Triple change at the break key as Willows beat Villagers
Long Melford 0
A half-time triple substitution from Walsham manager Trevor Newman proved decisive as the home side recovered from an indifferent opening 45 minutes to dominate after the break and take the points, while Melford remain in the relegation places with only four games to play, writes Dave Meeson.
Goals from George Bugg and Ryan Twinn, who both started the game on the bench, set Walsham on their way to victory while Ryan Gibbs, their third substitute, was also influential as he troubled Melford’s rearguard with his power and pace.
The opening period, however, belonged to the visitors – but they failed to turn their opportunities into goals.
The Villagers’ skipper Steve Adams had the first opportunity but he could only head a Kieran Michaels’ cross wide of the target. The impressive Michaels then struck a powerful 30 yarder which produced a fine save from Walsham’s young keeper Dan Stobbart.
The home side could not get going and just after the half hour Adams headed another great Michaels’ delivery against the bar. Almost immediately Michaels supplied Ross Waugh but his header went wide.
Walsham failed to muster a single effort on target before the break but they upped the tempo immediately after the restart going ahead on 54 minutes when Twinn found space to play a perfect pass into the path of Bugg who rounded Melford keeper Michael Bett to finish for his 14th goal of the season.
Craig Nurse then lobbed Bett only for the ball to drift narrowly wide and then the Villagers keeper produced a last-ditch block to keep out another effort from Bugg.
It was all Walsham by this point and they doubled the lead in the 65th minute after a quick free-kick from Gibbs initiated a fine move involving Bugg and Lee Sim and ended with Twinn converting at the back post.
Bugg then had another shot turned over by Bett before Michaels went close with a free kick in an increasingly rare attack from Melford just prior to the final whistle.
Walsham remain in a very creditable fifth position after this victory while Melford currently lie two points from probable safety.