THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Long Melford 0
Brightlingsea Regent 6
Robbie Benson is targeting a place at the top of the mini league that is beginning to form at the bottom of the Thurlow Nunn First Division.
Long Melford’s manager watched his side overwhelmed by a Brightlingsea Regent outfit recording their seventh consecutive victory on Saturday.
But with the rest of the division having broken away from the bottom six, Benson hopes to finish as the best of the rest.
“We’ve got games that are winnable in January so we are looking forward to those,” said the Villagers’ chief, whose side would go above Team Bury by winning at the Blues on Saturday (3pm).
“You can’t really compete against the likes of Brightlingsea because they are in a different league to most clubs in the division.
“Team Bury have struggled to get games in over the festive period and have had quite a few called off, so we hope they are a little rusty.”
Melford were always going to be up against it against Brightlingsea on Saturday and the writing was on the wall within 20 seconds when Regent won their first of 10 corners during the opening 45 minutes.
However, a mixture of resolute defending and wasteful finishing meant the visitors from Essex did not take the lead until the 36th minute.
Melford failed to deal with a Brightlingsea goal-kick and allowed Ricky Griggs to ghost past two tackles before firing home via Liam Hastie’s hands.
Hastie may have hoped to have done better with the first, but he was left exposed five minutes later when Phil Kelly powered in the visitors’ second goal.
Griggs and Kelly doubled their tallies after the interval before Charlie Thompson stabbed in from close range and Liam Whittaker headed home the sixth in stoppage time.
Top scorer Jack Durey (broken collarbone) is set to return in early January, while goalkeeper Sam Mansfield, who was injured in a car crash last year, was an unused substitute on Saturday.
Melford: Hastie, Bayliss (Gammage 72), Williams, Toole, Crissell, Durrell, Hubbard, Barnes (Cresswell 72), Westcott (Whitehart 72), Wingfield, Irwin. Sub not used: Mansfield.
n Elsewhere in the Thurlow Nunn League on Saturday (all 3pm), Hadleigh United travel to Woodbridge Town in the Premier Division.
Meanwhile, in the First Division, bottom club Cornard United visit high-flying Cambridge University Press and Halstead Town — who lost 5-1 to Brightlingsea Regent on Boxing Day — make the trip to Ipswich Wanderers.
On Wednesday (7.45pm), Hadleigh host Ryman Premier outfit Lowestoft Town in the quarter-finals of the Suffolk Premier Cup.
n Melford’s under-18s finished the calendar year in third place in the Thurlow Nunn Youth League South Division after defeating Brantham Athletic 4-2, thanks to goals from Harry Fryer, Will Wingfield, Joff Anselmi and Jake Boyton.
n Watch more reaction from Robbie Benson via www.suffolk freepress.co.uk