Weekend round-up: Melford back on top after staging comeback, while AFC Sudbury move into play-off spots
Long Melford returned to the summit of the Thurlow Nunn League First Division with a great come-from-behind point at home to second-placed Saffron Walden Town at Stoneylands on Saturday.
Jules Mumford’s side were trailing 3-0 at the break, but used the wind on their backs to great effect as they found three goals of their own in a dramatic second-half display where goalkeeper Darren Moyes was left claiming the equaliser.
“I got a touch on it and then I heard the cheers,” he said after the final whistle, with Mumford saying everyone seemed to be claiming it and he would leave it to the players to decide, with the league seemingly awarding it to Ross Waugh.
The drama unfolded in front of Melford’s biggest crowd of the season, with 207, boosted by a bumper away following from near neighbours Saffron Walden, who trail The Villagers on goal difference, but holding three games in hand.
Halstead Town are ninth after a 3-1 win at Needham Market Reserves, while AFC Sudbury Reserves (14th) drew 2-2 at home to Leiston Reserves (att: 41).
In the Premier Division, managerless Hadeligh United thrashed sorry FC Clacton 6-0 at the Millfield in front of a crowd of 104 to leave the Brettsiders, under the guidance of caretaker managers Alan Dilloway and Ian Brown, fifth — nine points off second.
Despite playing a significant amount of the second half with 10 men, following Lawrence Yiga’s two yellow cards, three points at Cheshunt moved AFC Sudbury into fifth place in Ryman League Division One North.
The Yellows, under caretaker manager Danny Laws for the final time before new management duo Jamie Gobbold and Andy Reynolds take up the reins, managed to hold on to a slender 1-0 lead given to them by Terry Rymner’s goal mid-way through the first half.
Ipswich Town saw their Sky Bet Championship promotion ambitions dented as they slipped to a 1-0 home defeat to rivals Derby County.
In a tight affair, the match was settled by former Norwich City and Beccles-born striker Chris Martin’s decisive strike after 57 minutes to see the Rams leapfrog the Tractor Boys into second place, but still leaving Town a point adrift of leaders Bournemouth.
That was after neighbours Norwich City moved to within a point of the play-off places after securing an impressive 2-1 success away at the leaders in new manager Alex Neil’s first game in charge.
Matt Ritchie put the home side ahead after 18 minutes before Gary Hooper levelled the scores after 36 minutes.
The Canaries were reduced to 10 men in the 64th minute as Jonny Howson was dismissed for a challenge on Yann Kermogant, but they were not to be denied as Cameron Jerome curled home an impressive strike with 10 minutes remaining to seal all three points.
Sudbury rugby saw their scheduled game with Clacton called off on Friday due to their opponents not having enough front row specialists available.
* For a full round-up of local sport, including match action, reaction and previews to the week ahead, as well as our Ipswich Town column, see Thursday’s Suffolk Free Press print edition.