Mildenhall Town hit Walsham-le-Willows for five to extend unbeaten run at Summer Road
Walsham-le-Willows’ wait for a home Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division victory over Mildenhall Town goes on after tonight’s demolition job by the visitors at the Moorish Sports Ground.
Phil Weavers – in just his second game as permanent manager – will have been delighted with the way his Mildenhall side put their opposition to the sword, particularly after Saturday's season opener at home with Norwich United ended goal-less.
They ran out 5-1 winners, and in doing so extended their unbeaten run at their opponents’ Summer Road base to nine matches – a sequence that dates back to April 2011 when Olly Hughes helped himself to a couple of goals in a 3-2 Walsham triumph.
The purist will not look back on the first 45 minutes with any degree of fondness, yet that will not be of any concern to those of a Mildenhall persuasion. Cohesive attacking play was in short supply with too many passes being over or under hit.
However, the brief moments that punctuated the norm predominantly belonged to the visitors. There was 20 minutes on the clock when Tanner Call’s mis-hit volley looped up awkwardly and forced home goalkeeper Dan Stobbart to tip the ball over, while in Mildenhall’s next attack of note skipper Luke Butcher’s downward header was hacked to safety by Karl Saffrey.
To say that the opening goal was coming would be an exaggeration, yet if anyone was going to break the deadlock it looked like being Mildenhall. And they did just that in the 35th minute when Tommy Robinson’s progress inside the box was illegally halted and George Bugg stepped up to bury the resultant penalty, although Stobbart did get a firm hand to the ball.
Soon after up the other end Jed Wigley had Walsham’s first meaningful strike at goal with an effort from distance that stung the palms of Josh Pope, but despite that having provided them with a foothold in the game, they went into the break two goals behind.
Just a matter of seconds before the referee blew for half-time Robinson’s right-wing corner was met by Kieran Twinn, who having been Walsham’s second highest goalscorer last term, thundered a header beyond Stobbart.
If the first half lacked the sort of action to get people out of their seats, the same accusation could not be aimed at proceedings after the restart.
In the 50th minute it seemed that Mildenhall had ended the match as a contest when a swift counter-attack ended with Tanner Call bending an effort from the edge of the box into the top corner.
However, within 60 seconds the home side pulled a goal back via Jamie Smith as the striker showed all the composure that delivered him more than 20 goals last season.
In Walsham’s very next attack Oliver McKenzie-Vince thrashed a shot into the side netting when it seemed that going across the face of goal was the more favourable option when it came to beating Pope. And it proved to be a costly moment because in the 54th minute Mildenhall restored their three-goal advantage.
Twinn scored 12 times for Walsham in 2021/22 and his second of the night against them came in somewhat strange circumstances as he lost his balance and was on his way to hitting the floor, but he still somehow managed to generate enough power to turn in Bugg’s pass from a few yards out.
Goal number five arrived in the 65th minute courtesy of playmaker Robinson, who turned scorer after chalking up a couple of assists. Walsham failed to clear Bugg’s low cross from the right and after gaining possession Mildenhall’s attacking midfielder fired in from a narrowing angle.
Unsurprisingly the game petered out thereafter with both teams accepting their respective fates.
There was still the odd bright moment, such as when Mildenhall substitute Kushinga Benyu worked Stobbart with a rising effort, yet all in all it was a job well done by Weavers’ men.
Walsham: Stobbart, Harvey, Miller, Saffrey, Wigley, Hubbard (Clayton-Leek 55'), McKenzie-Vince (Keylock 55'), Chaplin, Smith, Glover (Cooper 60'), Nicholls (Hogg 76')
Mildenhall: Pope, Capel, Coakley, Butcher, Hastings, Steed, Underwood (Hamer 76'), Robinson (Cartner 70') Twinn, Bugg (Benyu 70') Call
Suffolk News Man of the Match – Alex Steed (Mildenhall): He may not have been among the goals but Steed played a crucial role in the win. Made numerous challenges and also started a number of attacks with good composure on the ball, seeking out a pass rather than hacking the ball clear.