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  1. It was second v third (from bottom) at Stowmarket yesterday, two sides who had only won once in the League this season. Both sides went for the much-needed 3 points and attacked in numbers, as a result it was a very open match at times. Melford found themselves two goals down early on but fought back well to win 5-2 in a good team performance with all 14 players contributing.

    It’s fair to say that in recent years Melford haven’t had a reputation for being free-scoring, but it still came as a surprise to discover the last time Melford scored 5 goals in a league match was as long ago as October 2006!

    Melford’s squad on Saturday included 5 players under the age of 18, and again the youngsters gave a good account of themselves. What has impressed me most about the U18 players so far this season is that they all want to get on the ball and play attractive football, a good example being Will Wingfield’s pass of the season which led to Jack Durey completing his hat-trick on Saturday.

    There were impressive performances all over the pitch on Saturday with Chris Toole continuing his excellent form at centre half, alongside captain Michael Owen (who has been a much better signing than his namesake at Stoke City!). And of course Jack Durey was a constant threat and deserved his hat-trick.

    The Reserves beat their Stowmarket counterparts 5-3 at Stoneylands and they are back in action on Thursday night at neighbours Halstead Town Reserves (7.45pm) while on Saturday the 1st Team face Halstead at Stoneylands in the First Division Cup (3pm) followed by the Fireworks Night (see front page of website for more details).

    The U18s lost 5-1 at high-flying Stanway Rovers on Thursday but remain in a healthy league position (5th), Craig Power's side return to action at home to FC Clacton on Wednesday. ANDY CUSSANS

    • Results Forecast Update: One winner this week, who collects prize money of £50.
  2. Melford keeper Sam Mansfield underwent a major operation on Monday night to re-attach the collapsed lung to the chest wall. The operation was successful but Sam is obviously exhausted and in pain. Sam will hopefully be out of Papworth hospital by the weekend.

    Richie Partridge's short spell at the club (11 appearances/0 goals) has come to an end, he's left the club and last night was on the scoresheet for Team Bury in their win against Braintree Town Reserves. Another ex Melford player Danny Shipton played for AFC Sudbury's first team in the Ryman League on Saturday.

    Good luck to Brantham Athletic for the rest of this season's FA Vase, their reward for beating Melford on Saturday is a home tie against Cambridge University Press.

    On Saturday at Stoneylands the Reserves host neighbours AFC Sudbury in the Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup (3pm kick off and not 2.15pm as originally stated) while the 1st Team travel to Ipswich Wanderers in the league.

  3. Sam Mansfield’s car accident last week has obviously overshadowed Friday’s local derby. Several Melford players have visited Sam in hospital where he is making progress, but his collapsed lung is still not staying inflated.

    The club was fortunate to have talented former Team Bury keeper Liam Hastie ready to step up to the First Team at short notice on Friday, to replace Sam. After impressing in the Reserves this season, Liam’s home debut for the 1st Team against ended in a comfortable 3-0 win against Cornard United, in a match not helped by the wet conditions.

    Cornard are enduring another tough season but they worked hard throughout Friday’s match and in a local derby/Senior Cup tie were never going to be pushovers. However, Melford created plenty of chances despite not being at their best and were unlucky to hit the woodwork twice. The draw for the next round takes place live on Friday on BBC Radio Suffolk (between 6pm and 7pm).

    It was an entirely local Melford team that played on Friday, with two 17 year-olds in the starting line up, which is good to see. And the decision to play the game on Friday proved successful with the gate of 88 about double what it would have been on Saturday.

    Next up is the FA Vase tie with Premier Division side Brantham Athletic, which is a completely different type of challenge; instead of being favourites Melford will be the underdogs. Melford have already surpassed expectations by reaching the 1st Round Proper and winning £1200 prize money (the club’s best Vase run since 2004/05). 31 places separate the two sides in the League, so Brantham rightly start as heavy favourites but Melford have nothing to lose. And as always under Robbie and Jules, the players will give 100% whatever the scoreline.

    Good luck to Dan Cann who has moved on to Saffron Walden Town, where he will link up with his former Melford team-mate Paul Wood. Canno had a ‘one in two’ scoring record at Melford, which takes some doing especially as Melford were in the bottom half of the table for much of that period.

    Most of the Cup Final squad at Portman Road in May have now left the club, which is a shame but its also part and parcel of football at all levels. Clubs go through different eras, managers and players leave which means clubs have to rebuild. At the moment Melford are at the start of a new era and in a short space of time Robbie and Jules have worked miracles to build a competitive squad since taking over in July in difficult circumstances. There will be setbacks at times, which is inevitable for what is basically a completely new team, but things are progressing nicely.

    Off the pitch, the Co-Op have come on board in an exciting new sponsorship development and the new kit sponsored by Pizza Town in Sudbury has smartened Melford’s image up, as the old shirts were slowly falling apart.

    The Reserves travel to Newmarket Town in their last Chell Trophy group match on Wednesday, ideally needing a win to put the pressure on group leaders AFC Sudbury. Then on Thursday the U18s also visit Newmarket (in the Thurlow Nunn Youth League Cup) where Craig Power’s Melford team will want to build on last week’s impressive 4-1 win at Witham Town.

    Finally well done to the Ladies who won their opening two matches of the season, 2-1 at Bury Town and 4-0 at home to Brantham Athletic. ANDY CUSSANS



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