MATCH REPORT: Third straight win eases Melford's relegation fears

CELEBRATION TIME: Scott Sloots is congratulated after putting Melford 3-0 up this afternoon.  Pictures: Mark Bullimore
CELEBRATION TIME: Scott Sloots is congratulated after putting Melford 3-0 up this afternoon. Pictures: Mark Bullimore

THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE: Long Melford 4 FC Clacton 3

Long Melford picked up a big three points in their battle to beat the drop in a seven-goal thriller against second-from-bottom FC Clacton.

HOME DEBUT: Michael Runicles

HOME DEBUT: Michael Runicles

The Essex side, under new management and having recruited new players, looked far better than a bottom two side and dominated the opening 45 minutes.

But two penalties conceded inside two minutes by defender Joe Moore, from the 40th minute, saw them go into the interval trailing 2-0.

Melford's top goalscorer, Will Wingfield, took his tally for the season to nine by dispatching both, the second almost stopped with Paddi Hawkins slowing it considerably after getting a hand to it.

The first saw Wingfield himself upended but the second, with home debutant Michael Runicles going down, looked very soft and drew big protests from the visitors.

They only had themselves to blame at the other end for not already being ahead though, as they failed to take advantage of some poor defending, particularly off crosses into the box.

The nearest Clacton had come was when number nine Kieron Baker's long-range effort cannoned out off the crossbar, while captain Kevin Coyle sent a thunderous half volley whistling past the post.

The same player had been played through in-bwteen those efforts only to see Melford captain Steve Adams recover ground to make a good block to send his powerful effort away from goal.

Melford's only clear-cut chance in open play had come just before the quarter-of-an-hour mark when captain Steve Adams hit a volley from the edge of the box which was deflected wide.

Buoyed by their good fortune, The Villagers began the second half on the front foot, and were rewarded with a third goal in the 48th minute.

With the Clacton defence appealing for a foul that was never given, Runicles took advantage by skipping down to the right byline before cutting back to the edge of the area where three of his team-mates were running in without tracking markers. Scott Sloots was the nearest to the ball and hit a low finish into the corner of the net.

Reece Clark came on in the 54th minute and was celebrating scoring the host's fourth within eight minutes of entering the field of play.

This time Hassan Ally put a low cross in from the right and Clarke was able to steer it beyond Hawkins.

The lead looked unassailable, but Clacton set up a nervy last few minutes with three goals in 20 minutes.

In the 72nd minute their unlikely attempt at a comeback began when full-back Steve Chisholm was guilty of playing the ball straight to Coyle and he expertly curled it into the far corner from around 25 yards out.

Six minutes later Sam Cripps' looping effort beat Darren Moyes, who was blushing after he came racing out for a loose balk he should have left for his defence as the game entered inhury-time, with sub Jamie Beecham punishing him with a lob.

Despite the referee playing another three minutes, there was to be no further threatening action on Moyes' goal as the home side claimed a vital three points ahead of hosting Gorleston on Tuesday (7.45pm).

MELFORD: Moyes, Chisholm, Dewey, Sloots, Adams (c), A Waugh, Ally (Smith, 83), R Waugh, Runicles (Skeggs, 87) TJ LePage (Clarke, 54), Wingfield. Unused: Collins.