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Wins for AFC Sudbury and Bury Town on opening day as Lakenheath and Mildenhall Town progress in the FA Vase while Haverhill Rovers stage epic comeback





For sides at Step 3 and 4 of the National League System it was finally time to get their 2020/21 league seasons started, having seen 2019/20 wiped out by the FA's decision to null and void campaigns at their level.

In the newly-sponsored Pitching In Isthmian League North Division AFC Sudbury got off to a winning start against one of the promotion favourites, beating Coggeshall Town 2-1.

In front of a bumper crowd of 342 at their MEL Group Stadium, summer signing Kane Munday had them in front inside eight minutes with an early goal in the second half for centre-back Joe Grimwood making it 2-0.

Joe Grimwood celebrates scoring a second goal for AFC Sudbury in their 2-1 home win against Coggeshall Town Picture: Mark Westley
Joe Grimwood celebrates scoring a second goal for AFC Sudbury in their 2-1 home win against Coggeshall Town Picture: Mark Westley

Coggeshall, who have popstar Olly Murs as a director and financial backer, halved the deficit in the 69th minute through marksman Nnamdi Nwachuku.

But Mark Morsley's side were able to stop the Seedgrowers ruining their day as they got their own push for promotion off to a pleasing winning start.

Bury Town had gone into their fixture at managerless Basildon United with a concerning injury list but returned to Suffolk with all three points courtesy of Cruise Nyadzayo's goal mid-way through the first half.

AFC Sudbury goalkeeper Paul Walker makes a save during their match with Coggeshall Town Picture: Mark Westley
AFC Sudbury goalkeeper Paul Walker makes a save during their match with Coggeshall Town Picture: Mark Westley

Basildon's chances of getting back in the game had been hit by the sending off of Jamie Marsh for a second yellow card on the stroke of half-time.

Soham Town Rangers warmed up for their BBC FA Cup game at Hashtag United on Tuesday with a pleasing point at home to a Maldon & Tiptree side who had been comfortably top of the division when the coronavirus forced the abandonment of last season in March.

After a goalless first half Shomari Barnwell broke the deadlock for Maldon & Tiptree in the 54th minute but a 61st minute equaliser from Cameron Watson sent the majority of the 146 crowd home happy.

Elsewhere in the division, Suffolk side Felixstowe & Walton United came back from Great Wakering Rovers with a point following a goalless draw.

Match action from Wisbech St Mary v AFC Sudbury reserves. (42328762)
Match action from Wisbech St Mary v AFC Sudbury reserves. (42328762)

Needham Market drew their opening Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central match 1-1 at a Redditch United side who had been bottom when last season was halted.

After falling behind to a 17th minute goal from the hosts' number 10 Clement, a 25-yard screamer from Billy Hunt found the bottom right-hand corner to get Kevin Horlock's side back on level terms in the 38th minute.

Former Ipswich Town professional Byron Lawrence almost marked his Needham competitive debut with a goal but saw his free kick on the hour mark graze the top of the crossbar on its way while the home keeper made a good save to deny Ben Fowkes.

Elsewhere in the division there was victories for the other Suffolk sides as Lowestoft Town won 2-1 at Barwell courtesy of a pair of penalties from Jacek Zielonka while a Sam Whittal header 10 minutes from time secured the points for Leiston in a 1-0 win against visiting Rushall Olympic.

The road to Wembley in the Buildbase FA Vase began for some sides in the first round qualifying with Lakenheath providing one of the standout results with a 7-1 demolition of their divisional rivals Framlingham Town in what was their first ever home game in the competition.

After James Mayhew diverted a Ryan Weaver header into his own net inside three minutes, Daniel Smith's 20th minute free kick got The Castlemen back on level terms.

But Lakenheath, who have won all three of their opening Thurlow Nunn League First Division North matches, were soon 3-1 ahead with two goals inside three minutes from the half-hour mark.

First, Shaun Avis converted an Alex McIntosh's low cross before Weaver headed home Reece Clarke's corner.

Match action from Diss Town against Fakenham Town in the FA Vase Picture: Mark Bullimore
Match action from Diss Town against Fakenham Town in the FA Vase Picture: Mark Bullimore

It was 4-1 on stroke of half-time when Tom Thulborn turned in Weaver's cross-cum-shot.

Two peanlties at both ends of the second half saw Avis complete his hat-trick before the returning Kelvin Enaro capped off a memorable afternoon at The Pit with a seventh goal.

Mildenhall Town also got their name into the hat for the next round with a 2-0 win at Huntingdon Town.

Ricky Cornish's side had a couple of early chances before Kaine Manels, in for his first start of the season, fired them into a 14th minute lead.

They doubled their advantage in the 31st minute through Jake Green's chipped effort with no further goals following for either side.

After a goalless first half in their Fens derby tie at Downham Town, Ely City conceded three after the interval to exit the competition while it was also the end of the road to Wembley for 1993/94 winners Diss Town who lost 1-0 at home to divisional rivals Fakenham Town.

Callum Maloney in action for Diss Town against Fakenham Town in the FA Vase Picture: Mark Bullimore
Callum Maloney in action for Diss Town against Fakenham Town in the FA Vase Picture: Mark Bullimore

Hadleigh United also had an early exit from the competition, as their winning streak, which had seen them top the embryonic Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division table, ended at three matches as they went down to a 2-0 defeat at their Barnet-based namesake Hadley.

The hosts took the lead mid-way through the first half with a close-range finish after Hadleigh's defence failed to clear their lines and doubled their advantage in the 30th minute when a deflected cross looped over Nick Punter.

Christina Appleford's side played out the last 15 minutes with 10 men after striker Joel Glover was sent off for a second yellow card.

Long Melford's recent poor form in the FA Vase continued as they ended up on the wrong end of a 5-3 encounter at Essex Senior League side Ilford.

Keiran Hagan on the ball for Diss Town against Fakenham Town Picture: Mark Bullimore
Keiran Hagan on the ball for Diss Town against Fakenham Town Picture: Mark Bullimore

Jamie Bradbury's side had gone into a 13th minute lead courtesy of an own goal but hosts levelled six minutes later.

Ilford took the lead early in the second half (50') but within a minute a Kieran Michaels goal pegged it back.

But Ilford retook the lead in the 54th minute and added another within two minutes to make it 4-2.

A futher goal made it 5-2 in the 68th minute before Michaels pulled one back 11 minutes from time.

Newmarket Town are also out of the competition after two goals in the second half saw the Jockeys disappointingly lose 2-0 at lower-league Sheringham.

In a Suffolk Vase derby at Ipswich Wanderers against Brantham Athletic it was four goals from former Stowmarket Town striker Matt Blake which helped them record a 5-3 victory while Whitton United progressed via a penalty shootout at Brantham Athletic, following a 3-3 draw in Essex.

Haverhill Borough play their Vase tie at West Essex tomorrow and Halstead Town theirs against Hackney Wick at Witham Town.

In the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division their was a thrilling come-from-behind victory at The New Croft as Haverhill Rovers amazingly overturned a 3-0 deficit against visiting Woodbridge Town to win 4-3 and pick up their first win of the campaign.

After Rory Jebb failed to take a golden early opportunity to put the hosts ahead, Woodbridge took the lead half an hour in with a cool finish from Kyron Andrews.

Andrew Crowe made it a 2-0 lead at the inerval before a left-footed finish from Mark Ray made it 3-0 early in the second half.

But Marc Abbott's side showed great character from thereon in with Cambridge United loanne Joe Rider scoring twice before captain Ben Bradley got it back to 3-3 before James Philip saved a Woodbridge penalty.

Aaron Hudson then popped up with the winner to spark joyous scenes at The New Croft.

Two early goals in the second half made it 34 league games undefeated for Stowmarket Town in a 2-0 victory at Thetford Town to leave Matt Morton's side still searching for their first points of the campaign.

It was a first half of few chances but Thetford's Johnny Conroy wasted a good opportunity just before the break.

Stow took the lead in the 48th minute when a low cross was turned in with Jack Ainsley claiming the goal but suspicion it was put into the net by a Thetford defender.

But in the 54th minute Ainsley definitely had a goal to his name after punishing a poor headed clearance.

Thetford almost got one back but Joao Varela was denied by the post.

Elsewhere, Kirkley & Pakefield went top of the division with their fourth win from four games, with a 2-0 success at Swaffham Town.

In the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North Debenham LC were edging towards their first point in four matches so far when their game at home to Norwich CBS was abandoned in the 89th minute due to a serious injury to Hornets player Henry Fowler. A Matt Poxon goal had levelled the game at 1-1.

Debenham had announced ahead of kick off that goalkeeper Sam Chilvers has been appointed as the new first team captain while Baden Holmes has left the club.

Two goals from Joe Morris and a Rauf Kabangu strike saw AFC Sudbury Reserves record a 3-1 victory at Wisbech St Mary while Cornard United lost 5-2 at home to King's Lynn Town Reserves.

Elsewhere, James Mant's Needham Market Reserves lost 4-0 at Great Yarmouth Town.