Saturday's local football round-up: Mildenhall Town play out entertaining draw in the Bostik League North Division while Stowmarket Town make up ground on the leaders in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division
Ricky Cornish's first home game in charge of Mildenhall Town this afternoon proved to be an entertaining one as his new side played out a 3-3 draw with Felixstowe & Walton United in the Bostik League North Division.
The hosts fell behind early on at Recreation Way and lost their captain Luke Butcher soon after to a neck injury, but they battled back and twice got their noses in front, only for the visiting Seasiders to respond on both occasions to salvage a share of the spoils.
It was Miles Powell who broke the deadlock for Felixstowe in the seventh minute, turning the ball in from close range. However, it was a lead that lasted just three minutes as Mildenhall's Tom Debenham fired in his seventh goal of the season and his first since September 29.
A counter-attack goal courtesy of Evans Kouassi put Mildenhall in front for the first time in the 41st minute, but the away team were level just a matter of seconds before the break when skipper Rhys Barber's header proved to be too powerful for home goalkeeper Blake Horton.
Some smart control and an equally impressive finish from Jarid Robson restored Mildenhall's lead four minutes after the restart, yet any hopes of that being enough to land Cornish his first three points as manager were dashed when Joe Bloomfield calmly swept in from the edge of the box with 66 minutes on the clock.
Nevertheless, while the result halted Mildenhall's run of two straight defeats, it was not enough to stop them from dropping down a place to 18th after neighbours Soham Town Rangers leapfrogged them.
The Greens had travelled to second-from-bottom Dereham Town rooted to the foot of the table, but they now sit 17th thanks to Callum Russell's second goal of the season in the 46th minute.
It means Robbie Mason's men have put two points between themselves and the relegation zone, while Mildenhall are a point worse off. Both will drop a place, though, if Romford (19th) manage to get the better of Grays Athletic on New Year's Day.
Meanwhile, Needham Market are up to sixth and are only being kept out of the Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central play-offs on goal difference following their 2-1 triumph at Hitchin.
The Marketmen put eight past their opponents during August's reverse fixture but it was a much closer affair on this occasion as goals from captain Gareth Heath and Joe Marsden secured all three points for Richard Wilkins' men.
In the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, fifth-placed Walsham-le-Willows became the first side to take anything off Histon at the Glass World Stadium this term.
Walsham twice went in front against the club many have backed to win the title, but despite those goals from Ryan Gibbs and George Bugg, a brace from former Soham winger Salim Relizani meant the spoils were shared.
Those dropped points for Histon presented Stowmarket Town with the chance to make up some ground and they grabbed it with both hands, recording a 2-0 home win over Newmarket Town.
Ryan Clark's first goal for the Old Gold and Blacks got things rolling in the 29th minute before the ball was bundled over the line in the second half after Sam Nunn had struck the crossbar.
Third-placed Stowmarket, who are now 13 games unbeaten ahead of next Sunday's FA Vase tie at Biggleswade, have moved just a point behind league-leading Godmanchester Rovers having played two games more. Histon, meanwhile, are only above Rick Andrews' men on goal difference but they do have the luxury of five games in hand.
Elsewhere, Haverhill Rovers followed up their win on Boxing Day by running out 3-1 victors at Ely City. Player-manager Marc Abbott, who scored a hat-trick last time out, fired his team in front from 20 yards out with further goals from Henry Hall and Mark Lovell making sure of the outcome.
Jerome Morris scored a late consolation for the hosting Robins, who have now slipped to back-to-back 3-1 defeats following their recent return to form.
In the battle of two out-of-form sides, Long Melford and Hadleigh United played out a 2-2 draw at Stoneylands. Melford were boosted ahead of kick off by the arrival of Jacob Brown (Mildenhall, dual registration) and Emmanuel Machaya (Bury Town, loan), with the latter putting them in front.
Ashley Skeggs doubled the home team's lead, but second-half strikes from Romario Dunne and Brett Crisp levelled things up for Hadleigh, who ended the contest with more players on the pitch after Melford's Nathan Rowe was dismissed late on.
Jamie Brooks put basement boys Framlingham Town a goal to the good against Woodbridge Town but the Castlemen were eventually beaten 2-1, while it is now five defeats in a row for Thetford Town after they lost by the same scoreline at home to Kirkley & Pakefield.
In the First Division North, Harleston Town have opened up a 10-point lead at the summit following their 1-0 win on the road at Norwich CBS. Hosting CBS had gone into the contest having won their last three games but they were edged out by Adam Gusterson's high flyers.
There was a whirlwind of emotions for new Haverhill Borough manager Kevin Parsons as his side took on King's Lynn Town Reserves at The New Croft 3G.
Goals from Jake Thompson and Ryan Kent sent hosting Borough into the break in control and seemingly heading towards their first victory since December 15. However, Lynn's second string responded after the break with three goals, only for Lee Hurkett to rescue Borough a point with a direct free-kick in the first minute of stoppage time.
It is now back-to-back wins for Debenham LC after they returned from Felixstowe & Walton United Reserves with a 3-1 victory in tow. Bradley Austin put them in front with a free-kick, which was accompanied by goals from Andrew Crowe and Tobie Stollery.
In contrast, the bleak times have continued at managerless Diss Town following their 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Wisbech St Mary. Keiran Hagan scored a late consolation for the Tangerines, who are without a win in the league since getting the better of today's conquerors in the reverse fixture back on October 20.
Mekhi McKenzie was among the goals as AFC Sudbury Reserves beat Lakenheath 3-1, while bottom-of-the-table Needham Market Reserves played out a 1-1 draw at Bloomfields with Cornard United.
* For reaction to this weekend's results, plus a look ahead at what is to come next, see this week's print editions.
* Also, New Year's Day (Tuesday) sees the Suffolk derby between Bury Town and AFC Sudbury with both sides pushing to get into the Bostik League North Division play-offs. Follow @HannahDolman1 for Twitter updates - KO 1pm.