Last week was a mixed bag for Long Melford FC. After recovering from being eliminated from the FA Vase, they suffered another cup reverse in the Suffolk Senior Cup.
Long Melford 2 Stowmarket Town 0
On Wednesday, Melford jumped into the top ten of the league after a convincing home win to Stowmarket Town. Despite their lowly league position however, the visitors were reinforced by new signing Wayne proctor who has an enviable gaol-scoring record at this level and in an entertaining game, Melford needed to be on their mettle to land the points.
Both teams started brightly and Melford had some early opportunities, and had the ball in the visitors’ net before the game had settled down, but striker Skeggs was ruled offside. It was to be a brief respite for Strowmarket however, as the home team took the lead on the quarter hour mark from the penalty spot. Stowmarket ‘keeper Ridley could only parry Simpson’s fierce shot, and as Harvey pounced to bury the loose ball, the ‘keeper brought him down. Skeggs stepped up and colly despatched the penalty.
As the half wore on, both defences were stretched and the goalkeepers were in action at either end. Despite the end to end action however, the single goal lead remained in place as the referee signalled the break.
In the second half, the tempo was picked up again. Melford nearly doubled the lead ten minutes into the half when Durey headed narrowly wide from a corner, and Tom Wingfield also went close. Stowmarket still carried a threat however, and Proctor struck the Melford bar with a powerful shot. It nearly got worse in the 70th minute when a Stowmarket free kivck found its way into the home net, but it was disallowed for an offence. It led however to a surge of pressure for the equaliser, and Melford were hard-pressed to preserve the lead.
Conversely however, the pressure on the home goal led to Melford sewing up the points. A Stowmarket attack broke down and Skeggs was put clear to race in on the away goal. The hard-working striker was alert enough to give a measured pass to youngster Richie Abbott, who coolly slotted home to score thep oits, and notch his first goal for the first team.
It was a sound performance by Melford to bounce back from the weekend’s cup disappointment to secure the three points. Probably most pleasing however, was the clean sheet recorded in the face of strong pressure.
MELFORD: Sam Mansfield (c), Luke Simpson, Sam Newton, Shane Barnes, Michael Owen, Ross Waugh, Jack Durey, Joe Harvey, Ashley Skeggs, Tom Wingfield, Pete Whitwell
Subs: Harry Fryer (for Wingfield), Richie Abbott (for Durey), Jack Hubbard, Sam Turner, Liam Hastie
Achilles 2 Long Melford 0 (Suffolk Senior Cup, Round 1)
After seeing their what now seems traditional tie set up against Achilles – it was the third time that
they’ve been drawn against the Ipswich team in three years – Melford travelled for their first round tie in good heart after their weekend victory.
Melford made a strong start to the game, and Wingfield fired just over early on, Achilles however are a strong and confident team and top their league. They responded to Melford’s early probing in strong style and were denied when Mansfield made a coupler of smart saves.
Towards the end of the first half however, the Villagers came closest to opening the scoring when Arnold’s attempt was diverted onto the post by the home ‘keeper, before being cleared.
As the second half began, Melford again started brightly and Fryer was unfortunate to see his effort tipped over the bar. Conversely however, just after this period of Melford pressure, Achilles took the lead. Some poor defending saw the ball drop to Hillyard some twenty yards out. The home player powered the ball past Mansfield and the Villagers were behind. Melford pressed for an equaliser, and were unlucky once again when substitute Abbot struck the inside of the post with an effort. Although the game suggested that another goal was likely it seemed that fate was not going to be friendly to the Villagers and when a pass was intercepted by Coote, he raced through to complete the victory, and hand Melford their second cup exit in ten days.
MELFORD: Mansfield Fryer Newton Whitwell (Abbott) Owen Waugh Durey (Prince) McMahon Harvey Skeggs (W Wingfield) T Wingfield not used: Bayliss