Saturday's local football round-up: Bury Town and Stowmarket Town win big while derby delight for Soham Town Rangers, and Mildenhall Town march on
Bury Town manager Ben Chenery's pre-match confidence in his side promotion-chasing side bouncing back from a trio of defeats at home to Suffolk rivals Felixstowe & Walton United proved to be well placed as they recorded a confident 4-1 victory.
Joe White, making a surprise start on his return back from injury, forced home from close rangein the seventh minute to give them a perfect start before top goalscorer Cemal Ramadan dispatched a 44th minute penalty to put the Blues firmly in control at half-time.
It was Ramadan who deservedly extended their advantage in the 64th minute, firing in after good work from Ross Crane before another penalty, a panenka-style chip down the middle, from substitute Emmnauel Machaya made it 4-0.
Relegation-threatened Felixstowe scored a consolation in the final minute via their own penalty, dispatched by former Needham Market and AFC Sudbury striker George Clarke.
The three points saw Bury consolidate their place in the top five, though they remain fourth.
Soham Town Rangers completed a league double over AFC Sudbury with a 1-0 victory at Julis Martin Lane which saw Robbie Mason's side move up two places in the table to 15th.
Cameron Watson scored the only goal of the game in the 49th minute to see The Greens to their first victory in four matches.
It was a second successive defeat for AFC Sudbury, following last weekend's home loss to play-off chasing Tilbury, leaving Mark Morsley's side dropping a place to 16th.
It was another disappointing afternoon at Bloomfields for Needham Market who lost 3-1 at home to mid-table Nuneaton Borough in the BetVictor Southern Premier Central to keep them in15th place.
The Marketmen were 2-0 down before recent addition Billy Hunt struck on the stroke of half-time.
But it proved to be a false dawn with the only goal of the second half seeing the visitors find a third in added time.
In the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, a ruthless display from leaders Stowmarket Town saw them record a 7-1 victory over Ely City at their Greens Meadow base to extend their lead at the summit to 13 points.
Christy Finch put the hosts into the lead within 13 seconds with a low finish before a second goal followed within five minutes from top goalscorer Josh Mayhew.
The same player added his second and 27th of the season by converting a corner in the 20th minute before taking just six more minutes to complete his hat-trick via another header.
But worryingly, with their FA Vase last 16 tie at Wroxham looming, Mayhew was withdrawn with injury in the 37th minute.
A Jack Ainsley penalty made it 5-0 before half-time before Ely's Harry McGregor pulled one back for the visitors in the 61st minute with a fine curling effort.
But it only served to drive Stowmarket to further goals, which came from Finch (67') and Leon Ottley-Gooch (87').
- Read a full report from the Stowmarket game here
- READ MORE: Quantrell back at Stowmarket after Peterborough trial
Mildenhall Town made it three wins on the spin with a 2-1 victory at home to relegation-threatened Gorleston to move up two places in the table to sixth.
Valter Rocha scored in each half to ensure Ricky Cornish's side followed up Tuesday's 6-1 home win against Thetford Town with another victory this afternoon.
Long Melford dropped a place to seventh following a 3-0 defeat at FC Clacton, meaning it is now just two wins in 10 games for Jamie Bradbury's side as their fine early season form has desserted them.
Haverhill Rovers continued their unbeaten start to life since player-manager Marc Abbott returned to the club with a 1-1 draw at Swaffham Town.
After falling behind in the first half, Rovers' pressure eventually told with Max Dinnell scoring to grab a share of the spoils.
It leaves them still in 17th but now with a seven-point gap to second-from-bottom Gorleston.
Following a 6-1 drubbing at Mildenhall four days earlier, Thetford Town would have hoped the visit of bottom-of-the-table Hadleigh United, would be the perfect opportunity to bounce back, writes Simon Staines.
But Town had to settle for a share of the points as a late equaliser from their resilient visitors saw the sides share the points in a 2-2.
Thetford started well and edged in front in the 23rd minute via Ross Bailey's delightful dipping shot from 20 yards which nestled in the right-hand corner.
But in the 35th minute the visitors drew level through debtuant Matt Hayden, who had only signed yesterday, as he seized on Nathan Clarke’s error and fired under Jamie Humphrey from close range.
Just before the interval Town went back in front with Max Melanson converting a penalty for his 10th league goal of the season after Michael Campbell was brought down by goalkeeper Nick Punter.
In contrast to a lively first half, the second period was a scrappy affair, with Hadleigh largely on top.
Hadleigh drew level in the 79th minute to claim a deserved share of the spoils when Josh Cheetham’s corner headed home from close range by an unmarked Kris Rose at the back post.
Hadleigh remain bottom but are now just a point from Gorleston, though having played two games more, while Thetford remain 15th.
Newmarket Town (3rd) had a day off, having seen their trip to Godmanchester Rovers called off on Friday.
In the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North, Lakenheath are up to third following a 4-1 win at AFC Sudbury Reserves to continue Jamie De Souza's wait for a win.
Shaun Avis scored twice while Kelvin Enaro and an own goal accounted for Heath's tally.
Diss Town, who had signed an experienced defender prior to this weekend's game, dropped a place in the table to eighth an embarrassing 6-1 defeat at mid-table Fakenham Town.
Ryan Fuller had brought them level at 1-1 in the 54th minute before The Tangerines capitulated.
Haverhill Borough (15th) enjoyed a pleasing afternoon at The New Croft as Guy Habbin's side recorded a 3-1 victory over Framlingham Town (16th).
Framlingham had taken the lead but Ryan Phillips equalised before former professional Dan Gleeson put the home side into the lead.
With The Castlemen being reduced to 10 men, Tom Thulborn wrapped things up from the penalty spot to continue his recent fine run in front of goal.
Debenham LC (10th) claimed a point with a 1-1 home draw against Norwich CBS, courtesy of an equaliser from Marcus Taylor, but Needham Market Reserves (11th) came away from Great Yarmouth Town having lost 3-0.
Cornard United saw their game at March Town United postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Halstead Town, who had a weekend without a fixture, finished the day in sixth place in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division South.
* For reaction to the weekend's results as well as the midweek action and a preview to the week ahead, see next week's print editions.