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  1. With a week to go until Christmas, here is a look at how the 1st Team, Reserves and Under 18s are getting on so far this season...

     1st Team:

    Current league position: 13th (out of 19 teams)     Points: 21

    Progress Report: The improvement under manager Jules Mumford has continued this season, and as long as expectations remain realistic (bearing in mind the club's 1st Team haven’t finished in the top half since the 2002/03 season), things will keep moving in the right direction.

    This time last year the 1st Team were in the bottom three with only 9 points on the board, and over the whole 2012/13 season around a quarter of Melford’s matches were lost by 4 goals or more. This season we’ve seen a clear improvement; the majority of matches have been closely fought, and the recent wins against Halstead and Saffron Walden showed that Melford are capable of beating anyone in the division.

    It was disappointing to fall at the first hurdle in the cups, especially in the two most important competitions, namely the Suffolk Senior Cup and FA Vase. However, he fact that Achilles have made it through to the semi-final of the Senior Cup and Hullbridge Sports are still going strong in the FA Vase (4th round) shows Melford lost to two good teams, which is certainly no disgrace.


    Current league position: 3rd (out of 10 teams)       Points: 13

    Progress Report: With manager Tony French assisted by Craig Power, the Reserves are enjoying a good season. Melford have had a good combination of experience and youth so far this season, with 8 members of Craig's Under 18 squad featuring this season alongside several older experienced players.

    The combination has worked well and victories against Newmarket Town, Stowmarket Town, Diss Town and Woodbridge Town have helped Melford to joint second in the table with 11 matches still to be played.

    Under 18s

    Current league position: 6th (out of 11 teams)     Points: 12

    Progress Report: Under 18s manager Craig Power has always placed more emphasise on performances and player development than on results. Which is not to say results haven’t been good (only 2 defeats in 8 league matches this season) but it’s refreshing to see a Youth manager who looks at the bigger picture and wants players to enjoy playing good football without the pressure of needing to get results.

    The highlight of the season so far was the FA Youth Cup run, with Melford eventually losing on penalties to Bury Town in a really entertaining cup tie at Stoneylands in front of a 100+ crowd.

    So far this season three Melford players have been selected to play for their county; Tom Wingfield, Reece White and Bob Addision all received Suffolk call-ups.

    As mentioned previously, 8 of the squad have played for the Reserves this season, while 7 players have featured in the 1st Team.

    • Long Melford Colts website has been given a new look and is up to date with all the Colts news, fixtures, results etc. CLICK HERE
    • The club has two matches left to play in 2013: Reserves v Saffron Walden (home) on Saturday 21st December and 1st Team v Haverhill Borough (home) on Saturday 28th December.
    • Finally we would like to wish everybody Merry Christmas and thank you to supporters and sponsors for your support throughout 2013.
  2. As we move into November the pitch is still looking in excellent condition and has been receiving praise from lots of people including Dag & Red youth team coach Chris Perry the former Spurs and Wimbledon defender who attended the recent FA Youth Cup tie at Stoneylands. Within seconds of Saturday's match finishing, Melford groundsman Ivan Whitehart was out on the pitch working his magic and with that level of care there's every hope of keeping the pitch in good shape over the winter.

    On Saturday the 1st Team won 3-1 at home to Downham Town. Both sides have found points hard to come by recently and that probably made it a fixture both sides felt they needed to get something from. Melford recovered from a sloppy start to pick up a much-needed three points with man of the match Jack Durey in outstanding form scoring two great goals.

    Jack has endured such a frustrating season so far because of injury, so it's great to see him playing 90 minutes again and back to the form he showed last season when he was scoring goals against some of the best sides in the division.

    The Reserves' kept their 100% winning league record going at Diss Town with Tom Perry scoring a hat-trick in a 6-1 victory. 11 goals scored in three games and only a single goal conceded tell its own story. It's a young reserve team at the moment with a few experienced players in there as well and that's probably the ideal blend at reserve level (at Senior level you ideally want the opposite: mostly experienced players with a few youngsters). 

    This week we play our neighbours from across the border (Halstead Town) three times (see elsewhere on website for dates, kick off times etc.) The hardest game of the three will be our 1st team's fixture at Rosemary Lane, as Halstead's 1st Team have had an excellent start to the season taking 31 points from 12 matches and they're really flying at the moment. But the last three performances by Melford have been impressive, helped by the influence of several new signings and a few players returning to full fitness, so I'm sure Jules and the squad will go into Saturday's match with plenty of confidence.



  3. The main talking point at the club this week was the Under 18's FA Youth Cup tie on Thursday. Melford's opponents Bury Town play their league football at a higher level (the Eastern Junior Alliance) but Craig Power's side more than matched them on the night and it was a great game to watch, probably the most entertaining game at Stoneylands in recent years.

    For a match to be really entertaining to watch at this level you need several things to come together all at once: a sense of occasion, a large crowd around the 100 mark, good weather conditions for football, a nice pitch, and two evenly matched teams who both play good football. All of those factors don't come together very often at Melford but we had them all on Thursday and as a result it was a very memorable occasion.

    The only disappointment of course was the way the game ended, to lose on penalties is always tough but to lose because an injured player misses a penalty is especially cruel. It was unfortunate but nobody could have predicted that Tom would need to take a penalty, as how often do all 22 players take a penalty in a shootout? But credit to Tom for stepping up (or hobbling up) and giving it a go for the team.

    Perhaps the clearest sign that it wasn't going to be Melford's night was in the second half of normal time when the assistant referee (with an excellent view of the incident) flagged for a penalty but the referee ignored him, when that happens you know lady luck isn't on your side!

    In the end it was a bit like the conclusion of the first Rocky film, although Rocky has lost he has given absolutely everything and gone toe to toe with an opponent most people expected to beat him with ease, when you've done that in sport there should be immense pride and hopefully that's how all of the of the Under 18s will look back on Thursday evening.

    On Saturday the 1st Team put in a good performance at in-form Great Yarmouth Town but lost to two second half goals. It was the first time in over a year that our 1st Team have named a squad that didn't include any U18 players but after Thursday's exhausting FA Youth Cup encounter that was always to be expected. By all accounts Melford played well in difficult circumstances and will now look forward to two key matches this week starting on Wednesday at home to AFC Sudbury Reserves in the Red Insure Cup then another home match against Downham Town in the league on Saturday.

    Elsewhere, there were narrow defeats this weekend for the Reserves (2-3 at home to Halstead Town) and the Ladies (1-2 at home to Brantham Athletic). More details of both of those matches to follow shortly.



  4. The 2013/14 season is only a fortnight old and already we’ve seen plenty of ups and downs at Melford. Perhaps the key to football, especially at this level where no one’s livelihood depends on results, is to enjoy the good moments and not get too down when things don’t go well.

    Melford were leading in 4 of their 5 league matches so on that basis it is a little disappointing not to have more points on the board. On the other hand, we have played some very good sides at a difficult time when we’ve had so many players unavailable due to injuries and holidays etc (Sam Mansfield is the only player to have started all 5 matches this season), so to get 6 points on the board is a good start.

    The Melford defence took a bit of criticism after the defeat at Debenham but it’s important to give credit where its due as well. We defended well against Stowmarket and March and played over 100 consecutive minutes against Swaffham and Halstead without conceding, so we have defended well for long periods but mistakes have been punished and goals have arrived in clusters.

    Consequently it was very impressive that Melford held firm on Saturday when March pulled a goal back and alarm bells were ringing. The match really should have been put to bed in the first half when Melford were completely dominant and played some really incisive, entertaining football. But credit to March who came back strongly in the second half.

    Just like last season, it’s been good to see young, local players playing in the first team at Melford. Four 16-year-olds, four 18-year-olds and a 19-year-old all from the local area have played this season and done well.

    The Reserves have to wait until Saturday 7th September to get their season underway (away to Halstead Town in the Chell Trophy group stage) while  the Under 18s’ Thurlow Nunn Youth League campaign starts on Wednesday at home to Brantham Athletic.

    By the sounds of it, Under 18s Manager Craig Power will have a very young squad this season, hopefully the young lads will enjoy playing at a good standard and learn a lot along the way. Craig has a reputation for his teams playing attractive football on the deck, the improved pitch at Melford will help with this and it will be interesting to see how the team progresses.

  5. A month since I last updated this page of the website and how things have changed at Melford in that short space of time. New First Team manager Jules Mumford and his assistant Nick Guyon must be delighted with their first 4 matches in charge. 7 points on the board, 9 goals scored and only 3 goals conceded. Two of those games were against promotion contenders, so it has been a huge improvement and for the first time since the beginning of the season Melford move out of the bottom three. A new system on the pitch has worked perfectly in every game so far and the players individually and collectively have been outstanding, both in terms of effort and the football they’ve played.

    Yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Saffron Walden, the first point Melford have taken off a top 6 side all season, was another entertaining game and a very competitive performance by Melford against a Walden side who are unbeaten in the league since October and prior to yesterday had won 8 of their previous 10 league matches. There’s some more tough games coming up soon, starting with a trip to Senior Cup finalists Whitton United on Saturday, but certainly after competing well against CUP and Walden there is plenty of confidence in the Melford camp at the moment.

    On to the Reserves and there was disappointment in the semi-final of the Chell Trophy last week, losing on penalties after a 0-0 draw in extra time. A penalty shootout is always the worst way to lose a match but to keep a clean sheet against a high scoring team like Walsham was a very good effort and bodes well for the rest of the season.

    Clinton Hastie has taken on match report duty of reserve team matches so visitors to the website will now have a better idea of how the Reserves are progressing. The Reserves fielded a very young side at Diss Town yesterday with 7 teenagers in the squad and by all accounts should have won the match but nevertheless returned from Norfolk with a useful point.

    The U18s after finally ending local rivals Cornard United’s 100% winning record last week, came unstuck against Felixstowe & Walton Utd on Wednesday, clearly not having their full strength side made life hard for Melford but manager Craig Power was pleased with his side’s effort on a difficult night and they stay 3rd in the table with 6 matches still to be played this season.

    And last but not least the Ladies are also 3rd in their table after a 4-0 win at Waveney Wanderers (in Lowestoft) last weekend with goals scored by Amy Harrington, Lizzie Anderson, Immie Wyatt and an Own Goal.

  6. Looking back at recent matches, a fortnight ago the 1st Team put in a good performance at Team Bury and left Ram Meadow with a point for their efforts. The young Bury side were impressive going forward and put Melford under a lot of pressure. But Melford looked dangerous themselves on the counter attack and always carried a goal threat, two very different but equally good goals from Ashley Williams and Tom Wingfield earned a welcome point.

    Next up was the eagerly awaited Senior Cup quarter final against Crane Sports. It was a similar game to last year’s quarter final with Achilles: closely fought, scrappy, only a handful of genuine chances for either side. On the balance of play over the 90 minutes it’s hard to disagree that Cranes did just enough to shade it, but the key turning point was obviously the penalty. As the TV pundits would say, if that was a penalty then you’d need to give 10 penalties a match because there is holding and pushing at every free kick and corner.

    Up to that point Melford had looked comfortable after taking an early lead through an outstanding goal from Tom Wingfield after good work down the left by Ashley Williams. After the penalty Melford faded and in the second half apart from a few half chances couldn’t really work the Cranes keeper.

    The Reserves haven’t played since 5th January when goals from Lewis Cawtheray and Stuart Whitehart earned a 2-2 draw with Woodbridge Town at Stoneylands. The weather has disrupted their recent schedule, with tomorrow night’s match at Halstead Town the latest game to be called off, but hopefully the Reserves will return to action at Ipswich Wanderers on Saturday.

    The U18s’ have also been affected by the weather and haven’t played since the 3-3 draw on 9th January against Haverhill Rovers when Melford came back 3-1 down to earn a point, goals scored by Joff Anselmi (2) and Jake Boyton. Craig Power’s side are scheduled to visit Wivenhoe Town on Thursday, keep an eye on the website for updates on whether this match will survive the weather.

    The Ladies are still waiting to play their first match of 2013, weather permitting their rearranged Cup tie at Bury Town will take place on Sunday (2pm kick off at Ram Meadow).

  7. 2012 started with a 5-0 defeat and ended with a 6-0 defeat but thankfully in between there were some better times for Melford on the pitch. The highlight of course was a trip to Ipswich Town in May to contest the Suffolk Senior Cup Final, although a cruel way to lose the final it was a memorable occasion for all concerned.

    The best result of the year by some distance was the 3-2 win at Premier Division side Woodbridge Town in the FA Vase in October thanks to Will Wingfield’s late brace. The worst result was a close call between the 6-0 defeat at Halstead or 3-1 defeat at London APSA in the FA Cup.

    Melford’s best player of 2012 was in most people’s eyes Martin Westcott, who scored 14 goals in the calendar year and hardly missed a match. He’s played as a winger, centre back and defensive midfielder, always giving 100%. A great example to the younger players at the club, unless they want advice on how to take penalties…

    In the Summer the club said goodbye to Jason Maher who left with a more than respectable record as Melford manager and is now back in the game at Diss Town where he brought in Ashley Skeggs, who by all accounts has made a very bright start at Diss. Other long-serving players to move on during 2012 were Dan Grindrod, Paul Wood and Dan Cann (all to Saffron Walden), they've had bad luck with injuries recently but will hopefully be in the Walden squad that visits Stoneylands in March.

    It was always going to be tough this season and long term injuries to Sam Mansfield, Justin Crissell, Dan Gammage, Ashley Williams and Jack Durey made it even harder. However a combination of players stepping up from the U18s, Reserves and local football plus a few seasoned campaigners have battled against the odds to record 7 wins and 3 draws (in all competitions). Not bad considering the circumstances and in all honesty much better than I expected back in August.

    Certainly the influx of U18s from September onwards made a big difference to the quality of the squad. It’s been great to see players who I remember reading about in their LMFC Colts’ days end up making their Senior debuts with Melford.

    The way the U18s have played in Senior football this season suggests they’ve had very good coaching over the years: they all have good technique, composure on the ball and play without any dissent or bad attitude. The only downside is that with four 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old in the squad at the moment I’m starting to feel very old all of a sudden.

    Hopefully now that a few of the older players are starting to return from injury it will be a more balanced squad in the second half of the season, a mixture of youth and experience. And off the field, lets hope 2013 is a less turbulent year for the club. Happy New Year. Andy



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