Christian Appleford gets the right response from his Hadleigh United side with victory over Thurlow Nunn League basement side Framlingham Town
There was no attitude needing to be questioned as Hadleigh United’s players scored three first-half goals against basement side Framlingham Town to take a big stride towards securing their Step 5 status for another season.
Despite the home goal coming under a fair amount of pressure during the second half of Saturday’s 3-1 win, Hadleigh managed not to concede a second goal which would have been needed to reignite the key Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division game as a contest.
Christian Appleford had blasted his players for their attitudes being wrong in the immediate aftermath of the 2-1 defeat at fellow strugglers Ely City the previous week, but he was left praising his side after they maintained their six point and three place gap to the bottom two with eight games to play.
“I was very pleased to get the points and that was obviously the main objective today,” he said.
“I think we scored three good goals today. I was disappointed with the goal we conceded but actually it was good to score in the way we did.
“Second half, while the game wasn’t full of efficient and fluent football, what was pleasing for me was we managed the game.”
New signings Darcy De’ath and Mekhi McKenzie, on dual registration and loan from parent clubs Felixstowe & Walton United and AFC Sudbury respectively, both came in for their debuts while Kyle Cassell came back into the starting line-up. Kyle Ferguson and Tom Driscoll dropped to the bench while Dan Knight was not available.
With a litany of defensive mistakes from Framlingham – 10 points adrift at the bottom and 13 points from Hadleigh’s total at the start of the day – in the first 45 minutes it looked like a repeat of the 7-2 thrashing when the sides met in Appleford’s first game in charge a month ago could be on the cards again.
After Romario Dunne sent an early free-kick over the crossbar the hosts broke the deadlock in the 15th minute when a De’ath trademark long throw was not properly cleared and came out to Kris Rose whose cross was only looped up to the back post by a defender for Kyron Andrews to head home.
Danny Smith sent a rasping effort from range whistling just over the bar for the visitors before a mix-up at the back saw ‘keeper Gary Rose come out to head a long ball straight into the path of Cassell, who measured his chip well over his head and into the net to double Hadleigh’s lead in the 21st minute.
Michael Barwick should have made it 3-0 but produced a weak effort before Rose tipped over Cassell’s fierce effort.
Cyrus Thorpe gave Framlingham hope when he headed in a Mason Ransome corner in the 40th minute, but it was snuffed out five minutes later when Mekhi McKenzie tapped in Cassell’s low cross after Andrews’ smart pass dissected the centre-backs.
The second half was a scrappy affair but saw Framlingham dominate the goalmouth action without being able to fire the game back into life with a second goal.
Charlie Smith sent a fizzing effort wide while Brooks had a shot blocked with the goalkeeper stranded and Anthony Johnson headed over from a corner.
Rose was called upon in the last 10 minutes though to tip over a Ferguson header.
Appleford said he was pleased to see McKenzie get off the mark on his debut while ‘I knew what I was going to get from Darcy’.
He also felt McKenzie’s introduction shows how he can now get the best out of Dunne in a deeper number 10 role.
“It is one thing I have wanted to do but I have never had a real nine until Kie has arrived today and it has allowed me to do that. And that is possibly Romario Dunne’s best game for me.”
Hadleigh now begin a run of five away games, starting with a trip to mid-table FC Clacton on Saturday (3pm) with Appleford warning his players the survival mission is not yet complete.
“I am certainly not a manager to rest on my laurels and I want to finish as high as I can in this league,” he said.
“Yes, of course, it is the main objective to stay up; it is not mathematically certain yet, so no, it is not job done. But for me it is about making sure that happens and seeing where we can go.
“We have loads more to play for. I do genuinely think there is going to be a twist or turn, whether it is Ely, Melford or Yarmouth, someone is going to go on a run, so we have to make sure we have enough points ourselves to make sure they don’t jump above us.”
And playing a run of away games that will also take them to four top 10 sides, including current third-placed Godmanchester Rovers and leaders Histon, is not something that he sees as a block to continuing to pick up plenty of points.
“For me away from home it might actually be a bit more suited to how we are set up and the style and types of player I have got,” he said.
Hadleigh: Punter, Elliott, Ross, Barwick, De’ath, Rose (c), Cassell, Harvey (Driscoll 85’), McKenzie, Dunne (Crisp 90+3’), Andrews (Ferguson 74’). Not used: Howlett, Lawrence.
Free Press Man of the Match: Kris Rose - a captain’s performance. Headed everthing away but also set up first goal and put some good balls into the box.
We are quite good on the counter-attack and we are quite strong. If we can make sure we have got the game structure right and the game plan then, actually, I don’t mind where we play as we will give teams problems on our day.”
Tanner Call: “He has been dual registered for three weeks but we have just not said it as he has not been fit.” (not trained). couple of injuries, including ankle.
: “I genuinely know Tanner is nowhere near fit and he is struggling. He has had a couple of minutes recently but I think it was more a case of them needing a body than him being fit to play. Hopefully we will see Tanner in a Hadleigh shirt before the end of the season but obviously his injury and circumstances there will dictate.”
“I am happy with the firepower I have got. Obviously it would be nice to have Tanner involved as he is a quality player, but with Mekhi and Kyle and Kyron and that.”
“Unfortunately I had one lined up that isn’t going to happen this season because they actually got quite a bad injury literally a week before they were going to join us and it was all set up and happening but then I spoke to their club and hear they had got injured, so that is going to be next season which is a shame. But maybe, I will always have a look around and if there is someone quality and a player who fits in the budget then I will look at that for sure. There is still a few weeks before we can stop signing on players so I will be on the phone as I always do.”
video Analysis. TV up in dressing room.
Kieron Turner back (head injury)
, playing a bit deeper. He is fine. He has played in the 10 and been really effective today.
“It is great to have Kieron back, so we have some good competition now.”