Woodbridge Town striker Mark Ray targeting 50-goal mark in Thurlow Nunn League

Hot-shot Mark Ray of Woodbridge

Hot-shot Mark Ray of Woodbridge - Credit: Archant

Woodbridge Town hitman Mark Ray wants to smash the 50-goal barrier this season, and break the record for most goals scored in a Thurlow Nunn League term.

The former Whitton United striker hit his SEVENTH hat-trick of a stunning campaign, in the Woodpeckers’ 9-1 rout of Cornard United in Division One on Saturday, and has already notched 30 goals this season.

Ray, who has skippered the Woodpeckers on several occasions this season, managed just five in 19 games for Whitton, in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division last season – a campaign that saw him dogged by injury.

The 22-year-old has never been particularly prolific either, his best goalscoring season coming when he netted 20 times for AFC Sudbury Under-21s in the 2014-15 season.

The only player to ever hit the half-century mark in the top tier of the Eastern Counties league is Matthew Metcalfe, who scored exactly 50 goals for Wroxham in 1992-93.

The record for Division One is 44 goals, scored by Stanway’s Scott Witney in 2004-05.

“There is still another 25 or 26 games to play this season so my target should be 50 goals,” said Woodbridge-born Ray.

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“I love scoring goals. We were 7-0 up at the weekend but I had only scored twice and I was desperate to get my hat-trick.

“I don’t see any reason why I can’t hit the 50-mark, it would be nice, but as long as the team is winning that is the main thing.”

Woodbridge are currently eighth in the division, 14 points off leaders Coggeshall, but have scored 51 league goals already – hitting nine against Whitton too.

Asked what the secret to his success was, Ray added: “I think a lot of it is down to the way the team plays.

“We play with two quick wingers, Matt Mackenzie, who has just joined, and Callum Sinclair, who has set up a lot of my goals and is unbelievable for his age.

“Last season I was doing a lot more work off the ball but this season (coach) Glenn Snell has told me to do preserve my energy for the final third and be a little bit more selfish (in front of goal). He has worked a lot with me.”

Despite his tall frame (6ft 4ins), there is one aspect of his game Ray would like to improve.

“I score all sorts of goals but I don’t tend to get many headers,” he admitted.