Grass Roots football - Long Melford FC
Like much of the higher echelons of football, Long Melford enjoyed a Saturday without a ﬁxture. In Melford's case however, this was more a quirk of the ﬁxture list than anything to do with international call-ups. It was hoped however that perhaps the break would offer some restorative time for the squad, as in midweek, they had been humbled 3-0, by table-topping Whitton United.
Whilst playing the top team in the league, away from home, will always be difﬁcult, conceding a goal inside the ﬁrst ten minutes, and then seeing your goalkeeper sent off for dissent is hardly likely to increase your chances of tasking any points home. The start pretty well set the tone for the game, and whilst the Villagers battled on bravely, the result was never really in any doubt. Whitton added a further couple of goals, and ran out the most comfortable of winners. The club will be hoping that having a Saturday off will restore the form that had seen Melford into the top ten of the league.
The club's youth team however are well down the Cup track, as they face a last qualifying round against Bury Town. Should they manage to prevail, they will be in the ﬁrst round proper, and face league team Dagenham & Redbridge. The ability of clubs at this level - bereft of ﬁnancial options to buy in talent - are almost exclusively dependent on their ability to bring through their own players, and if the youth team continue to ﬂourish as of late, it suggests that better times could be ahead for Melford.
Talking of ﬁnance, the club had a welcome, and surprising inﬂux of cash, when a local 'groundhopper' football fan, aware of the club's ﬁnancial plight over the past few years from the local newspaper, kindly donated his collection off football pin badges fro the club to auction. The auction raised £400.00 of much needed funding. On such things, does grass roots football survive.
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