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Saturday's local football round-up: Bury Town and Leiston suffer late FA Cup heartbreak while Needham Market and Stowmarket Town continue unbeaten starts and good wins for Soham Town Rangers, Ely City, Long Melford and Woodbridge Town





It was a big day for both Bury Town and Leiston, who were Suffolk's last non-league representatives left standings in this year's Emirates FA Cup. Ahead of their 3pm kick-offs they had been tantalisingly just 90 minutes from entering the first round proper when the likes of Ipswich Town, Sunderland and Portsmouth would enter.

But sadly, it was not to be for either with both experiencing late heartbreak in their respective fourth qualifying round ties after putting up brave fights against higher-league opponents.

In Oxfordshire, Bury Town led Banbury United, of the Southern League Premier Central, for 56 minutes before two goals in four minutes snatched away their first round proper dream in the dying embers of the match.

Bury Town players show their emotions at going out of the FA Cup after a cruel late turnaround at higher-league Banbury United Picture: Neil Dady (42843069)
Bury Town players show their emotions at going out of the FA Cup after a cruel late turnaround at higher-league Banbury United Picture: Neil Dady (42843069)

Blues boss Ben Chenery had called for his side to 'go express themselves' and not let a golden opportunity, that may never come round again, pass them by.

And his players certainly rose to those words in the first half. Captain Olly Hughes hit the post early on before putting his side ahead in the 23rd minute.

He slid the ball under the home goalkeeper from close range after a good advantage was played by the referee when Jake Chambers Shaw was tugged back just outside the penalty area.

Jake Chambers Shaw slides in Olly Hughes Bury Town's goal at Banbury United in the FA Cup Picture: Neil Dady (42843065)
Jake Chambers Shaw slides in Olly Hughes Bury Town's goal at Banbury United in the FA Cup Picture: Neil Dady (42843065)

But the 510 home supporters in the 600 all-ticket restricted Covid-19 capacity sellout at The Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium enjoyed a thrilling turnaround in the tie late in the second half.

Jack Self's stunning strike had them jumping for joy when he got them back on level terms in the 79th minute before Henry Landers' 83rd minute goal took advantage of some poor defending to break Bury's travelling fans' hearts.

There was to be no way back for Ben Chenery's side, with a strong penalty appeal on Jake Chambers Shaw turned down, for what was their sixth game in this season's competition.

But they have now exited both FA competitions in successive Saturdays, following last weekend's 1-0 loss at Loughborough Town. The do pick up £3,125 in prize money for playing in the last qualifying round of the FA Cup.

Bury Town's Jake Chambers Shaw had a penalty appeal for this challenge turned down late on at Banbury United in the FA Cup Picture: Neil Dady (42843063)
Bury Town's Jake Chambers Shaw had a penalty appeal for this challenge turned down late on at Banbury United in the FA Cup Picture: Neil Dady (42843063)

Leiston were also left wondering what could have been after eventually losing 3-2 to National League Barnet at Victory Road.

Chris Wigger and Darren Eadie's side had gone into the tie bottom of the Pitching In Isthmian League Premier Central without a win in their six games.

But they pushed a Barnet side who had been deprived of nine players and their manager due to a Covid-19 outbreak all the way.

Bury Town captain Olly Hughes fires his side into the lead at higher-league Banbury United in the FA Cup Picture: Neil Dady (42843067)
Bury Town captain Olly Hughes fires his side into the lead at higher-league Banbury United in the FA Cup Picture: Neil Dady (42843067)

Will Davies put the hosts into dreamland with a ninth minute lead, converting a cross in a breakaway from a corner before Canadian international winger Michael Petrasso replied on his debut, with a follow-up shot in the 15th minute.

But Leiston restored their lead within three minutes when Jack Connors headed into his own net from a corner.

It looked like the Suffolk side would take their advantage into the break but three minutes into four added on, they conceded a penalty from which JJ Henry converted.

Leiston came under some heavy pressure in the second half with goalkeeper Sam Donkin making some important saves while up the other end, Davies headed just over and Ollie Saunders' shot was similarly close.

They were just six minutes from taking the tie to a penalty shootout when Petrasso bundled home following a corner to put the former Football League side 3-2 up.

The visitors' young debutant keeper, Aymen Azaze, was required to pull off a good late save to deny Leiston late on.

There was a late goal that made the afternoon for a Suffolk side in Worcestershire though with Luke Ingram's 82nd minute penalty sealing a 2-1 victory for Needham Market at Avelchurch.

It ensured Kevin Horlock's newly-crowned 2019/20 Suffolk Premier Cup champions extended their unbeaten start to the season to eight matches to keep up pace with Coalville Town, who lead the table on goal difference.

The hosts had taken a seventh-minute lead but the Marketmen were not behind for long with Adam Mills' 12th minute cross finding the far corner of the net after the goalkeeper misjudged it.

The Marketmen created several good chances either side of the break so will have felt their late penalty allowed a just result to be recorded.

Jacek Zielonka scores a penalty for Lowestoft Town against Stratford Town Picture: Shirley Whitlow (42844090)
Jacek Zielonka scores a penalty for Lowestoft Town against Stratford Town Picture: Shirley Whitlow (42844090)

Elsewhere in the division, Lowestoft Town were denied a point at home to Stratford Town by an injury-time goal from Callum Powell in a 3-2 defeat.

Jamie Godbold's side, who had trailed 2-1 at the break before Kieran Higgs added to Jacek Zielonka's penalty to bring them level early in the second period, drop to 11th.

In the Pitching In Isthmian League North Division AFC Sudbury returned from a 14-day break with a 2-2 draw at home to mid-table Brentwood Town in front of a crowd of 282 at The MEL Group Stadium.

It had been a first game for new head coach Tony Kinsella following another wholesale change around manager Mark Morsley in the dugout .

All four goals came in a mad first half with Brentwood taking the lead through Andrew Freeman (24') before a Rob Swaine own goal restored parity within a minute.

A 34th minute Billy Holland penalty then completed the turnaround for the hosts but it lasted less than two minutes before Freeman struck again.

Former Bury Town player Emmanuel Machaya came on for his debut in the closing stages by the Yellows could not find a winner and had to be content with another point.

A second successive draw sees Morsley's side move up a place to 17th in the table and a further point, to two, off the bottom.

Soham Town Rangers will host AFC Sudbury on Tuesday in third place after today's 1-0 win at home to promotion-hopefuls Grays Athletic.

The Greens got their noses in front in the 37th minute when Cameron Watson headed in Declan Rodgers' curling free kick delivery across goal from the far post.

Robbie Mason's side were able to preserve their lead to make it back-to-back wins and keep the feelgood factor around the club going, following the warmly-received announcement of providing free hot meals during half-term for those children needing them.

Elsewhere in the division, Felixstowe & Walton United jumped seven places to seventh with their second victory of the campaign, 2-0 at home to previously eitght-placed Hullbridge Sports.

There were late goals for both Miles Powell (82') and Oli Canfer (90') to thank for the three points.

In the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, Canfer's former club Stowmarket Town (7th) extended their unbeaten start, but only after a 73rd minute equaliser from Jack Ainsley in a 2-2 draw at Mildenhall Town (10th).

The game at Recreation Way was only 30 seconds old when George Bugg put visiting Stow into the lead.

Stowmarket celebrate George Bugg's first minute goal at Mildenhall Town Picture: Mecha Morton
Stowmarket celebrate George Bugg's first minute goal at Mildenhall Town Picture: Mecha Morton

But Mildenhall were level in the 19th minute when James Green provided the finish after Jamie Thurlbourn's cross had been header on by Tanner Call.

The turnaround was complete just before the half-hour mark with Call doing well to set up James Hall to continue his strong start to the season.

Stowmarket ensured the hosts, who had fired five past Thetford Town on Tuesday, had to share the points though with Ainsley's cross-cum-shot going over the line after Josh Mayhew's shot had come back out off the post.

Jack Ainsley, stretching for the ball, scored Stowmarket Town's equalising goal for a point at Mildenhall Town Picture: Mecha Morton
Jack Ainsley, stretching for the ball, scored Stowmarket Town's equalising goal for a point at Mildenhall Town Picture: Mecha Morton

Including the 2019/20 coronavirus-abandoned season, it stretched Rick Andrew's side's unbeaten league run to 33 matches – having laid claim to breaking the record for the Eastern Counties League last week.

Ely City moved up to sixth as their 2-0 home victory inflicted a sixth straight league loss on Haverhill Rovers.

Luke Young fired The Robins into the lead in the 32nd minute from the penalty spot after Ryan Harnwell was fouled for his third goal in three games.

It was added to after the break by former Rovers striker Ryan Gibbs' 71st minute finish, having broken the offside trap before side-footing home.

The latest defeat leaves Marc Abbott's side one place and one point off the foot of the table with just four points taken from their opening 10 matches.

That bottom position is now occupied by Thetford Town, following the Brecklanders' 2-0 home loss to previous occupiers Long Melford.

Goals from Ben Tait and Hassan Ally secured a comfortable first victory of the season for Jamie Bradbury's Melford side at Mundford Road, reports Simon Staines.

The visitors looked sharper from the off with Jamie Griffiths firing over from a Jose Santa De La Paz pull-back and Kieran Michaels heading just over from a corner.

It was no surprise when they took the lead on 13 minutes. Both teams had slowed expecting a flag from the assistant referee that never came.

Thetford Town player-boss Matt Morton holds an on-pitch inquest with his coaching staff and chairman Nigel Armes after the 2-0 home loss to Long Melford left them bottom of the table Picture:Sean McKeon (42843608)
Thetford Town player-boss Matt Morton holds an on-pitch inquest with his coaching staff and chairman Nigel Armes after the 2-0 home loss to Long Melford left them bottom of the table Picture:Sean McKeon (42843608)

The pacey De La Paz collected the ball on the left-hand side and broke into the penalty area. His low cross was turned in at the near post by Tait.

Bruno Felguieras fired well over and then wide as Thetford had their first efforts of the afternoon but the visitors were always the more dangerous and it took a good save by Frank Gammon, Thetford’s goalkeeper, to beat away Kieran Michael’s well-struck effort from 20 yards.

As the half progressed and against the run of play, Thetford twice came close to levelling. Bond and Varela linked well on the right but Harry French could not connect cleanly with Bond’s low cross and Long Melford cleared off the line.

Long Melford's Kieran Michaels tries to win the ball back off Thetford Town's Nathan Clarke Picturte: Sean McKeon (42843613)
Long Melford's Kieran Michaels tries to win the ball back off Thetford Town's Nathan Clarke Picturte: Sean McKeon (42843613)

In the final minute of the half a fine ball from Bond found Felguieras’s run behind the visiting defence but the young Portuguese midfielder could not find a finish after rounding goalkeeper Matt Walker.

After a lively first half the game was scrappy after the restart with neither side carving out a chance of note until the 68th minute when substitute Ally scored Long Melford’s second with a simple close range finish from Griffith’s low cross.

Thetford huffed and puffed without looking like they would find a way back into the game as a resolute Long Melford defence frustrated them.

Thetford Town players show their disappointment at a 2-0 home loss to Long Melford Picture: Sean McKeon (42843610)
Thetford Town players show their disappointment at a 2-0 home loss to Long Melford Picture: Sean McKeon (42843610)

In the east-meets-west Suffolk tie at Whitton United (16th) it was visiting Walsham-le-Willows who came away with the three points from a 4-2 scoreline to move them back up to sixth.

Walsham had led 2-1 at half-time with Ryan Clark on target before two further goals, a stunning 35-yard strike from Craig Nurse (63') and a goal for Cameron Nicholls (70') had put them into a 4-1 lead.

Whitton's late consolation came from the penalty spot for George Day.

Long Melford's De La Paz battles with Thetford Town player-boss Matt Morton Picture: Mecha Morton
Long Melford's De La Paz battles with Thetford Town player-boss Matt Morton Picture: Mecha Morton

The other all-Suffolk fixture saw Woodbridge Town (17th) pick up their first victory at the ninth attempt with a 2-0 success at home to third-placed Kirkley & Pakefield.

Both goals came in the second half with Nick Ingram putting the Woodpeckers ahead before a sublime strike from more than 40-yards from defender Liam Scopes capped a memorable afternoon.

Newmarket Town (12th) were unable to build up any momentum from Tuesday's derby win at home to Haverhill Rovers as they lost 3-2 at Swaffham Town (13th).

The visiting Jockeys had seen a lead via a Dave Cowley penalty wiped out by the interval from Nick Davey's goal.

Two goals from Matty Blackford put the Peddlars into a 3-1 lead before Ross Paterson's header from Cowley's free kick set up a nervy finish for the hosts.

Norwich United extended their lead at the top of the table to five points with a 3-0 victory at Hadleigh United (5th) with all the goals coming in the second half, via Nathan Stewart, Shaun Wones and Haydn Davies.

There had been a Hadleigh debut from the start for Ellis Murrell, a full-back or midfielder who has previously had spells with Woodbridge and Stowmarket.

Elsewhere, Brantham Athletic (7th) won 2-1 at Godmanchester Rovers (15th) to continue their unbeaten start with Johnny Lee and Scott Slotts both scoring.

In the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North, Needham Market Reserves (13th) provided one of the most eye-catching results of the day, beating promotion-hopefuls Lakenheath (6th), who had previously won five of their opening six matches, 2-1.

The visitors to Bloomfields had been 1-0 up at the break courtesy of Reece Clarke's opener, before Needham's youngsters staged a comeback to take all three points. But their goalkeeper Owen Elsden drew praise on Twitter for his role in the victory.

Ipswich Wanderers (2nd) kept their unbeaten start going with 4-0 victory at home to bottom side Wisbech St Mary which included a hat-trick from Matt Blake.

Fakenham Town still lead the way at the top though by three points after a 2-0 win at Haverhill Borough to leave Guy Habbin's side second from bottom with four points from their eight matches.

Both Matty Harris and Branham Ince, from Wisbech St Mary and Ely City, had returned to Borough ahead of the fixture and included in their starting line-up.

Diss Town dropped two places to eighth after a 2-0 home loss to third-placed March Town United while there were also defeats for Debenham LC (16th) - 4-0 at Mulbarton Wanderers (5th) - and Cornard United (17th) - 2-0 at home to Downham Town (7th).

Craig Gillies leaves two Diss Town players on the floor as he scores for March Town United in their 2-0 victory at Brewers Green Lane Picture: Mark Bullimore
Craig Gillies leaves two Diss Town players on the floor as he scores for March Town United in their 2-0 victory at Brewers Green Lane Picture: Mark Bullimore

Bradley James had returned to Cornard from Little Oakley while Debenham LC had brought in defender Josh Collins from Long Melford and midfielder Tom Godfrey from Sporting 87 prior to their games.

Elsewhere, Framlingham Town remained ninth saw seeing a 3-1 slip to a 3-3 draw at home to Norwich CBS (15th).

Goals from Joe Berry and Danny Smith had sent Liam Abraham's side into a 2-1 lead at half-time with Danny Smith having then extended their advantage before they shipped two goals to be left with a point.

Craig Gillies celebrates scoring for March Town United at Diss Town Picture: Mark Bullimore
Craig Gillies celebrates scoring for March Town United at Diss Town Picture: Mark Bullimore

Last night, Leiston Reserves picked up a 2-1 win at Great Yarmouth Town to put them up to fourth with six wins from their opening nine matches, which is where the remained after today's results.

Finally, in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division South, Halstead Town were not in action but dropped from 15th to x-x. Their next fixture is not until a week today, at home to Harwich & Parkeston (3pm).