Long Melford boss confident his squad has the quality to beat the drop out of the Thurlow Nunn League's top flight in what he sees as a three-team fight for survival
Jamie Bradbury feels his Long Melford side are one of three teams left to fight out it to avoid joining Framlingham Town on the slide down to Step 6 football.
It was groundhog day at Stoneylands on Saturday as, much like Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Whitton United at the same venue, Melford’s play was promising, but ultimately delivered nothing in front of goal.
This time it was Newmarket Town who made them pay for their profligacy with two goals inside the last 10 minutes accounting for a 2-0 away victory that saw the Villagers drop into the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division relegation zone, following Great Yarmouth Town’s 5-2 victory at high-flying Walsham-le-Willows.
“It has been the same story for not just the last couple of games but for most of our season,” said Melford boss Bradbury.
“There has not been many games that we have played badly in – Hadleigh and Framlingham away are the only ones I can think of.
“It is just one thing or another has not gone our way.”
Following Hadleigh United’s victory over bottom side Framlingham, he now believes they are involved in a three-way battle to avoid the other relegation spot.
“I think it is a little mini-league between three teams and it is a case of not finishing bottom of that,” he said.
Melford, Great Yarmouth Town and Ely City are all currently separated by just a point. Melford are set to travel to Yarmouth for their penultimate match, though Bradbury said he is ‘surprised’ to see them in trouble.
On Saturday, Pablo Chaves twice failed twice when only three yards out, and Emmanuel Machayo likewise had a double miss from one-on-one situations.
Although conceding two late goals the Melford defence worked incredibly hard, with Anthony Waugh heading off the line from Max Melanson and goalkeeper Michael Bett doing well with efforts from Ben Robertson and Lewis Whitehead.
Just before half-time Melford’s man-of-the-match Keiron Michaels ran down the right flank and his measured cross found Chaves who again failed to convert.
Bett made a fine full-length save from Sam Gomarsall at the start of the second half before the hosts passed up at least five good chances.
Newmarket took all the points though with Jack Watson scoring from the penalty spot after 81 minutes and, with Melford pushing a for a leveller, they were caught with six minutes to play when former AFC Sudbury player Robinson got forward quickly to fire home from the angle.
Bradbury takes his side to an out-of-form Brantham Athletic (8th) on Saturday (3pm) with their hosts having lost their last three.
“Ultimately it is not really down to who we play against, it is all about what we do,” he said.
“We think we have got enough quality in the squad and to play well and match teams, if not better teams. And we need to make sure when we do that we capitalise on it by getting some goals.”
He added: “Brantham are a tricky side and we always have close games against them and I would imagine that will be the case again on Saturday.
“Hopefully we can get a little bit of fortune and rub of the green in front of goal.”
Premier Division: Bottom 10
P W D L Pts
Whitton United 30 12 4 14 40
FC Clacton 26 12 4 10 40
Haverhill Rovers 26 10 7 9 37
Norwich United 30 9 6 15 33
Thetford Town 28 10 3 15 33
Hadleigh United 30 10 2 18 32
Ely City 31 8 4 19 28
Gt Yarmouth Tn 29 8 2 19 26
Long Melford 30 6 8 16 26
Framlingham Tn 30 4 4 22 16