Saturday's local football round-up: Stoppage-time winners sees 10-man Stowmarket Town through in the FA Vase while Bury Town keep hold of top spot and Long Melford hit Hadleigh United for six
The feeling on the Stowmarket Town coach back from Hertfordshire this evening will have been hard for teams to better, having come through adversity to score a stoppage-time winner to keep them on the road to Wembley in the Buildbase FA Vase.
A 1-0 win in the Thurlow Nunn League leaders' competition entrance second round proper tie at Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division high-flyers Colney Heath with 10 men was a good welcome home present in the end for manager Rick Andrews, who returned to the dugout following a holiday.
Against a side who had won nine of their last 10 league games, things did not bode well for repeating last season's club-record equalling run to the fourth round when Dave Cowley was sent off in the 56th minute.
But Matt Blake has been in good goalscoring form since joining the club in late September, after leaving Leiston, and came up with the goods in the third minute of stoppage-time with a replay in Suffolk looming large at 0-0.
A goal in stoppage-time proved to be terminal for Mildenhall Town's 2019/20 Vase journey though with Ryan Ramsey converting for hosting Stansted at the end of the first half, with the game ending 1-0.
Mildenhall manager Ricky Cornish had been confident of progressing against a side who, like themselves, had been struggling in the lower half of their table, if they could improve in the final third of the pitch.
But that proved to be their downfall, with substitute Jack Brame passing up their best opportunity by failing to hit the target in the 69th minute from Ben Nolan's low cross.
After they ended up sharing six goals at Bloomfields, it was looked at as two points dropped for Needham Market against Stourbridge in the BetVictor Southern Premier Central.
An explosive start saw Craig Parker finish a one-on-one to put the home side ahead in the fifth minute before Kieran Morphew's header made it 2-0 with just half of the first half gone.
When eighth-placed Stourbridge had Ash Carter sent off in the 24th minute it looked like it would be a comfortable afternoon, following the midweek defeat at Royston Town.
But the visitors gave themselves something to cling on to with a goal five minutes before the interval.
Two more goals followed in the 60th and 70th minutes to go 3-2 ahead but Needham ensured they did manage to take a point from the contest with an equaliser from Parker eight minutes from time.
It sees Richard Wilkins' side drop a table in the table to 14th but still four points away from the play-off positions.
In the BetVictor Isthmian League North Division Bury Town maintained their place at the top of the standings with a 2-0 success at a Great Wakering Rovers side who had started the day in fifth.
Both of their goals came in the second half with Jake Chambers-Shaw's 76th minute strike following on from Cemal Ramadan's 62nd penalty.
It was the first time Ben Chenery's side had come up against any of the current top six sides in a league encounter this season and saw them produce their fourth straight league win, since losing at home to Tilbury.
With Maldon & Tiptree having won one of their games in hand on Tuesday, to cut the Blues' lead to two points, that is how it remained after this afternoon's games with Wayne Brown's side 3-1 in their top four clash at home to Grays Athletic.
Bury were without summer signing Jarid Robson, who despite scoring four times from eight matches since joining from Mildenhall Town, was named in Cambridge City's starting line-up today. It is believed it is a permanent transfer.
AFC Sudbury had lost four of their last five league matches, leading to manager Mark Morsley firing his entire coaching staff. But they followed up last weekend's impressive FA Trophy toppling of higher-league Harrow Borough with an important three points in a 2-1 home win against mid-table Canvey Island.
It did not come easy though with Joe Grimwood turn one point into three by poking home a corner in the 90th minute after Kane Gilbert had equalised Tom Maycock's first-half penalty in the 84th minute.
It provided a great finish for a decent crowd of 297 in what was academy duo Danny Laws and Dave Cannon's first league game in the dugout alongside Morsley.
The result sees Sudbury move three places up the table to 13th and in doing so leapfrogging their opponents.
Soham Town Rangers' Sam Mulready struck late to rescue his side a point at bottom side Romford in a 3-3 draw.
The Greens had been on a fine recent run, including dumping higher-league side St Ives Town out of the FA Trophy in Tuesday's replay, but they had to come back from being 1-0 down at half-time this afternoon.
Tom Newman (48') got them back on level terms but the visitors scored the next two goals. Cameron Watson's 70th minute strike got them within a goal before Mulready, who scored his 50th goal for the club in the week, came up with an important strike in the 88th minute.
It was then backs-to-the-wall in stoppage time after Callum Russell received his marching orders for a second yellow card, but Robbie Mason's side held on for the point which sees them end the day in 11th.
In the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division five second-half goals saw Long Melford make it five straight league wins and six in all competitions as they compounded Hadleigh United's woes with a 6-1 victory at their Stoneylands base.
After a bright start, Melford took the lead in the 15th minute with Jamie Griffiths' low shot from the edge of the penalty area wrong-footing Nick Punter via a heavy deflection off player-coach Danny Smy.
Hadleigh, who had gone into the game third from bottom, had started the second period well before the referee awarded Melford a penalty after goalkeeper Punter was adjudged to have brought down Tom Blackwell. Will Wingfield sent him the wrong way from the spot to make it 2-0 in the 55th minute.
A third followed within seven minutes when Ross Waugh slid in a free kick at the far post before Gavin Van-one made it two goals in two games since signing from SIL side Achilles to reduce the deficit to 3-1.
But a goalkeeping mistake within two minutes allowed Griffiths (70') in for his second and the former Ipswich Town player claimed his hat-trick with a simple finish in stoppage time, after Dan Clark (86') had fired in a fifth.
The result saw Melford move up two places in the table to sixth while Hadleigh dropped below Walsham-le-Willows after the latter recorded a 1-1 draw at mid-table Swaffham Town thanks to Sam Peters' equaliser.
Ely City registered back-to-back wins with a 2-0 home victory against Brantham Athletic. Matty Simpson's early strike in the first half was added to after the break by Charlie Tunnell, though they remain in 15th.
Thetford Town (16th) won 3-2 for the second week running, this time at home to Haverhill Rovers (12th) to continue the feelgood factor under recently installed manager Matt Morton. The Brecklanders, who were at the foot of the table when the defender took over the reins from Danny White, are now eight points clear of the bottom spot.
In the CNetTraining Suffolk Senior Cup, Debenham LC kept their fine recent form going with a 5-2 ofBourne Vale United.
Andrew Crowe got a brace while Bradley Austin, James Watling and man-of-the-match Max Hutchings were also on target.
But Lakenheath are out following a 5-1 reverse at holders Crane Sports while last year's finalists Cornard United lost 4-0 at Old Newton United. Meanwhile, Coplestonians overcame visiting Needham Market Reserves 2-1.
In the First Division North Ryan Fuller and Charlie Webb were among the goals as Diss Town bounced back with a 3-1 home success against Sheringham to leave Jon Abbott's side sixth.
But a 0-0 home draw for Haverhill Borough with Felixstowe & Walton United Reserves was unable to move Guy Habbin's side out of the bottom two.
Halstead Town were without a game in the First Division South, while Premier Division Newmarket Town had also been on a rest weekend.
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