Grass Roots Football - Long Melford FC - Derby day delight!

11 November 2013 09:26


Earlier in the season, local rivals Halstead Town had looked to be heading for a defeat when the Villagers went 2-0 up. Halstead though fought back and scored four goals to take the points. It was a defeat that rankled with both staff and fans of the Villagers, and this weekend brought the opportunity for revenge.

On paper, this was a difficult task for Melford, Halstead were second in the league standings and on a fine run of form, winning 10 of their last 12 games, with only one defeat in that period, and no team to date had managed to keep the sharp Halstead attack scoreless – until now.

As with derby games at all levels, form goes out of the window somewhat, and Melford enjoyed plenty of possession in the first half and may even have shaved the period on the balance of play. Although the game was tight and tense, a few chances were on offer at each end, but none were taken. Then, Melford were gifted the sort of sloppy goal that has been their downfall in a number of games this season. The Halstead full back played a poor back pass to his ‘keeper, and debutant Melford player Scott Sloots stepped in, rounded the ‘kepper, and calmly slotted the ball home with the coolness of a veteran. Cue celebrations by the Villagers’ players and the small contingent of fans who had made the short ten miles, or so, journey from Melford.

Halstead were always going to dominate the second period from there, and duly did so and the Melford back line provided Yeoman service in front of ‘keeper Mansfield. {Particularly worthy of mention were twin centre backs of Chris Toole and Michael Owen (no, not that one), who were the epitome of resilience in the face of waves of home team attacks. On the flank, the outstanding Ashley Sloots also turned in a sterling performance.

As the second period wore on, it seemed inevitable that the Melford resistance would be broken, but the Villagers’ defence refused to be breached and eventually the Halstead ran out of steam, and Melford managed to launch a series of swift counter-attacks that ensured the home team had to retain sufficient players on defensive duty to keep the back door locked.

As the referee blew for the end of the game, the Melford players celebrated their revenge against the local rivals, and on the balance of play probably just deserved the victory. Defeating a team that were much higher in the league shows what the Villagers can achieve and it’s now important that they take this form forward into future encounters.

Source: DSG