Long Melford 1 Thetford Town 3
PROMOTION favourites Thetford Town deservedly left Stoneylands with all the points.
The opening minutes saw the Melford defence under some heavy pressure and home keeper Paul Wood was forced to clear a Cusack effort with his feet for a corner.
Having begun to settle, Melford then threatened the Thetford goal with Dan Cann forcing the visiting keeper Bowden to push the ball round the post.
Still there seemed to be uncertainty in the Melford defence, with some poor clearances that led to further pressure.
In one of those dithering moments, O’Donnell was able to deflect a shot across the box wide of keeper Wood to open his account after 16 minutes.
The home team responded with an Ashley Skeggs volley and another Cann shot tested out keeper Bowden.
It was the visitors who increased the margin after 36 minutes with some good work between Dixon and Jones, which then saw a cross find the Melford box and Cusack headed home.
Despite trailing, Melford tried to get back into the game with Cann bringing out a parry from keeper Bowden and Martin Westcott screwing his shot inches wide of the upright.
On the half-time whistle, Melford got on the scoresheet. A fine corner from Chris Williamson was headed home with force by defender Craig Wilson, a just reward for the home team.
Although Melford were more prominent in the second half, the visitors added to their tally after 52 minutes when a simple throughball from Rocha found Cusack unmarked and he ran through to slide the ball past keeper Wood.
For most of the game Thetford looked a little sharper, and in another attack Craig Wilson cleared off the Melford goalline.
The lifeline for Melford came on 73 minutes, after a push in the box saw them awarded a penalty. Cann’s fierce shot from the spot beat Bowden all ends up but rebounded off the post and the follow-up effort was hit wide of the goal.
Again Melford had a goalline clearance when the impressive Waterfield hacked the ball off the line, but still Melford came forward looking for a reward for their effort.
In the dying minutes Westcott got free in the box, his shot beating keeper Bowden, but again the ball found the post and not the net.
Long Melford: Wood, Waterfield, Wilson, Williamson, Durell, Thomas, Shipton, Skeggs, Westcott, Cann, Daw. Subs: Swallow (61), Biscoe (68), Barnes (85). Unused subs: Walker, Grindrod.