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  1. When you watch football at Long Melford you never know who might turn up in the opposition ranks. In recent times Ollie Murs turned up on the bench for Coggeshall (now promoted) and playing for Wroxham at Stoneylands two seasons ago were both Grant Holt and Simon Lappin both international standard players who had long careers at Norwich City. 

    In circa 2010  a young keeper turned up with the opposition Team Bury, the offshoot of Bury Town FC (Suffolk) and West Suffolk Football Academy, you may recognise his name these days Nick Pope now no 1 keeper at Burnley who kept Liverpool at bay the other night. The young keeper was born at Soham in Cambs, and in recent times has been capped by England 4 times. It proves that if you work hard enough on your game it is possible to make it at the highest level.  RICHARD KEMP

  2. After a four month break, football is back underway with pre-season training and trials taking place at Stoneylands recently.

    Following Saturday's FA announcement, we can play friendly matches in August but it's important to point out these will be behind closed doors as spectators are not allowed at matches, until we're told otherwise.

    It does feel trivial talking about football after the loss of lives and livelihoods caused by Covid around the world. But there's no doubt that for millions of people sport has a very positive impact on their physical and mental health. For that reason it's great news that we can play matches in August, albeit without crowds.

    It was good to hear Saturday's trial went well, with 25 new faces in attendance. It's not easy playing again after a lengthy break but by all accounts the attitude and standard was very impressive.

    Hopefully the new season can get underway in September, although as I understand it this depends on whether crowds are allowed back or not - I'm sure this will become clearer soon.

    New faces are always welcome at the club, whether you want to get involved on the pitch or behind the scenes, you'll always be welcome. Contact us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.  AC


    Monday's announcement is fantastic news for Long Melford FC, LMFC Colts & Fillies and the village as a whole - congratulations to everyone involved.

    The current facilities at Stoneylands have served the club well for half a century but have been on their last legs for some time.

    It will be great for the hundreds of adults and children who play football in Long Melford to have facilities they can be proud of. 

    As well as providing a new home for the village's football clubs, the clubhouse will be a community asset. It can be used for indoor sports, such as table tennis and carpet bowls for example. It will also be available for community groups and private functions. 

    For more reaction to Monday's news see this week's Suffolk Free Press. For updates on the construction of the clubhouse over the coming months, like and follow the Long Melford Community Sports Trust's new Facebook page (click here)



    The FA is making tentative steps regarding plans for next season, 2020/21. A September start for the Thurlow Nunn League looks hopeful but obviously this depends on government guidelines on social distancing. The FA are working on various scenarios regarding next season, so we will see how this develops.



    At the moment we don't have confirmed dates for pre-season training/open trials but we are always happy to hear from new players interested in joining. Contact us (click here) and we will get back to you as soon as possible.   AC

  4. Long Melford FC President Richard Kemp writes about the link between the club and Radio Caroline...

    Having grown up in the era of pirate radio stations, instead of John Humphreys (now retired) on the radio from 6am, I have switched to the lighter menu of Radio Caroline. Much of the content is lightweight I know, but who in this current situation wants a permanent diet of doom and gloom?

    At 7am to 9am a chap called John Paul (probably Fred Bloggs in reality) is on broadcasting from Los Angeles. This morning he told of the story of when walking his dog in the woods nearby to LA, from a distance he saw  a “ sheet like ghost”. As he got closer he realised what was going on, a chap sitting in a barber's chair, with usual sheet round him, a barber busy with clippers and a person waiting to be next for a haircut. Could it catch on here?   

    The connection with Radio Caroline for me and LMFC is that the Annual Gala at LMFC in 1964 as the Hon Sec of the Gala, I booked in a special guest from Radio Caroline, DJ Jon Sydney (yes you have guessed he was Australian) to open the gala.

    He was met at Sudbury Railway Station by “Taff” Bulmer the only one with a car, who dined with him at Long Melford Crown, and after the event was returned to Sudbury Railway Station. to get him back to Caroline. The usual profit for the Gala was circa 1000 pounds for LMFC.   RK

  5. There’s a lot of positives looking back on 2018; a good second half of last season saw us finish in a comfortable 16th, 25 points above the relegation zone.

    We’ve also had our best FA Cup in 14 years and last month booked a place in the League Cup quarter finals for only the second time since joining the Eastern Counties League.

    After a good start to the current league season, the last couple of months have been challenging but the management and players are doing their best to get back to winning ways.

    Although we haven’t won in the league for a while now, we have been picking up points on a regular basis – we haven’t lost more than two league games in a row all season.

    We’ve had a lot of draws lately, more than any other side in the league.. It’s obviously frustrating as we've been ahead in most of those matches, but it also shows we’re not far away - it’s a tiny margin between one point and three points sometimes.

    The new faces who came into the side for the Hadleigh game gave us a massive boost, without them we had only maybe seven or eight senior first team players available. So to bring in players of that calibre at such short notice was a great effort by the management team and gave everyone at the club a lift.

    Injuries and suspensions etc are all part of football of course, but you never expect to have as many as 14 players out at the same time, it’s a very unusual situation and obviously far from ideal.

    Let’s hope for some better luck on the injury front in 2019 and hopefully turn a few of those draws into wins!

    A quick word on the Reserves, I think everyone would agree switching to the Border League has been a successful move. It’s meant more matches and with promotion/relegation it makes the football more competitive. It’s been a very good season so far with the Reserves currently sitting in 4th position and still in two cup competitions.

    If you’re not going to Newmarket on Saturday, the Reserves would really appreciate your support at Stoneylands where 2nd-placed Tollesbury are the visitors in a six  pointer at the top of the table (2pm kick off, admission for everyone is £3).

    And finally the Under 18s in their first season currently sit in 7th out of 10 sides in the Thurlow Nunn Youth League.  It’s been very encouraging to see five of the squad make their first team debut this season while several others have also gained experience of men’s football in the Reserves. Long may that continue.

    Happy New Year,


  6. Website editor Andy Cussans looks back on the First Team's August which saw 5 matches played, 3 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat.

    August was a good month with just the one defeat in five matches - a narrow 2-1 loss at top of the league Histon.

    Overall we probably feel a little unlucky not to have more than 4 points from the 3 league matches. Against Gorleston we were inches away from going 3-1 up late on when Nathan Rowe hit the post. As so often happens in football, Gorleston then went down the other end and equalised to make it 2-2.

    At Histon we were 1-0 up for the majority of the game but an unfortunate own goal turned the match on its head and then Histon won the match with a good strike from the edge of the box.

    Against Ely City it was nice to get the first league win on the board, coming from behind to win 3-1 in an excellent second half performance.

    In the FA Cup, the two victories were comfortable in the end, after going 3-0 up in both matches against Redbridge and St Margaretsbury before both opponents scored a consolation goal.

    It’s the first time in 14 years the club has made it to the 1st Qualifying Round, so it’s been a great effort, the players have done the club proud and the prize money is very welcome too.

    We always say every season winning one FA Cup tie is the target, anything on top of that is a massive bonus.

    With over £5,000 already banked for winning two matches, it takes the pressure off in the next round, but obviously like all clubs we want to go as far as we can.

    Away to Haverhill in the next round is a match both sides will fancy their chances of winning - I’m sure both clubs are happy to avoid higher league opposition.

    In the context of Step 5 non-league football, it doesn’t get much bigger than Saturday – a local derby in the world famous FA Cup with £6,000 at stake and the winners will be only three matches away from the First Round Proper.

    It’s all set up to be an entertaining FA Cup tie and we know that win, lose or draw the players will give it everything they have.

  7. April started well for the First Team, with a good point at Thetford followed by a hard-fought win against Great Yarmouth at Stoneylands.

    Since then we have been well beaten by Coggeshall, Kirkley and Stowmarket. Three tough away matches at the best of times, so with up to 8 players missing it was always likely to be a difficult spell and so it proved.

    Usually we are a very competitive side even against the top sides with large “resources”, so it’s been disappointing and out of character to be on the receiving end of a couple of heavy defeats lately.

    But as we approach the end of a long and tough season the team certainly don’t deserve any criticism – in fact the opposite they should be applauded for their efforts over the past 10 months, comfortably avoiding a relegation battle and playing some very entertaining football along the way.

    Let’s hope for a strong finish to the season this week away to Hadleigh (Tuesday) and at home to Fakenham (Saturday) before a couple of months of rest and preparation for 2018/19.

    The Reserves lost 3-0 to Felixstowe in their final league match of the season but overall had a much improved end to the campaign, which bodes well for next season in what looks like being the Essex & Suffolk Border League.

    The club's end of season presentation dinner takes place at The Bull Hotel, Long Melford on Saturday 19 May, 7.30 pm. Menu choices etc to follow shortly.

    And finally a reminder the club is looking to appoint a new first team assistant manager/coach for next season. If you know anybody who might be interested in applying for this position, please point them in the direction of the website. AC

  8. Just the three First Team matches were played this month, as away matches at Coggeshall and Kirkley were both postponed due to the weather.

    A 3-1 home win against Wivenhoe was followed by a 1-1 draw with Ely and 2-1 defeat to in-form Godmanchester.

    All three results were a fair reflection of the matches, so 4 points is about right from those games.

    Some tough matches coming up in April / early May but overall performances have been good of late, so let's hope for a strong finish to the season.

    It looks as if we're going to go two seasons in a row without any home matches called off, despite the awful weather since Christmas. Proof that 3G pitches aren't the only solution, just get yourself a top groundsman instead!

    Most players would rather play on a good grass pitch than a 3G pitch. The problem with that of course, is there aren't many good grass pitches around in non-league! So we're very lucky in that regard.

    Apologies to anybody who was caught out by our April Fool's post on social media. Just to confirm, the club is definitely not changing its name to the Melford Mavericks. However, we might be changing the colours from black and white stripes to white and black stripes...

    Supporters' Player of the Season voting takes place at the next home match (Saturday 14 April v Yarmouth). As in previous years we'll be asking for your first, second and third choice. If you won't be at the Yarmouth match, then please get in touch and vote via email or send us a message through Facebook/Twitter.

    It's been a tough season for the Reserves but they have found form lately, winning both of their matches in March, a 2-0 win at Stowmarket was followed by a 3-0 victory at Hadleigh.

    As one supporter said the other day, the First Team started the season in October and the Reserves started in March!

    Hopefully next season both sides can get off to better starts. But having said that, it's better late than never...

    If you're not going to Thetford on Saturday, your support at Stoneylands would be appreciated as the Reserves look to make it three wins in a row against Whitton United (3pm kick off). AC

  9. A round-up of the matches this month from a supporter's point of view...

    It’s been a Jekyll & Hyde type of month; excellent results and performances against Newmarket and Histon - and two disappointing defeats to Ely and Clacton.

    It’s hard to explain why the performances have varied so much from week to week. Having said that, 6 points from 4 tough fixtures is a decent return and we probably would have taken that at the start of the month.

    February started with an entertaining, end to end home match against Newmarket, finishing in a 2-1 win. The last minute winner scored by Hassan was a magic moment and we’ve not seen celebrations like that at Stoneylands for a long time.

    We were all on a high going into the Ely match the following Saturday - but really from start to finish the performance was well below par. The 5-1 scoreline was perhaps a little harsh, as David Leader in the Melford goal didn’t have much to do, except pick the ball out of the net five times! But having said that, Ely were obviously the better side in every department.

    The following Saturday it was a much improved team performance, winning 2-1 against  a strong Histon side who’d won 9 of their previous 10 matches.

    Next up was an away match at Clacton, a ground we’ve always struggled at over the years. That was the case again on Saturday, losing 1-0 to a moment of inspiration, in an otherwise very scrappy match.

    The conditions were the toughest we’ve played in all season, but as the old saying goes it’s the same for both sides and ultimately we just weren’t good enough.

    It’s hard to put the finger on why we’ve picked up more points this season against top half sides than bottom half clubs. It’s a pretty unusual record, at any level of football.

    It’s been really up and down this month but looking at the bigger picture, we’ve already passed last season’s points total of 40 and there’s been a big improvement since October.

    In fact it’s almost been promotion form since the defeat to Haverhill Borough on October 18th. Hopefully that level can be maintained over the last two months of the season. AC

  10. After a hit and miss festive period, January was a more consistent month for the First Team with four good performances in a row.

    It’s been an eventful month, with assistant manager Josh Shepherd donning the keeper’s jersey and Anthony Waugh scoring his first goal for the club after more than 150 matches.

    January started with a 3-1 to defeat to top of the table Felixstowe. It was encouraging that even with 8 regulars missing it was still a strong squad available. The overall performance was impressive and perhaps with a bit more luck it could have been another point on the board.

    Next up was a six-pointer at Walsham and a 1-0 win courtesy of Will Wingfield’s first half winner.

    It was then back to Stoneylands for a 2-2 draw with Gorleston. It always feels unlucky to concede a late goal but overall a draw was the fair result. And having scored a few last minute goals ourselves this season, you have to take the rough with the smooth.

    The last match of the month was on Saturday away to Brantham Athletic. Brantham have been flying recently and currently sit in the top three, so to go there and win 1-0 was the best result of the season and arguably the club’s best victory in the Thurlow Nunn Premier.

    So overall this month, it’s been a great effort and the management and players deserve all the praise they’re receiving. Let’s hope the current form can be maintained for the final few months of the season.

    The Reserves had three close matches this match; single goal defeats to Woodbridge and Walsham, and a 2-1 win against Saffron Walden.

    Overall that's a big improvement compared to the heavy defeats before the Christmas break and the squad has been bolstered by some new signings.

    There’s only 7 reserve league matches left this season, so that’s not a lot of time to climb the table but it would be nice to move away from the bottom spot. AC

  11. The main talking point at the club this month was news that the wheels are in motion to secure funding for new facilities.

    It's obviously not something that will happen overnight, it's a long process ahead of raising money and applying for grants, but it's an exciting goal to be working towards.

    The club has made the best it can of the current setup for a long time. But there's no denying we need modern facilities, to ensure football in the local community at both Senior and Youth level has a long term future.

    On the pitch the First Team had another good month. All 5 league matches were against sides higher in the table, so to pick up 9 points was a great effort.

    There were outstanding wins against Newmarket, Stanway and Haverhill. Promotion contenders Coggeshall were given a good run for their money (no pun intended) but in the end they were too strong in the second half, while at Gorleston it was a bit of an off day but to get back to 2-1 with 10 men was encouraging.

    For the Reserves an impressive 4-1 win against Woodbridge was followed by two heavy defeats against Halstead and Hadleigh. It's stating the obvious to say we need to tighten up at the back, but the Woodbridge match showed some promise of what could be achieved when a full squad is available. AC

  12. lmfc blog

    A round-up of the First Team's matches this month from a supporter's point of view...

    October started with an away match at Saffron Walden Town, one of the league's in-form sides at the moment. Although it was a 2-0 defeat for Melford, it was an improved display compared to the home match at Walden in the the previous month, where really we were played off the park.

    Next it was the Suffolk Premier Cup tie at home to a young Ipswich Town side. We had an excellent gate of 200+, with a little help from Facebook, where our online poster was seen by thousands of people. Facebook is not everyone's cup of tea but for clubs like Melford it is a very effective way of spreading the word.

    The match itself saw the team do the club proud and go toe-to-toe with the talented Ipswich side. The key turning point was a strong Melford penalty appeal turned down at 0-0, Ipswich then went down the other end of the pitch and scored two quick goals to win 2-0.

    Ipswich's best player was Monty Patterson, a full New Zealand international who scored for the Kiwis against USA last year - a bit of a contrast to playing at Stoneylands on a wet October night!

    It was then back to league action and another good Melford performance against promotion contenders Stowmarket Town. After getting back to 1-1 with not too long left, it was frustrating to then concede what was a very avoidable goal, but nevertheless there were plenty of positives.

    Next up was a home match against Haverhill Borough in a bottom of the table six pointer. In front of our lowest attendance of the season by some distance, not helped by the murky weather, it was a disappointing 2-0 defeat.

    However there was a very positive response in the next two matches, wins at Wivenhoe Town (4-1) and Ipswich Wanderers (1-0). After losing a few matches earlier in the season to late goals, it was a nice to score a last minute winner ourselves at Wanderers. 

    The last match in October was the long journey to Great Yarmouth Town on Saturday, which ended in a 2-2 draw. A very good away point but it felt more like a win given the circumstances, with six players missing, a goal down after 58 seconds, then two goals down with 10 men. Great spirit shown by the team to dig in and fight back for a point when it appeared to be game over at 2-0.

    So overall apart from the Haverhill defeat it's been a very positive month and 7 points from the last 3 matches have kept us in touch with the sides above. Several new signings have improved the squad and added more strength in depth. 

    November looks another tough month on paper but hopefully we can keep putting in good performances and maybe surprise a few of the sides at the top of the table. AC

  13. September started with heavy defeats for the First Team against Godmanchester and Saffron Walden.

    There was a significant improvement in the next two games against Halstead and Clacton - losing both of those close matches in the last few minutes was very harsh but at least there were some positives in the performances.

    Four points from the next two matches against Ipswich Wanderers and Fakenham Town were much needed – although the league table still doesn’t exactly look great, it's better than a few weeks ago.

    Overall it’s not a huge surprise to see the team finding it tough again this season, we expected it to be a real battle and similar to last season scoring enough goals is always going to be the challenge.

    It looks a strong squad defensively, apart from a bad week against Godmanchester and Walden, and the creativity is there with the likes of Hass, Will, Callum etc but we’ve obviously got to produce more cutting edge to find the goals to keep us in the Premier.

    It’s not been the best of starts for the Reserves – the 2-2 draw at Felixstowe earlier this month is the only positive to speak of so far, although it’s been a tough run of fixtures and we’ll hope for better against fellow bottom half sides in the next couple of games.

    Coming up next Wednesday (11th October) it’s the Suffolk Premier Cup tie at home to Ipswich Town. Whatever the result it will be a memorable evening as we very rarely get to play clubs of that stature. Obviously it will be a youthful Ipswich side rather than Championship regulars, but even still they are very talented players and hopefully some will end up in being first team regulars in the near future. AC

  14. Starting with off the pitch matters, it is a big boost to the club having the main clubhouse/bar back in action. The club's directors did a great job with the redecorating and we also have to thank everyone who made a donation towards the cost of the repairs.

    Player sponsorship has been really well supported with a current total of 19 sponsors. There's only a handful of players still available, so please get in touch soon if you wish to sponsor someone.

    Moving on to the football, it was nice to get the first league win on Tuesday - it looked like it might come at Histon the previous week when we were 1-0 up after 70 minutes but in the end we had to wait a little longer.

    It seems like the overall standard of the Thurlow Nunn Premier is better than the last couple of seasons, with several strong new sides joining the league. Every match is a tough challenge but Melford have looked solid and well-organised throughout August, and in the last few matches we've started to create more chances going forward.

    In the FA Cup, the objective every season is to win the first match, anything after that is a bonus. A hard fought 1-0 win at Hackney Wick was followed by a 2-1 defeat to FC Romania. It was a good performance, the team gave it everything and were always positive, creating plenty of chances. But it wasn't our day and credit to FC Romania who played some very nice passing football, we wish them luck for the next round.

    There's another two big cup ties coming up at Stoneylands soon - a local derby and FA Vase tie at against Halstead Town (September 9th) and in the Suffolk Premier Cup we host Ipswich Town (11th October).

    It's likely to be a youthful Ipswich side that visits Stoneylands, but whatever squad they send it will obviously have plenty of talent. Hopefully lots of Ipswich supporters will come along to see their club's future stars in action.

    It's early days for the Reserves this season, it hasn't been the best of starts in the League but there were some good performances in the friendlies, which suggest things will improve soon. On paper it looks a squad capable of climbing the table, hopefully starting on Saturday when the Reserves host Witham Town at Stoneylands (3pm kick off).

    Earlier this month we were sorry to see Ray Manser leave the club. Ray played a big part in getting the Reserves back on track last season but has stepped down due to work commitments. Thanks again to Ray who will always be very welcome at Stoneylands. AC

  15. A shorter pre-season than usual for the First Team with just the 4 friendlies, but with a minimum 50+ league and cup games coming up this season, it would not be very wise to play lots of warm-up games.

    Overall we've got a lot out of the friendlies against a good mix of opposition from Step 6 up to Step 2, with useful match fitness and the management looking at a lot of players (around 25 to 30). 

    The performances have been better than the results look on paper, which is always better than the other way round in pre-season. 

    On the signings front, the majority of last season's regulars have re-signed and 4 new players have joined; Callum Hemson looks a very good technical player as you would expect from an ex Academy student at AFC Sudbury, Michael Schofield has experience at this level with Wivenhoe, while Luke Payne had a good scoring record last season. Elliot Walker has not played at this level before but is a player Jamie feels is capable of stepping up from the Border League.

    The new season starts on Saturday at home to Brantham Athletic. It looks like it's going to be a really strong Premier Division this season and as always we'll be punching above our weight at Melford, but I'm sure we'll give it 100% again and enjoy the challenge. 

    Off the pitch, there's lots to report; the clubhouse roof is currently being repaired (a big thank you to everyone who made a donation towards the cost). The new home kit sponsored by Nethergate looks very professional, the pitch as always thanks to Ivan is in great shape and preparations are being made for our 150th anniversary celebrations in 2018.

    And finally, all the best to Jamie and his new look coaching team for Saturday and the rest of the season. AC

  16. blog

    I think it was Roy Evans, the then Liverpool manager who said; "I love the summer, you can't lose a game!"

    It's always a bit like that for every club in pre-season, with no defeats to get in the way everyone feels optimistic at this time of year. The slate is wiped clean, we all go back to 0 points and hope to do better than last season.

    At Melford the players are back in training, which has been well attended. The 1st Team and Reserves are training together which is good to see, the two sides worked really together last year so hopefully that can continue this season.

    We will be updating the website soon when it's confirmed who has signed for the new season.

    The first friendly is at home to Braintree next Saturday 8th July, a tough game to start with but hopefully we'll learn a lot from playing a side three divisions higher.

    Earlier this month Jamie Bradbury was appointed 1st Team Manager. I know Jamie was always the club's first choice and I'm sure supporters will also be happy with the appointment and the continuity this brings.

    Speaking to players last season they've always been full of praise for Jamie's coaching style, and although it's his first management role at this level, there's every reason to believe he will make a success of it.

    It's going to be tough replacing such a legendary manager as Jules but I'm sure Jamie will be given a fair crack of the whip to shape the team in his own style.

    At the moment we only have one league fixture confirmed (29th July at home to Brantham Athletic).

    With the expanded league programme this season it's going to be a long campaign. 46 league matches is probably more than Melford have ever played before. It will be a bit of a marathon but it's good that we won't have the big gaps in the fixture list we had last season.

    Also this month the club said goodbye to Jamie Griffiths, a really popular player at Stoneylands over the past three seasons. There's always mixed emotions when a player moves up to a higher level, of course you are sorry to see them go, but ultimately that's trumped by being pleased to see them progress.

    In Jamie's case he is stepping up two levels with Needham Market, after a year out with injury lets hope he's back playing again soon and banging in the goals again! AC

  17. lmfc blog

    For obvious reasons there's not a lot of football to report on this month, although the Reserves did belatedly end their season in positive fashion by beating Bury Rams and Mildenhall Town U18s to win the Mizkan Charity Cup (Hospice Cup).

    The big news this month was the departure of First Team manager Jules Mumford after the best part of 5 seasons at the club - I'm sure everyone is sad to see Jules go after the success we've had during his time at the club.

    As well as the good times we've had on the pitch getting promoted, winning the First Division and then staying in the Premier for two seasons, Jules has also been a credit to the club in the way he's conducted himself during his time at the club.

    Jules has never gloated when things have gone well and equally he hasn't made excuses when things haven't gone so well. He's also not the type of manager to square up to referees or opposition benches. He's been a great representive of the club over the past 5 seasons.

    It's nice that the club and Jules have parted on good terms as unfortunately that rarely happens in football  - but he will be nevetherless sorely missed.

    Jules will be a very tough act to follow but  I'm sure whoever becomes the new manager will be given a fair crack of the whip to take the team forward in their own style.

    It's a good job for someone to take over - admittedly we are one of the smallest clubs in the Premier but we're always striving hard to improve  and the underdog status has probably worked in our favour in recent years.  Nobody expected us to win the First Divsion title then avoid relegation for two seasons, so hopefully we can keep proving people wrong.

    The first pre-season friendly is on Saturday 8th July, which will be a very tough opener against Braintree Town  - all of the friendlies can be found on the website home page.

    On a more serious note we had some very sad news this month as Mrs Mills passed away. Mrs Mills was for many years a supporter and helper (on the admission gate) at Melford and although it's a cliche the news did really put 22 men kicking a ball around well and truly into perspective. Our condolences to Mrs Mills' family and friends. AC



  18. After 9 months of trying to fend off relegation, it was a nice moment when Ashley Skeggs made it 2-0 against Swaffham and we could all finally relax.

    The month had started with a 2-0 defeat at Fakenham - a fair result overall as Darren Moyes was always the busier of the two keepers.

    Two days later it was a much improved performance against local rivals Hadleigh United. There was a good atmosphere at Stoneylands with another 100+ crowd and both sides really needing the points.

    Although nobody wants to be in a relegation battle, there's no denying it does make the end of season more exciting when you have something to play for.

    The players seemed to enjoy the pressure of needing to win and really rose to the occasion to pick up 6 points against Hadleigh and Swaffham to get the club over the line.

    The Reserves had another good month in April picking up 7 points from 4 tough away matches - very encouraging for next season if we can keep the squad together and add a few new faces.

    With our clubhouse somewhat out of action the end of season awards night took place at the Bull Hotel. It was an enjoyable way to end the season (a report of the evening can be found elsewhere on the website).

    Congratulations to the all the players who won awards and also of course Rob Edwards who won the Clubman trophy - Rob has been a great addition behind the scenes, he's made a big impact since joining earlier in the season so it was nice to see him receive the Clubman award.

    To sum up the club's 2016/17 campaign, for the First Team it was that "difficult second season" that so many clubs have after performing above expectations the previous season.

    In the end it was a good effort picking up 40 points (exactly a point a game). The run of wins after Christmas against top half opponents like Kirkley, Yarmouth and Gorleston ended up proving to be a crucial stage of the season.

    The Reserves really turned their season around after a tough start and similar to the 1st Team have had to bounce back from some bad days to end up finishing the season with a lot more optimism.

    So overall it was a challenging but enjoyable season and after a short break we all start on 0 points again and get back on the rollercoaster for another 9 months! AC


  19. action photo

    PICTURED: Action from last week's match against Walsham, photo with thanks to Mark Westley @WestleyMJ

    Disaster struck at the club this month with the clubhouse roof collapsing due to storm damage - at least we are fortunate to have a back-up bar so it hasn't affected matchdays too much.

    However, the club has had to cancel private bookings for obvious reasons and we need the main bar/function room up and running again as soon as possible.

    To that end the club is trying to raise funds to go towards the substantial cost of a new roof - a big thank you to everyone who has made a donation whether online or in person - we are approaching £500 raised which is a great start in a short space of time.

    On the pitch, four defeats out of four this month means the First Team are still very much in the midst of a relegation battle. 

    We had hoped by now to be relaxing in mid-table obscurity with the players 'on the beach' but a tough March means one last big effort by the team is needed to get us over the line.

    There were some difficult games in March against in-form opposition and it's probably fair to say we haven't been at our best recently, but hopefully the team can rediscover the impressive form of January and February.

    Big gaps in the fixture list haven't helped because you do lose momentum - we have another blank Saturday today and next weekend off too. It's frustrating to have Saturdays off in March and April when the weather is finally improving, it should be the ideal time to play.

    The Easter Monday derby at home to Hadleigh (3pm kick off) is going to be the biggest match of the season, with the two sides separated by only a couple of points at the moment. 

    Hopefully Melford and Hadleigh supporters will turn out in force to get behind their team, there will be a lot riding on the game which always makes for a good match to watch; whatever happens I think we can safely say it won't be boring!

    On to the Reserves who continued their improvement in March - there were wins against Cornard and Saffron Walden and a draw with Woodbridge, which lifted the team out of the bottom two. 

    Although it's probably fair to say managers Ray Manser and Stuart Malseed were less than pleased with Saturday's performance at Stanway Rovers, in general the team has made big strides forward since the turn of the year.

    The club's reserve side went throughout 2016 without winning a League match, whereas a bit like London buses 4 wins have already arrived in quick succession in 2017. AC

  20. February started with a home match against FC Clacton. which was billed as a 'must win' game for both sides. It's probably fair to say apart from a couple of good goals in the second half it wasn't one of Melford's better performances of the season and there was a generous slice of luck involved in the 4-3 victory.

    In contrast the 1-0 win against high-flying Gorleston a few days later wasn't lucky at all, just a very good all round performance. I can't remember Darren Moyes in the Melford goal making a save in 90 minutes which shows how well the team defended. Gorleston had only lost once in the League and to beat teams like that Melford always need to be at their best, which they were against Gorleston with every player having a good game.

    The next match was a 1-1 draw with Ely City, a classic game of two halves really with Melford the better side in the first half, then Ely on top in the second. Ely's equaliser came quite late but I think everyone would agree it had been coming for a while, so it felt like a fair result in the end. 

    The away match at Godmanchester was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, frustrating for all concerned as it was the only Thurlow Nunn League match called off and it will presumably mean we have to make a midweek trip to Goddy instead (which brings back unhappy memories of last season!)

    Overall it was a good month with 7 points from 3 tough matches. It's also been good to see some bigger than usual attendances at Stoneylands with a combined total of 259 watching the 3 home matches this month.

    The Reserves only played twice in February due to the weather, a 1-0 win at Hadleigh and a 4-1 defeat at Stowmarket. Hopefully the weather will improve as we head into March because it's going to be a busy month for the Reserves with 6 matches scheduled (4 at home and 2 away).

    March starts with Friday night's First Team home game against Newmarket. That's going to be another tough match against a Newmarket side in great form at the moment and closing in on leaders Mildenhall. However as we've seen recently, when Melford play well they are capable of taking points off the best sides, so it will hopefully be another entertaining game.

    Then on Saturday the Reserves host Saffron Walden, with several connections to Walden in the current Melford squad that should be a lively encounter! AC



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