THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
Halstead Town 0
Long Melford 1
The Villagers gained revenge over Halstead, who came from 2-0 down to win the reverse derby 4-2, with a Scott Sloots goal sealing a memorable victory on Saturday.
This time, although Melford defended for long periods of the second half, a repeat was not going to happen with their twin central defenders Chris Toole and Michael Owen resolute, combined with full-back Ashley Sloots, keeping their half-time lead intact.
For much of the first period, Melford looked the better unit, with chances falling to Nathan Rowe, who flashed his header just wide, and midfielder Ashley Skeggs, who put the ball narrowly over the bar from close range.
The home team responded with James Murray forcing keeper Sam Mansfield into action and Chris Thomas got in on goal only for Toole to execute a last-ditch tackle.
Melford usually gift their opponents goals this season, but were given one of their own when, under no real pressure, a poor pass-back from Ash Drew to Jack Cherry saw Scott Sloots cap a memorable first start with a calm finish after nipping in and sidestepping the goalkeeper.
The second half opened well for Melford, with Courtney Prince running on to a throughball from Ashley Sloots, only to be just beaten by the advance of the home keeper.
With the introduction of Ellis Carter from the bench, Halstead started to wind up their game and Melford were forced on to the defensive, but Mansfield saved well from Jordan Hutchings before Ellis fired against the post.
n Halstead Town manager Mark Benterman said having to releasing right-back Ash Drew this week was ‘one of the hardest decisions I have had to make’.
‘Non-footballing’ reasons were said to be behind his exit by mutual consent with Benterman looking within his squad for a replacement.