‘We must cut the mistakes out’ says Melford manager

VASE DEFEAT: Match action from the Buildbase FA Vase second qualifying round tie between Halstead Town and St Margaretsbury on Saturday. The Humbugs exited the competition after they were beaten 4-1 by their Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division opponents at Rosemary Lane
VASE DEFEAT: Match action from the Buildbase FA Vase second qualifying round tie between Halstead Town and St Margaretsbury on Saturday. The Humbugs exited the competition after they were beaten 4-1 by their Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division opponents at Rosemary Lane

Long Melford manager Jules Mumford has warned his side they must ‘cut the mistakes out’ if they are to get back to winning ways this weekend.

It has been a week to forget for the Villagers who, after conceding an injury-time goal to exit the Buildbase FA Vase on Saturday, were beaten 4-0 away at Stanway Rovers on Tuesday night.

Melford host high-flying Mildenhall Town at Stoneylands on Saturday (3pm), with their opponents this weekend having spent the majority of the early season at the top of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division table.

And ahead of the Hall’s visit, Mumford has called for his players to return to the solidity which had helped them to recent wins over Swaffham Town and Ipswich Wanderers.

“Mildenhall is going to be another really tough game,” the Melford boss said.

“They’ve won seven out of their eight games so far and are a top side, but we’re looking forward to it.

“The last two results were disappointing because we never made the other team work hard for their goals.

“We conceded some soft goals. The goals dried up for us and we’re not scoring as freely as we were before.

“We’ve become more solid as a team but in the last two games we’ve come away from that.

“It’s the little things which make a big difference and the boys have been excellent. It’s just a few mistakes have cost us in the last few games.”

Mumford admits it has been tough to replace striker Jamie Griffiths, who has not featured this season after suffering cruciate ligament damage to his knee in a pre-season friendly.

The prolific marksman, who scored 31 goals for the Villagers last season, recently had an operation for knee reconstruction and is not expected to be fully fit again until early next year.

To illustrate Griffiths’ absence from the side, Melford scored 24 goals during their first 14 games in all competitions last season, while after Tuesday’s 4-0 reverse at Stanway, the Villagers have netted just 16 times from the same number of fixtures this term.

“Replacing Jamie Griffiths and the 30-odd goals he scored last season is very difficult to do,” Mumford said.

“We’re still working hard. We’ve got a small squad and with the injuries we’ve got they’re not getting much rest, but they’ve been solid for me.”

n Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Hadleigh United will be looking to end their recent run of four straight defeats this weekend.

The Brettsiders travel to Walsham-le-Willows on Saturday (3pm) off the back of a 2-1 defeat to Waltham Forest in the FA Vase, and a 4-2 reverse at Haverhill Rovers.

n In the First Division, Halstead Town put their unbeaten league record on the line when they visit Framlingham Town on Saturday (3pm).

The Humbugs were knocked out of the FA Vase by St Margaretsbury last weekend, but return to cup action next week.

Mark Benterman’s side will host higher-league Saffron Walden Town in the Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Halstead are mourning the passing this week of Dave Osborne, who was affectionately known as Mr Halstead during his long association with the club.

Osborne served the club as a player, secretary, committee member, programme editor and match reporter.

n Cornard United will be aiming to extend their winning run when they visit March Town United tomorrow (3pm) and Team Bury on Tuesday (7.45pm).