Mildenhall Town edge out Long Melford to move up to third in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division
It is not one that will perhaps live too long in the memory from a Mildenhall Town perspective, but tonight’s 2-1 home win over Long Melford could prove to be crucial in their bid to finish within the higher echelons of this season's Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.
There was just five minutes on the clock when Ricky Cornish's men broke the deadlock. Scott Chaplin won the ball high up the pitch, squared a pass for Tanner Call and after taking a couple of touches he buried his low shot inside the far post.
James Hall then headed wide when well placed in the ninth minute, but Melford had actually started the game brightly and were rewarded with a 16th-minute equaliser.
Playing wide on the right, Jamie Griffiths jinked inside and from around 25 yards out he unleashed a low left footed shot that flew in off Louis Johnson's upright.
Melford remained a threat on the counter for the rest of the half, but it was Mildenhall that carved out the better of the chances.
Call flashed a back-post volley wide of the target in the 35th minute from a Ben Nolan cross and three minutes later Phil Weavers’ right footed effort from the edge of the box bobbled wide.
And right on half-time skipper Luke Butcher got up above his marker to meet Weavers’ right-wing free kick, but Dion-Curtis Henry got down well to make the stop.
It was front foot stuff again from the home team at the start of the second half – and only some good reflexes from Henry to tip Nolan’s shot on to the crossbar in the 50th minute kept the scoreline level.
However, just two minutes later the jeopardy that comes with being a goalkeeper was laid bare for all to see. Mildenhall substitute Natty Stewart had only been on the pitch for 60 seconds when he turned on Charlie Hitch’s slide rule pass and made hay towards the box. It was not the cleanest of strikes when he eventually pulled the trigger, but the ball squirmed underneath Henry and trickled in.
Mildenhall were now dominant where the possession was concerned, yet with 20 minutes remaining they were given a clear reminder of the threat Melford posed when Griffiths glanced a header from Jacob Brown’s cross against the crossbar.
Meanwhile, up the other end the chances started to flow in the closing stages and normal service was resumed by Henry when he saved three shots in a matter of seconds in the 81st minute. First Weavers’ attempt from distance was kept out, then the rebound from Nolan and Hall’s follow up.
And that was it in terms of clear cut openings as the hosts won through to stretch their good run of league form to just one defeat in 10 games, seven of which have been won.
As for Melford, they remain two points above the relegation zone, with the wait for a first victory since October 13 continuing.
Mildenhall: Johnson, Hitch, Butcher, Ruddy, Coakley, Weavers, Steed, Chaplin (Walters 32'), Call (Stewart 50'), Hall (Brown 82), Nolan
Long Melford: Henry, Smith, Wingfield, Lopez (Delaune 82'), Benham, Jackson, Judge, Brown, Griffiths, Lorimer, Day (Ally 69')
Suffolk News Man of the Match – Luke Butcher (Mildenhall): The home side's skipper defended well throughout, made a number of crucial clearances and always looked to keep hold of possession whenever possible.