THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
Long Melford 2
Walsham le Willows 1
The Villagers gave their new-found confidence another boost with this victory, which lifts them up to 17th in the table.
The win came four days after Haverhill Rovers had been beaten by a similar scoreline at Stoneylands, a match in which Callum Hemson was sent off.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” said manager Jamie Bradbury, “and it’s a nice feeling to finally get some reward for the lads’ efforts.
“The work of the last couple of months is paying off. The spirit here is good, and confidence is high at the moment.”
That confidence will face a stern test on Saturday, when Melford travel to take on runaway leaders Felixstowe and Walton United, who have won 22 of their 24 games so far this season.
“It’s an opportunity to see how we can do against the best in the division,” said Bradbury. “I’m looking forward to it.”
With the league being restructured at the end of this season, and rumours of up to seven clubs being relegated from the premier division, 17th would probably represent safety.
“It’s ridiculous to leave clubs not knowing what will happen,” said Bradbury. “We are doing our best to stay at this level, but there are a few sides around us who are battling to do the same thing.”
On Saturday early chances came and went at both ends, before a clumsy challenge in the 22nd minute saw Melford concede a penalty. Andrew Cusack gave keeper Darren Moyes no chance.
Sam Peters came close with a shot on the run for Walsham, while a Steve Adams header was cleared off the Walsham line.
Although Walsham edged the first period Melford levelled on 41 minutes when a super strike by Scott Sloots, from 30 yards, curled into the top of the net with keeper Tom Coombe static.
The home team improved over the second half, and Ross Waugh came close when his header was cleared off the line. The vistors replied with keeper Darren Moyes making three fantastic saves.
The winner came after 52 minutes when in a goalmouth melee following a Melford free kick Steve Adams eventually forced home from close range.
n On Wednesday Melford beat Haverhill Rovers 2-1, with a first half goal from Steve Adams and a late penalty by Will Wingfield. Harry Halls had equalised from the spot.
Melford were reduced to 10 men in the second half when Nathan Rowe and Callum Hemson were involved in a dispute, and Hemson was sent off.
“It’s done and dusted now,” said Bradbury. “Callum made a mistake and he’s apologised, and we move on. I know both lads, and it was out of character. These things happen in the emotion of a game when you are desperate to win.”
Rowe was left out of the squad for the Walsham game, but will be back on Saturday.