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Saturday's local football round-up: Stowmarket Town keep unbeaten run going while Needham Market Reserves hit six and Cornard United record impressive away win




The opening day of the Thurlow Nunn League season was as notable for the games not taking place as those that did.

Suspected Covid-19 cases in the camps of Walsham-le-Willows, Newmarket Town and Mildenhall Town saw six Premier Division side unable to take to the pitch for their opening fixtures against Godmanchester Rovers, Wroxham and Woodbridge Town today.

In the case of Newmarket the club revealed through their Twitter account this morning that it had been a false alarm which they apologised for, with the player's test result coming back negative. Unlike the FA Cup, where clubs have to forfeit ties, the league games will be rearranged.

Debenham, Suffolk, 05/09/2020..Football action from Debenham LC vs Fakenham Town FC - Will Aldis..Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (41983169)
Debenham, Suffolk, 05/09/2020..Football action from Debenham LC vs Fakenham Town FC - Will Aldis..Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (41983169)

It was business as usual involving the other fixtures across the three divisions of the Eastern Counties League through as sides look to fufil their pre-season promise with three points at the first time of asking.

In the Premier Division Stowmarket Town, who had been 15 points clear at the top when football was halted in March, were able to extend their unbeaten league run to 32 matches with a 1-0 home win over Gorleston.

Christy Finch proved to be the match winner against the side who had been bottom in March's table, before the season was null and voided by the Football Association.

HALSTEAD: Football - Halstead Town v Newham Athletic.Halstead Town Football Club, Rosemary Ln, Halstead Jack Cherry captain makes a good save..Picture by Mark Westley. (41984609)
HALSTEAD: Football - Halstead Town v Newham Athletic.Halstead Town Football Club, Rosemary Ln, Halstead Jack Cherry captain makes a good save..Picture by Mark Westley. (41984609)

The former Leiston striker struck in the 42nd minute, punishing a mistake at the back to force the breakthrough at a crucial time in the match which saw fellow striker Charlie Clarke make his competitive debut.

The Old Gold & Blacks were not able to add to that scoreline but ensured the goal was enough for all three points, to make it two wins from two in 2020/21, following Tuesday's 2-1 victory over Rothwell Corinthians in the FA Cup.

Haverhill Rovers also had an enjoyable night in the FA Cup in midweek but were soundly beaten 3-0 at FC Clacton, leaving them to look to bounce back in Tuesday's home game with Godmanchester Rovers.

Clacton were deservedly 2-0 up at the Austin Arena by half-time through goals from Chris Ribchester (16') and Charlie Thompson (37'). The lead was extended in the 67th minute by former AFC Sudbury striker Mekhi McKenzie.

It was a second home defeat in four days for Christian Appleford's Hadleigh United as they followed up a 4-3 reverse to Mildenhall Town in the FA Cup with a 1-0 league loss to Kirkley & Pakefield.

The only goal of the game at the Millfield came within a minute of the second half starting via striker Dean Conroy.

Hadleigh substitute Kyle Cassell had a good chance to salvage a point late on but fired well over.

HALSTEAD: Football - Halstead Town v Newham Athletic.Halstead Town Football Club, Rosemary Ln, Halstead Jordan Pavett Scores for Halstead..Picture by Mark Westley. (41984612)
HALSTEAD: Football - Halstead Town v Newham Athletic.Halstead Town Football Club, Rosemary Ln, Halstead Jordan Pavett Scores for Halstead..Picture by Mark Westley. (41984612)

Long Melford had battled back with 10 men to win their FA Cup tie on Tuesday but lost a seven-goal thriller 4-3 at home to Norwich United.

A slow start ultimately cost the Villagers who were 2-0 inside 25 minutes.

HALSTEAD: Football - Halstead Town v Newham Athletic.Halstead Town Football Club, Rosemary Ln, Halstead Jordan Pavett Scores for Halstead..Picture by Mark Westley. (41984613)
HALSTEAD: Football - Halstead Town v Newham Athletic.Halstead Town Football Club, Rosemary Ln, Halstead Jordan Pavett Scores for Halstead..Picture by Mark Westley. (41984613)

A penalty after 14 minutes for a foul in the box saw former AFC Sudbury man Matty Daniels convert while Sam Watts prodded home from a corner to double their advantage a little over 10 minutes later.

But Melford got a lifeline back into the game in the 38th minute when Ben Tait was pushed over in the box, and Nathan Rowe converted from the penalty spot.

The second half was a entirely different affair with Melford going up a gear in their play and they equalised in the 52nd minute when a poor back pass was not cleared properly by the goalkeeper and Jacob Brown found the net.

Callum Hemson fired Melford into a 3-2 lead within five minutes of their leveller after cuttingin from the right.

Norwich were not finished however, and a long ball from midfield evaded the Melford defence in the 65th minute and Nathan Stewart nipped in to slot past Matt Walker.

It was heartbreak for Melford on 78 minutes when a defensive mistake proved costly as it led to Andrew Eastaugh nicking the ball, breaking into the box and stabbing into the net.

Despite some last minute efforts Melford were unable to rescue any of the points.

Debenham, Suffolk, 05/09/2020..Football action from Debenham LC vs Fakenham Town FC - Jamie Cole..Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (41983235)
Debenham, Suffolk, 05/09/2020..Football action from Debenham LC vs Fakenham Town FC - Jamie Cole..Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (41983235)

The goal-laden match at Stoneylands was in stark contrast to Ely City's goalless draw at Stanway Rovers, which saw The Robins pick up a useful point to a game which saw them finish well.

It was a disappointing day for Thetford Town though who went down to a 3-1 defeat at Whitton United.

The Brecklanders ultimately paid the price for a slow start to the game with Whitton 2-0 up within seven minutes of the match starting.

Thetford did recover with Jack Brame prodding in the 14th minute but Whitton found the killer third goal with a 30-yard free kick in the 82nd minute to complete former Bury Town man Remi Garrett's hat-trick.

Elsewhere in the division there was an opening day win for Brantham Athletic who recorded a 3-1 scoreline at Swaffham Town.

Debenham, Suffolk, 05/09/2020..Football action from Debenham LC vs Fakenham Town FC - Will Seccombe..Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (41983240)
Debenham, Suffolk, 05/09/2020..Football action from Debenham LC vs Fakenham Town FC - Will Seccombe..Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (41983240)

In the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North Needham Market Reserves were the day's outright top scorers with a 6-2 success at Wisbech St Mary.

The young Needham Market side led 3-1 at half-time, adding a further three goals thereafter.

Ahead of their season opener at Norwich CBS, Cornard United boss Tom Clark had laid out a bold target of getting the Ards promoted .

And his side did not let him down at a side who had occupied a top six spot in March, coming away with a 2-1 victory.

Framlingham Town also tasted an away victory, winning 1-0 at King's Lynn Town Reserves via Joe Berry's 53rd minute strike.

A last-minute winner for promotion-chasing Lakenheath claim all three points at Sheringham via a 2-1 scoreline.

New signing Alex McIntosh provided the magic goal at the death to make it a memorable competitive debut for the former Diss Town player.

It came after Ben Cowling's side had to respond to going behind to a fifth minute long-range effort.

But it was another new signing who made his mark for the equaliser with former Haverhill Borough striker Tom Thulborn opening his Heath account.

Michael King's first league game in charge of Diss Town ended in an away defeat, 2-1 at Leiston Reserves.

Debenham, Suffolk, 05/09/2020..Football action from Debenham LC vs Fakenham Town FC - Matt Aldis..Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (41983239)
Debenham, Suffolk, 05/09/2020..Football action from Debenham LC vs Fakenham Town FC - Matt Aldis..Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (41983239)

The Tangerines found themselves 2-0 down with half-an-hour before Keiran Hagan, who rejoined the club over the summer, pulled one back.

But they came under heavy pressure in the second half with goalkeeper Adam Rix having to make a number of fine saves.

Elsewhere in the division there were home defeats for Debenham LC, who lost 2-0 to Fakenham Town, and Haverhill Borough, 1-0 against Downham Town.

Ipswich Wanderers did get off to a winning start on home soil though, 2-1 against Mulbarton Wanderers, which was the same scoreline March Town United beat visiting Great Yarmouth Town by.

In the Thurlow Nunn League First Division South, Halstead Town drew 1-1 at home to Athletic Newman as their first half lead from Jordan Pavett's close-range finish was cancelled out soon after the interval.

You can read a full match report from the Halstead game here .