Brettsiders snap up Clarke to strengthen push for title

NEW RECRUIT: Hadleigh United's new signing, George Clarke, in action for Needham Market, who he joined after being released by Ipswich Town
NEW RECRUIT: Hadleigh United's new signing, George Clarke, in action for Needham Market, who he joined after being released by Ipswich Town

Hadleigh United have added to their options up front with the signing of former Ipswich Town and Needham Market striker George Clarke.

After being released by the Ryman League Division One North club earlier this month, the 18-year-old joined the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division champions last week.

And Hadleigh’s assistant manager Alan Dilloway was delighted to have snapped up the talented youngster, who has previously been at Ipswich Town’s academy.

“He was a player that we looked at before and spoke about bringing him here on loan,” said Dilloway.

“But Mark (Morsley, Needham manager) was reluctant to do that.”

The teenager made his debut at the Millfield on Saturday as a second-half substitute, as the Brettsiders were narrowly beaten 3-2 by Godmanchester Rovers.

David Lorimer and Tes Bramble were on target for the hosts, but goals from Austen Diaper, Tom Meechan and James Blackwell secured the points for Rovers.

The defeat left United nine points behind current leaders Norwich United.

Hadleigh (fifth) look to get back to winning ways when they travel to 10th-placed Mildenhall Town on Saturday (3pm).

Elsewhere, Halstead Town prepare for this weekend’s local derby with Cornard United without James Murray.

The striker bid farewell to Rosemary Lane with a late winner against King’s Lynn Town Reserves on Saturday, before completing a move to Premier Division side Haverhill Rovers earlier this week.

Halstead manager Mark Benterman admitted that the opportunity for Murray to test himself at a higher level was too good for him to turn down.

“‘Muzza’ goes with our blessing,” said Benterman. “We always like to see players move up the ladder.

“Saturday was a very difficult game and was one of our worst performances for quite some time.”

The Humbugs went into the First Division Knockout Cup quarter-final in red-hot form, having scored 15 goals in their last three games.

But it was the departing Murray who got the game’s solitary goal, and as a result helped Halstead reach their first semi-final in five years.

Benterman’s side host local rivals Cornard on Saturday (3pm), before welcoming Braintree Town Reserves to Rosemary Lane on Tuesday (7.45pm).

“It’s a huge game as there are a number of our ex-players that now play for Cornard,” said the Halstead boss.

“We rested a lot of players on Tuesday as we’ve got a busy schedule, but we hope to get maximum points in the next two games.”