Long Melford 2 Cornard United 1
Following a period when fortune always seemed to be against Melford, the local derby against Cornard United eventually saw Lady Luck smile upon The Villagers – although it didn’t seem that way initially.
In the first half, Melford totally dominated play, and applied almost constant pressure, but could not force an opening. As is often the way in football however, this proved when from a throw in, the ball landed in the Melford box for the first time in the half, and as defenders struggled to clear, it was dispatched into the net from close range to give the visitors an undeserved lead. The injustice stung Melford into renewed vigour, and as the chances fell to the home team, they were squandered by lackluster finishing and good defence by the beleaguered Cornard players. Half-time arrived with the Cornard lead intact, and Melford thinking that yet again, it wasn’t to be their day.
Whether the Melford dressing-room offered up some apparently effective incantations for a change of luck, is unclear, but whatever happened, suddenly the home team got a break. Within four minutes of the restart. The Villagers were level when almost a replica of the Cornard goal fell to Melford, with Joe Harvey converting from three yards. A further ten minutes in, and Harvey netted his second of the game when a speculative shot from just inside the box seemed to slip from the grasp of the visiting ‘keeper and roll into the net.
The setback seemed to fire up Cornard however, and the last half hour saw the away team surge forward in search of an equalizer. The Melford defence and goalkeeper, Sam Mansfield were put under severe pressure, as the run of play was turned on its head. As the game drew towards its conclusion, with Melford still in the lead, a Cornard shot went narrowly over the bar, before another was cleared from the Melford line.
Well into injury time, Melford broke from their defensive shackles and both Skeggs and Winfield had chances to settle the home nerves, but saw their shots go narrowly wide. At the final whistle, The Villagers breathed of relief and gratefully took the three points in what turned out to be the very epitome of a close-fought local derby.
The win puts The Villagers into a fairly comfortable mid-table position, put league concerns are put to one side next week as The Villagers take up the FA Vase trail with an away tie to Hillbridge Sports.
MELFORD: Sam Mansfield, Luke Simpson, Chris McMahon, Shane Barnes (86), Ross Waugh, Michael Owen, Jack Durey (77), Joe Harvey, Ashley Skeggs, Tom Wingfield (90), Courtney Prince Subs: Pete Whitwell(86), Sam Turner (90), Will Wingfield (77) not used: Alessandro Zarrelli, Dan Gammage
CORNARD UTD: Athey, Dix, Laird, Dowding, Bryant, Willis, Beckett, M.Knight, Chesney, C.Knight, Newlove Subs: Briggs, Pilcher, Davis, New, K.Smith
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