Ridgeons League round-up

This week's Ridgoens round-up includes news of a leg break at Norwich, managerial tantrums at Stanway and a goal fest at Dereham.


Saturday, January 23

THERE were no shocks at The Royal Oak as leaders CRC hit six without reply against bottom-of-the-table Harwich to extend the gap at the top to four points plus a game in hand over Needham Market. Bailey and Hughes both scored a brace with Eades and Hudson also finding the net.

Second-placed Needham Market found themselves without a game as their match at The Glassworld Stadium was postponed, Histon declaring the pitch unplayable. It left the Marketmen less than happy as it was the only fixture to be affected by the weather.

The idle afternoon for Needham gave third-placed Leiston the opportunity to close the gap and they duly accepted the chance by taking all three points at Victory Road. A battling Newmarket side looked to have earned a draw when Drake cancelled out Lee McGlone's 56th minute opener with the equaliser on 71 minutes, but it was not to be as Goldfinch grabbed the winner and three points for his side in the fourth minute of time added on at the end of the game.

The result moved Leiston to within three points of Needham and opened the gap between themselves and fourth-placed Stanway Rovers to 10 points as The Rovers saw all three points slip away at Hamlet Croft. Missing leading scorer Sam Newson, it was a bad day all round for Stanway. Abbot gave Haverhill an 18th minute lead and Boardley doubled it a minute before half-time from the penalty spot. Despite there being no further goals a frustrated Stanway manager Steve Downey was sent to the stands before the game reached the hour mark.

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Kirkley and Pakefield were without a game and their inactivity saw them drop two places from fifth to seventh with Mildenhall and Felixstowe & Walton taking advantage. Mildenhall took all three points at Maitlands against the last side to take a point from them back in early December. The Hall scored twice in the opening 10 minutes through John Sands and saw another effort from Turner ruled out for offside as they moved to within five points of Stanway with a game in hand. The defeat cost Debenham LC a place as they dropped to 10th.

Felixstowe & Walton have the same points as Mildenhall and moved into sixth place on goal difference with a hard earned victory at Summer Road. Clarke gave the home side a 12th minute lead as the visitors - with four new players in their ranks - struggled to find any rhythm. It was not until the 74th minute when Head scored past his own keeper that the visitors got a grip of the game and Wright sealed the points with a late strike.

Dereham moved up two places into eighth with their 6-2 demolition of beleaguered Woodbridge. Willis, Buhlemann and Gusterson gave the Magpies a comfortable half-time lead, Williams and Smith added further goals before Marcus pulled one back in the dying minutes. There was still time for more action as Reeves made it six and Robbie Smythe pulled another back for The Woodpeckers in injury time.

Wroxham, who drew away in the FA Vase at Armthorpe, dropped to ninth. Wisbech remain in 11th without playing but both Haverhill and Hadleigh moved onto the same points.

The latter started the day in 15th spot and moved up two places thanks to their point at home to Ely City, Walsham Le Willows and Newmarket were the two to make way. The Robins rushed into a two goal lead with goals from Dixon and Mason but two goals in as many minutes from Bethel saw the sides turn round level. Payne put Hadleigh in front before the hour but Ely came back to earn a point with Warren grabbing the equaliser with 15 minutes left.

Norwich United's 4-0 win over Wivenhoe made it a trio of defeats for the bottom clubs and moved the Planters to within three points of the three sides immediately above them. It was a bad day for Norwich as midfielder Matty Robinson suffered a broken leg and dislocated ankle which forced a 45 minute delay to the first half proceedings. Atkins made it 1-0 when the game restarted to give the home side the half-time lead, before Blythe, Wilson and Claydon all found the net in the second half to give the home side a comfortable victory.

The Planters' win left the bottom three at least 15 points adrift of safety with Woodbridge also under threat of having a further three points deducted pending an investigation into allegations that they fielded two ineligible players at Felixstowe at the start of the month.

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