Long Melford boss Jamie Bradbury feels new goalkeeper Matt Walker adds a missing dimension to his backline following win over Wroxham
Goalkeeper Matt Walker made the perfect start to his Long Melford tenure – with a clean sheet to deny high-flying Wroxham in an impressive 1-0 home victory on Saturday.
Manager Jamie Bradbury admitted he was a player they had been trying to prize away from higher-league Coggeshall Town in the summer to replace Michael Betts, with the teenager having departed to Witham Town.
Having now got him on a dual registration deal he believes it adds an important new dimension to his squad, who have been suffering from inconsistent results at the start of the new Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division term.
“We tried to speak to Matt in pre-season but he was wanting to stay with Coggeshall,” said Bradbury.
“He is number two there so they let us know there would be an opportunity to bring him in on loan and it was just an area of the squad we needed to strengthen a bit.
“We had been conceding a lot of goals and that was not just down to the goalkeeper but more the way we had been defending as a team.
“We wanted to try something a bit different and Matt, who is a good lad, came in on Saturday and gave us a voice at the back which was something we lacked. He is a good addition to the squad as we had no competition for Ben (Devlin) and hopefully it can help him too.”
Devlin, who came in over the summer having re-located from Australia, had kept guard of the posts in 12 of Melford’s previous 13 games, with coach Darren Moyes making the other appearance.
It came after things had not worked out as expected with Spanish goalkeeper Cristian Prada and his compatriot Moha Benzoura, with both returning to their homeland without making a competitive appearance.
Saturday’s victory was Melford’s sixth win of the season and arguably their best so far, defeating an in-form Wroxham side who started the day in third place.
In the even opening exchanges captain Stephen Adams had the best chance for Melford but could not get a goalmouth scramble past covering bodies on the line.
Walker stood tall to deny Wroxham what looked a certain goal just before the break.
The second half continued in the same style as the first, with both teams matching each other until a moment of magic from Long Melford’s number 10 Jamie Griffiths.
Dan Swain provided a lovely ball over the Wroxham defence, with the former Ipswich Town professional taking it on his chest before volleying it into the top corner of the net.
Melford then stood firm, and never looked in any real danger of conceding the equaliser.
“It was a solid performance from us, as we have been putting in a lot recently, but this time we were just able to find the winning formula,” said Bradbury who is hoping they can now use it as a springboard in the league ahead of visiting fellow slow starters Walsham-le-Willows on Saturday (3pm).
Saturday’s result completed two wins in four days after their 4-0 defeat at Kirkley & Pakefield. Last Wednesday they got their defence of the Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup off to a pleasing start with a 4-2 home victory against Hadleigh United.
Wednesday coming sees Melford hosting current leaders Stowmarket Town in the Suffolk Premier Cup (7.45pm).