Hadleigh have caught a bug ahead of new FA Vase quest

SOLO RUN: Long Melford's Jamie Griffiths slaloms his way through two Halstead Town defenders on Saturday - for report, see below
SOLO RUN: Long Melford's Jamie Griffiths slaloms his way through two Halstead Town defenders on Saturday - for report, see below

Ahead of entering the cup this weekend, Hadleigh boss Stuart Crawford says the club has once again been infected with a case of the FA Vase bug.

The Brettsiders have enjoyed their two best runs in the national non-League competition, which dangles a far more realistic carrot of a Wembley appearance than the FA Cup, over the last two seasons.

And with their reward seeing them not feature until Saturday’s second round proper — skipping the first three rounds — Crawford has revealed the appeal of going further than ever before is even stronger than ever.

Ahead of a trip to Thurlow Nunn League First Division side Great Yarmouth Town on Saturday (3pm), he said: “The players and staff who have been involved in the previous two successful cup runs have caught the Vase bug — it grips you and gives you the hunger to go further than previously.”

But after getting back on track with a 4-0 win at Thetford Town at the weekend — their first win in five in all competitions — the Hadleigh chief said he will not be taking the side who play one league lower than themselves lightly.

“Yarmouth away is a difficult tie,” he insisted. “They have been very successful so far this season, they are in a strong position to challenge for promotion (seventh) and have done very well to get this far already. “

The Thurlow Nunn League champions, who have won the league’s best team performance award for August and September — winning £150 for themselves and £100 for charity, which they will present to mental health charity MIND at home to Fakenham Town a week on Saturday (3pm) — continue to be hit by a lengthy injury list.

Crawford, whose side sit in fourth, can still not pick goalkeeper Ben Nower, midfielder Luke Hammond (both knee) and full-back Ashley Sloots (ankle) for at least another week after lengthy lay-offs.

Midfielder Liam Scopes (unavailability) is set to miss out too, while captain Paul Donnelly, Liam Jennings and George Clarke will all have to prove their fitness after incurring knocks in a highly-pleasing display at Thetford.

“Hopefully a great performance like that will give the lads plenty of confidence going into a big cup fixture,” said Crawford.

In the First Division, Cornard United (18th) will be looking for only their second home win in nine when Woodbridge Town (17th) visit Saturday (3pm).

Halstead Town (fifth) could leapfrog hosts Debenham LC (3pm), ahead of hosting AFC Sudbury Reserves in the league cup on Tuesday (7.45pm). And Long Melford (third) could reclaim top spot with three points at home to bottom side Dereham Town Reserves (3pm).

* Thurlow nunn league First division: Halstead Town 2 Long Melford 0

Scott Yearling scored on his Halstead Town debut as the Humbugs knocked Long Melford off the top of the league.

The former Cornard United striker signed from Ryman League Division One North outfit Brightlingsea Regent having spent some time on loan in the Thurlow Nunn Premier at FC Clacton this season.

A long-range shot from Brad James was turned round the post by Melford keeper Darren Moyes and the resultant corner saw the experienced Dave Morgan head the ball against the underside of the crossbar as Halstead dominated the early stages.

Jamie Griffiths headed Sam Bayliss’ cross over the bar as the visitors tried to respond, but Halstead took the lead when Moyes punched the ball against his own defender and Yearling was on hand to bundle the ball home.

Moyes made two crucial saves, but saw his clearance blocked by Jordan Hutchings, who tapped in Halstead’s second.