now look certain for relegation, 13 points adrift of safety with nine game left and without an away win all season.
On Friday night, Haverhill host Ely City, who have climbed out of trouble and now sit two places above the home side by virtue of a better goal difference. Rovers, without a win in February, picked up three points at Fakenham last week and will be looking to take maximum points here against a side who won the reverse fixture a month ago.
Thetford start the night in 7th spot, looking to overcome their visitors Gt Yarmouth, who start the evening in 6th place, one point in front but with an inferior goal difference. Both would probably settle for a share of the points having lost last time out.