THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Cornard United 0
Long Melford 1
League-leaders Long Melford found the going tougher than expected against basement-boys Cornard United as they were made to work for the win.
The early stages saw Melford force a number of corners and free kicks but they were unable to really trouble home keeper Colin Athey, who once donned the keeper’s shirt for The Villagers.
It was 13 minutes in before Cornard troubled the Melford goal with Ezra Drann charging forward but his final shot almost found the corner flag instead of the goal.
After 20 minutes Melford created a golden chance when Nathan Rowe found Jamie Griffiths in the box but his shot was deflected for a corner. The salvation finally arrived after 27 minutes as Griffiths jinked his way into the Cornard box and was brought down in the penalty area, with the referee duly awarding a spot kick.
Griffiths himself took responsibility from the spot and made no mistake coolly converting to open the scoring.
The home team responded with a direct approach to their target man striker Swann, whose good hold up forced a number of dangerous corners.
However, despite the pressure, the visitors were unable to find a way through the resolute home defence.
And it was Melford who should have increased their lead just before half time, but forward Sean Bartlett failed to capitalise, firing wide when well placed at close range.
The momentum continued with Melford after the interval and they created the first opening of the second period.
A dangerous cross from Griffiths found Rowe at the far post but he could not capitalise on the opportunity, Heading wide from two-yards out.
Chances continued to come for the home side with Bartlett firing another opportunity wide of the mark, while Melford also saw another penalty appeal waved away after Griffiths was bundled off the ball in the Cornard penalty area.
Twice before the end Swann got goal-side of his marker but somehow Ross Waugh and Steve Adams came to the rescue with last ditch tackles.
At the other end, Melford again were unable to convert two good chances with Andy Fisher firing high and wide when he should have done better.
The final whistle heralded relief for the home side who had sealed all three points against their resilient and defiant visitors.
The victory took Melford back to the top of the league, where they now sit one point ahead of title rivals Swaffham Town, having played two games more than the Norfolk side.