Thurlow Nunn League round-up: Long Melford maintain good form

Woodbridge Town's George Bowman

Woodbridge Town's George Bowman - Credit: Archant

A round-up of the weekend’s Thurlow Nunn League games.

Premier Division Long Melford 1 Kirkley and Pakefield 0

Long Melford put in another thoroughly industrious performance to beat Kirkley & Pakefield 1-0 and climb back up to fifth.

There was little between the two teams over the 90 minutes, with Melford benefitting from a defensive howler from the visitors to claim all three points.

The crucial turning point of the game came after 27 minutes, when Kirkley goalkeeper Louis Tibbles received the ball from a throw-in, and put his return pass straight to the feet of Villagers’ striker Jamie Griffiths.

Melford’s leading goalscorer took the ball around the keeper and fired home.

The hosts had an escape on the stroke of half-time when Kirkley’s Kyle Baker fired in a shot from 10 yards, which was deflected and just ballooned over the Melford crossbar.

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The brother combination of Anthony and Ross Waugh were resolute in the Melford defence, with goalkeeper Sam Mansfield saving well from Baker on the final whistle.

Fakenham Town 3 Hadleigh United 0

Two goals in the final two minutes of the first-half put lowly Fakenham Town on the way to a convincing win against mid-table Hadleigh United.

After 42 evenly-balanced minutes, Ashley Jarvis broke clear to beat the exposed Hadleigh keeper to open the scoring.

Two minutes later a deep cross from the Fakenham right was headed home by the unmarked Jarvis, on the far post, for the second goal.

A well-taken goal by Kyle Plumb completed the scoring after 59 minutes.

Hadleigh sent on the teenagers James Gaffer and George Mrozek, but in the phase of heavy pressure from the visitors, Fakenham keeper Tom Rix was in unbeatable form.

First Division Knockout Cup Ely City 0 Stowmarket Town 1

Stowmarket Town are into the semi-finals of the First Division Knockout Cup after a narrow 1-0 win against Ely City.

A wonder strike from Dean Pleasance gave the Old Gold and Blacks an early lead against their promotion-chasing opponents at the Unwin Sports Ground.

And despite James Graham being shown a second red card to leave Stow with 10 men for the final minutes, they held on to move into their first cup semi-final in five years.

In what was the first meeting between the two sides in nearly eight years, it was the high-flying hosts who first came close to a breakthrough on eight minutes.

Matty Simpson’s marauding run down the right gave him space to cross for Sam Goodge, whose header was clawed away by Stowmarket goalkeeper Dan Joyce.

The teenager would go on to make several more important saves, but before then it was Stow’s turn to score the opening goal. And they did so in style two minutes later, when Pleasance curled a shot in from 25 yards out.

First Division Leiston Reserves 1 Haverhill Borough 2

Two first-half goals were enough to secure all three points for Haverhill Borough on their visit to Leiston Reserves.

After keeping out Borough skipper Harry Halls’ shot after 16 minutes, the Leiston goalkeeper could do little five minutes later when Rory Bone slid the ball into the path of Matt Staines, who fired the visitors ahead.

Haverhill doubled their advantage after good play from Ryan Swallow saw the ball played out to Halls, and his cross fell at the feet of left back Tommy Hardwick, whose shot was blocked, but rebounded kindly to Bone to fire past Spurling.

Leiston pulled a goal back as Jack Baker forced the ball in from a corner with two minutes left, but Borough held on to secure their first victory of 2016.

Woodbridge Town 2

Great Yarmouth Town 0

Woodbridge Town produced their best team performance of the season to deservedly beat third-top Great Yarmouth Town.

The away side nearly took the lead after only 10 seconds when Sean Perfect broke through the home defence, but his shot went wide. The Woodpeckers nearly scored the first goal after 15 minutes when George Bowman’s shot from close range went over the bar.

The home side’s man of the match, Callum Sinclair, had an effort that just missed the target after 27 minutes.

Chris Holmes’ shot after 32 minutes also failed to hit the target for the away side, while his effort after 40 minutes again failed to trouble home keeper Harry Lay Fulcher.

The Woodpeckers took the lead after 42 minutes when the dangerous Sinclair was fouled inside the area and Bowman stepped up to send away keeper Jack Whitmouth the wrong way from the spot.

In the last seconds of the game Hanson’s excellent through ball found Ray and he made no mistake to make it 2-0 to clinch the three points for the Woodpeckers.

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