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FA league allocations sees relegation reprieves for Long Melford, Cornard United and Haverhill Borough but Needham Market remain in Southern League with Leiston



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There are set to be a trio of relegation reprieves and four lateral league transfers for clubs falling under SuffolkNews' footprint, as well as at least one controversial non-transfer.

The Football Association has this evening published the National League System (NLS) club allocations for Steps 3-6 for the 2022/23 season, subject to FA Council ratification.

The allocations follow the completion of the recent Inter-Step and league play-offs at Steps 3 to 6 of the NLS.

Long Melford players are celebrating the news they will be remaining at Step 5 of the National League System following being handed a relegation reprieve Picture: Mecha Morton
Long Melford players are celebrating the news they will be remaining at Step 5 of the National League System following being handed a relegation reprieve Picture: Mecha Morton

With the season at Steps 1&2 yet to complete, those allocations are set to be confirmed in due course.

Long Melfordwho announced a new managerial appointment yesterday – finished second from bottom in the relegation zone of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division but will remain at Step 5 next season as they hoped, thanks to a reprieve.

Ipswich Wanderers – who were promoted as champions of the Thurlow Nunn League First Division South – will join the division alongside Harleston Town – who went up after winning their First North Division play-off final.

Play-off winners Halstead Town will not be playing within the Thurlow Nunn League in 2022/23 but look set to face the side they defeated in the promotion shootout, bizarrely Picture: Russell Claydon
Play-off winners Halstead Town will not be playing within the Thurlow Nunn League in 2022/23 but look set to face the side they defeated in the promotion shootout, bizarrely Picture: Russell Claydon

Soham Town Rangers will also make up the Premier Division's line-up for 2022/23 having been relegated as the second bottom finishing side in the Northern Premier League Midlands Division.

The final change to the Premier Division – which remains as 20 teams – is Sheringham who were promoted as champions of the First North Division.

But Halstead Town – winners of the First Division South play-offs – have been allocated a place in the 20-team corresponding Essex Senior League Premier Division alongside the team they knocked out of the final, second-placed Buckhurst Hill. It is not clear if the latter is an error with the club having not yet used their Twitter account to communicate any news over it.

Relegated sides Barking and Romford will also move into Halstead's new league.

Suffolk Premier Cup winners Needham Market are staying put in their current division along with fellow county finalists Leiston Picture: Amy Gilson
Suffolk Premier Cup winners Needham Market are staying put in their current division along with fellow county finalists Leiston Picture: Amy Gilson

There is a switch over the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North for AFC Sudbury, Cornard United and Haverhill Borough. The latter two finished in what had been referred to as positions 'liable for relegation' in the bottom three of the South but have been reprieved and given lateral transfers.

The First Division North they are moving across into 18 teams for 22/23, up from 16, with Heacham the only side promoted into it and Holbeach United and Swaffham Town as relegated sides. Their previous division had 20 teams but will run next season with 21.

Up at Step 4 it is as you were for our Suffolk sides with the exception of relegated Lowestoft Town joining the Pitching In Isthmian League North Division. It means The Trawlerboys, managed by former AFC Sudbury boss Jamie Godbold, will have derby matches with AFC Sudbury, Bury Town and play-off losing pair Felixstowe & Walton United and Stowmarket Town.

At Step 3 there was hope from some Needham Market fans and players that they would receive a lateral transfer out of the largely Midlands-based Pitching In Southern League Premier Central to the Isthmian League Premier.

But those hopes have been dashed today as along with fellow Suffolk side Leiston they will remain in the league which will see them travel to the likes of Stourbridge, Stratford Town and Redditch United.

Soham Town Rangers will be a new face in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division next term following relegation. Pictured is players with One Brokers' Carly Nineham and Shaun Lenton in front of the company's board at Julius Martin Lane
Soham Town Rangers will be a new face in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division next term following relegation. Pictured is players with One Brokers' Carly Nineham and Shaun Lenton in front of the company's board at Julius Martin Lane

* The full list of club allocations for the 2022-23 season covering Steps 3-6 can be downloaded via this page.