Melford defy lack of goals to preserve Premier status

CRUCIAL GOAL: Hassan Ally netted the opening during Long Melfords win over Swaffham
CRUCIAL GOAL: Hassan Ally netted the opening during Long Melfords win over Swaffham

THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE

PREMIER DIVISION

Long Melford 2

Swaffham Town 0

Jules Mumford praised the character of his Long Melford players after they secured their status as a Thurlow Nunn League top flight club for another season by beating Swaffham on Saturday.

It has been a tough campaign for The Villagers, who have spent much of the season in and around the relegation zone.

However, goals from Hassan Ally and Ashley Skeggs not only got the better of Swaffham, but ended any worries that Melford would be heading back to the First Division.

“It was a bit nervy early on but once we got the first goal we settled down and controlled the game,” said Mumford.

“We did not want to be going to Kirkley on Saturday (3pm) needing something to be safe.

“We have had some bad runs this season, but in the pressure games towards the end, we have picked up good results.

“That shows the good mentality within the squad — it helped get us through.”

One of the leading factors behind Melford’s struggles has been a lack of goals.

Indeed, they head to Kirkley at the weekend having found the net 41 times from their 39 fixtures — the lowest return of any team in the division.

Their cause was not helped by the pre-season cruciate knee ligament injury suffered to Jamie Griffiths, who hit 31 goals in all competitions during 2015/16.

But with Griffiths now back in training, Mumford is hoping his men will not have to look over their shoulders again next term.

“We have not scored enough goals this season, simple as that,” he added.

“Losing Jamie was crucial because you cannot replace someone of that quality, but we still needed others to step up.

“Jamie is back training and is so keen to get out on the field and play.

“He has been really professional during his rehabilitation, going to the gym and getting up at 6am for swimming.

“Hopefully he stays with us next year and we can get three or four new faces in to help have a better season.”

Melford beat their weekend opponents Kirkley 1-0 in January thanks to a goal from Ally.