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Melford boss knows the value of the FA Cup

Long Melford are dreaming of kick-starting an FA Cup run this weekend with Jamie Bradbury saying the boosted prize money means a single win in the famous old competition could secure the club for the next two years.

TRICKY CUSTOMER: Pablo Chaves runs at the Gorleston defence during his Melford debut on Saturday, a 2-2 draw PICTURE: Mecha Morton
TRICKY CUSTOMER: Pablo Chaves runs at the Gorleston defence during his Melford debut on Saturday, a 2-2 draw PICTURE: Mecha Morton

The magic of the FA Cup has never been in doubt at the bottom end of the pyramid but a doubling of the prize fund for this year’s competition – to more than £13 million – has given an added incentive to those clubs not financially flushed with big backers.

Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division sides Melford and Hadleigh enter the opening round this weekend and certainly fall into that bracket. And the former’s manager, who was a long standing press officer with the FA, one who has had a long love affair with this weekend’s competition.

Ahead of taking his side to Essex Senior League outfit Redbridge on Saturday (3pm) in the Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round – with £2,250 for the winner – off the back of a disappointing week where they only managed to take one point from two games they had been playing well in, Bradbury said: “This game is massive for the club, and is for all clubs at this level.

“We love the FA Cup and going on little runs into it to see how far we can get and maybe get a big team.

“Financially for clubs like Melford a win Saturday could benefit the club for the next two seasons. It is that big for clubs like us who have to use wit and nous to get by rather than just financial muscle, and the club is trying to build a new clubhouse as well.”

On Saturday the Villagers opened up their season with a 2-2 draw at home to Gorleston that Bradbury said could and should have been worth all three points, despite calling it a ‘nervy performance’ where they failed to hit the standard set in pre-season.

David Lopez had converted an 18th minute penalty after Will Wingfield, who later had to go to hospital via ambulance for a head wound, was fouled, but a host of chances to stretch their advantage were missed before Gorleston levelled after Ryan Fuller converted a 54th minute cross.

Anthony Waugh thought he had bundled home an 83rd minute winner, but Ross Gilfedder made it a point apiece with a late header in the 87th minute.

On Tuesday at another well fancied side, in Histon, Bradbury was again left to rue missed chances as they surrendered a long-held lead to lose 2-1.

Sam Bayliss had cut in well before providing a clinical finish after 15 minutes which was how the score stayed until a late Histon rally saw Joe Sutton’s cross deflect in off Anthony Waugh in the 75th minute.

A snapshot from 30 yards from Swinton provided the home side’s unlikely winner four minutes later.

Looking ahead to Redbridge, Bradbury said: “They will be a tough side but after dominating a good side in Histon for 70 minutes – they had to change their tactics to deal with it – we will be confident and know we just need to take our chances.”

Anthony Waugh will not be available for the trip along with captain Steve Adams, who left Saturday’s game after 25 minutes through illness. Wingfield is rated highly doubtful after suffering concussion with his head wound.

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