THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Hadleigh United 1
Long Melford 0
Jules Mumford is hoping his high-flying Long Melford side can keep racking up the wins as they target a high finish in their first season at step five.
The Villagers cemented fifth place in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division table with a 1-0 win at local rivals Hadleigh United on Saturday.
And ahead of their home clash with Brantham Athletic at Stoneylands on Saturday (3pm), Mumford has said his side will not be resting on their laurels as they aim to finish as high as possible.
“We’re in fifth place and we’re really pleased with that,” the Melford boss said. “We’ve still got to play Norwich United and Godmanchester Rovers, so we just want to keep winning and keep the pressure on the top four.
“Kirkley and Pakefield who are below us have got a few games in hand, but we’ve got to keep going.”
Ahead of this weekend’s clash with the Imps, Mumford has bolstered his squad with the signing of attacking midfielder Alfie Bedingham.
The 19-year-old joins from lower league Team Bury, but has also featured for Bury Town in the Ryman League in the last few seasons.
“He’s an exciting player going forward,” Mumford said. “He’ll give us healthy competition in the squad and it just keeps all the boys honest.
“Alfie will bring good balance and his arrival will make sure there’s no complacency in the squad.”
A windswept encounter at the Millfield on Saturday was decided by a Ross Waugh goal 10 minutes before the end.
Melford had the wind on their backs in the first-half and, after 12 minutes, a Jamie Griffiths free-kick was splendidly held by Ben Nower driving to his left.
Scott Yearling netted for the visitors but the whistle had gone for an infringement seconds earlier and the effort was disallowed.
Melford keeper Sam Mansfield, injured earlier in a collision with David Lorimer, was replaced by Darren Moyes in the 33rd minute.
A wind-assisted free-kick from Cori Guyon was tipped over the bar by Nower.
Hadleigh supporters were expecting more from the Brettsiders with wind advantage in the second period and a goal for the home side looked certain as Lorimer let fly with a volley, but the ball rebounded from the crossbar.
Lorimer headed narrowly wide but Melford were playing better against the wind as Nower made a smart one-handed save after 70 minutes.
The goal came 10 minutes later when Griffiths delivered a corner from the right and Waugh netted from close range, before Hadleigh were reduced to 10 men in stoppage time when skipper Kris Rose received a straight red card for an over-zealous challenge.
n Hadleigh United will look to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat to Melford when they host Haverhill Rovers tomorrow night (7.45pm).
The Brettsiders have lost their last three games to slip down to ninth, and are on the road next week when they visit Ipswich Wanderers on Wednesday (7.45pm).
n In the First Division, fifth place Halstead Town aim to get their promotion bid back on track when they host Diss Town on Saturday (3pm).
Mark Benterman’s side were narrowly beaten 3-2 by league leaders Wivenhoe Town last Friday, and are eight points adrift of the top three.
n Elsewhere in the First Division, Cornard United (17th) entertain Woodbridge Town on Saturday (3pm) and AFC Sudbury Reserves visit Wivenhoe on Friday (7.45pm).
The Ards lost 1-0 to Leiston Reserves at the weekend, but are still nine points clear of the bottom.