Long Melford miss out on moving back into the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division top four after narrow 3-2 defeat at Stanway Rovers
Long Melford missed the opportunity to leapfrog opponents Stanway Rovers into fourth in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division after a 3-2 defeat in a tight game at the Hawthorns on Tuesday night, writes Oscar Johnson.
The Villagers found themselves 3-0 down early in the second half and, despite two late consolation goals, were unable to avoid succumbing to a third consecutive defeat.
Jamie Bradbury’s side struggled to deal with the set-piece threat of their opponents, with all three goals coming from corners in a game in which both sides struggled to dominate possession.
Jamie Shaw opened the scoring for the hosts after four minutes, reacting quickest to prod home a loose ball after a corner had rebounded directly off the post.
Melford ‘keeper Matt Walker then reacted well to tip over a close range effort from Scott Sloots, but he was unable to prevent Shaw from doubling his side’s advantage and his own tally as he took advantage of more lacklustre defending at a corner to put the hosts in a commanding position just before the break.
Melford’s defensive problems were highlighted once again in the 51st minute as they conceded a third goal from a corner, with captain John Carver latching on to a flick on and heading past a helpless Walker from inside the six-yard box.
Despite their defensive frailty, Melford continued to threaten at the other end with a number of chances going to waste before striker Jamie Griffiths clawed one back with a well-placed finish from inside the penalty area just before the hour mark.
The game then became increasingly scrappy as the hosts sought to defend their two-goal lead, with Melford goalscorer Griffiths being booked after a minor scuffle involving several players from both teams.
Chances were few and far between until the 89th minute when the visitors were awarded a penalty after ‘keeper Luke Skinner was adjudged to have fouled Griffiths. Midfielder Nathan Rowe converted the spot kick to give manager Bradbury a glimmer of hope, however it was too late as Stanway defended well to ensure they remained in the division’s top four.
The result means Melford missed the opportunity to leapfrog their opponents into fourth place, capping off a miserable week for Bradbury’s side, who were beaten 3-0 at home by Brantham Athletic on Saturday.
The Villagers’ next game sees them host 11th-placed Whitton United on Saturday (3pm) at Stoneylands.
Melford: Walker, Smith (Pether, 34”), Winefred, Jackson, R. Waugh, A. Waugh, Rowes, Brown, Griffiths, Judge, Hemson
Free Press Man of the Match: Nathan Rowe