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  1. At the start of the year everything looked rosy at the club; 5th in the Premier, scoring plenty of goals and hardly conceding any at the other end.

                 However, 2016/17 has so far been the "difficult second season" that so many clubs experience after they exceed all expectations the previous season. 

                The injury to Jamie Griffiths in pre-season was obviously a big turning point. People will say one man shouldn't make that much difference in a team sport. However, can you imagine Wales without Gareth Bale or the England cricket team without Joe Root?

                 Sometimes a player is so influential to a team that they are simply irreplaceable. In Griff's case we are talking about arguably the best player ever to represent the club, so he is obviously sorely missed.

                At times this season we've just had to admit we've been beaten by the better side. In other matches we've played good football but haven't always got what we deserved.

                The consistency has been lacking which means it's felt like one step forward, two steps backwards at times, but it's not through lack of effort.

                From a supporter's point of view, we've been pretty spoilt over the last couple of seasons (43 league wins in 14/15 and 15/16 combined). However, football is all about ups and downs and we are fortunate to have a loyal group of supporters who are always there through the tough times as well.

                Over the coming months it's clearly going to be a scrap to stay in the Premier. The home matches against sides around us in the bottom half (Hadleigh, Swaffham, Clacton, Walsham etc) look likely to be the key fixtures and will probably decide our fate.

    The Reserves' difficulties in 2016 have been well documented. Hopefully given time the recently appointed managers Ray Manser and Stuart Malseed can turn things around. It is a difficult job but if you look at the Reserves setup at other similar sized clubs it is not impossible to get things right. 

                Off the pitch in 2016, we welcomed a new director, Peter Turner, who has been an excellent addition behind the scenes since joining the club in August.

                Thank you as always to First Team kit sponsor the Melford Valley. New sponsors like Nethergate Brewery and Nicholas King Homes and others have also come forward in 2016 for which we are very grateful.  Player sponsorship has been well supported again this year with 17 players sponsored.

                 Groundsman Ivan Whitehart is in his fourth season with the club and we continue to regularly receive praise for the excellent job he does looking after the pitch. Well done to Ivan.  

    All that remains to be said is to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. AC

  2. The 1st Team picked up 4 points from 4 league games this month; a draw with Fakenham (1-1) was followed by a win at Walsham (3-0) and narrow defeats against Mildenhall (1-2) and Haverhill Rovers (2-3).

    At the start of the month we would probably have been happy with a point a game on average from these fixtures but you can't help thinking the performances against Mildenhall and Haverhill deserved better. When just one moment in 90 minutes makes all the difference it always feels harsh because the margins are so small sometimes.

    Doubtless our opponents would beg to differ, in fact after reading the Mildenhall manager's comments in the EADT it seems we were lucky not to lose by a cricket score!

    Overall though it's been good to see the team string together several good performances in a row. November has been the most consistent month of the season so far in terms of performance, so hopefully that can continue into December.

    Earlier this month the club appointed a new management team for the Reserves - Ray Manser and Stuart Malseed. No league wins for the Reserves in 2016 tells you all you need to know about what a tough job Ray and Stuart have on their hands. 

    An improvement is obviously needed because every club at this level needs a strong Reserves setup. Ray has won a league title with Saffron Walden Reserves so he is the ideal man to bring in to help turn things around. 

    A gap in the fixture list in December will hopefully give the new managers some time to sort various things out and then hit the ground running in the New Year. AC

  3. october_review

    Looking back at the matches this month it feels a little harsh to have only collected the one point.

    Performances have been mixed but in several matches there were spells where it looked like Melford could get a draw or a win only to end up losing, which is unfortunately how it goes when you're finding points hard to come by. The old cliche about not getting the breaks when you're on a losing streak always seems to be true.

    But it was nice to finish October on a positive note with the 2-2 draw at Saffron Walden on Friday. It was a good game to watch for the bumper crowd, football under the lights always seems that little bit more exciting and the weather was perfect which always helps.

    A few new signings have strengthened the squad; Ross Elkins from Haverhill Rovers has made an impressive start with some dominant performances in central midfield. TJ LePage stepping up a level from Cornard looks assured in the Premier, scoring his first goal for Melford with a towering header against Walden.

    Another player scoring his first goal for the club on Friday was Hassan Ally; it was nice to see him open his account, he's an entertaining player to watch with pace and skill and looks at home at this level after stepping up from the Border League.

    Hopefully if we see more of the type of performances seen in the Newmarket, Brantham and Walden games this month then the points will come and we can begin to climb the table. AC

    • The club's fixtures in early November are as follows:

    Tuesday 01 November: 1st Team away v AFC Sudbury Res. (League Cup, 7.45pm)

    Wednesday 02 November: Reserves home v Stowmarket Town Res. (League, 7.45pm)

    Saturday 05 November: 1st Team home v Fakenham Town (League, 3pm)

    Wednesday 09 November: Reserves home v Halstead Town (Chell Trophy, 7.45pm)

  4. I missed the Thetford, Ipswich and Stanway matches this month so it's difficult to comment too much - but to sum up September it was a good effort to take 6 points from a tough set of fixtures.

    There were defeats to Stanway, Thetford and Felixstowe who are all in the top 5. It was unfortunate to meet them all within the space of a month, especially having already faced Stanway in August.

    The general consensus is probably that we did compete well at times in those games but in the end were beaten by the better side.

    However, the wins against Ipswich Wanderers and Swaffham made it a decent month with 6 points collected; we could have gone through September unbeaten and only picked up 5 points.

    The last minute FA Vase exit was a tough one to take after going 2-1 up but we wish Baldock well in the next round away to Biggleswade.

    On Saturday the difficult run of fixtures continues when leaders Mildenhall Town visit Melford. We're looking forward to welcoming back former manager Paul Grainger who after leaving Harwich last month has resumed his popular non-league Blog where he writes about his visits to various East Anglian football matches.

    It is well worth a read and can be found at...

  5. august

    One month into the season and there's a symmetrical look to the First Team's results so far; 2 wins, 4 draws and 2 defeats. That's probably a fair reflection of how the team performed throughout August.

    It's been a tough start with as many as 7 regulars getting injured either in pre-season or the season itself. After two seasons of being generally lucky with injuries, it's fair to say our luck run out this summer!

    This has made a difficult challenge even harder but the new players who have come in to the side - either from the Reserves or the new signings - have all done well and that has helped the team make a solid start to the season with 7 points on the board.

    The Reserves have only played the one League game so far, it was a defeat to Whitton but it's basically an entire new squad this season so a bit of time and patience will be needed. They certainly seem to be heading in the right direction under the new management with a lot of experienced new signings and also some younger lads too.

    Off the pitch, it's great to have Peter Turner join the Board and he's already made a positive impression in a short space of time.

    On the fundraising side, the 50/50 raffle is going from strength to strength with some big cash prizes as well as obviously making money for the club at the same time - and we now have 14 player sponsors which is also great to see. AC



  6. The summer break has flown by and the friendlies start in less than a fortnight (at home to Ryman League club Brightlingsea Regent on Friday 15 July, 7.45pm kick off).

    The start date for the new season seems to be a bit up in the air, initial rumours said it could start in July but unsurprisingly the clubs were not happy with that. The fixtures aren't out yet but one confirmed match is Saffron Walden Town v Long Melford on Friday 7 October (part of the Thurlow Nunn League Groundhop Weekend). FA Cup and FA Vase draws are expected to be announced at the end of next week.

    The squad is back in training and as always at this time of year, supporters want to know which players have resigned (or should that be re-signed?!). As soon as it's confirmed who has signed forms for the new season, we'll let everyone know via the website.

    The main talking point at the club so far this summer is the arrival of new coach Jamie Bradbury and also a new management team for the Reserves.

    Jamie was recently at Boxted Lodgers in the Border League, his coaching CV is very impressive and everything suggests he will be an excellent addition to the club.

    Jamie replaces previous coach Glenn Eldridge who we thank for his contribution over two outstanding seasons. Glenn has joined Harwich & Parkeston as manager where he has appointed another former Melford man in Paul Grainger as his assistant manager.

    The Reserves' management team of Edd Keogh, James Janzen and Gary Watson replace Jack Durey and Myles Clark who again we thank for their efforts last season. Managing a reserve side is often said to be the toughest job in non-league so hopefully Edd, James and Gary will get plenty of support from everyone at the club. We'll update the website with player news and pre-season friendlies etc when confirmed.

    Other news this summer is that the club will not be running a Under 18 team this season, having withdrawn from the Thurlow Nunn Youth League. Hopefully there will still be opportunities for local youngsters to play for the club's reserve side.

    Off the pitch, Melford Valley have signed up as First Team Sponsor for a third consecutive season. A big thank you to the Melford Valley, it's great to have you on board for another season.

    And finally, the club is hosting the Melford Crank Up tomorrow (Sunday 3rd July), more details about the event in this link [click here]  AC

  7. Here is a photo of our president as you've never seen him before...

    lmfc blog

    On Saturday the visitors to Stoneylands are Gorleston who of course came to Melford earlier in the season, when the match was abandoned at half time due to floodlight failure.

              It was probably mixed emotions for Gorleston on the day; on the one hand relief after being 3-1 down at the time, but on the other hand the realisation they are going to end up travelling about 320 miles to play one league match!

    Saturday's match is sponsored by Mike Brent, a big thank you to Mike and we look forward to welcoming you to Stoneylands on Saturday. AC

    • Contrary to our earlier tweet/Facebook post, the Under 18s are at AFC Sudbury tomorrow in the Youth Cup
    • On Sunday (3rd April) the club is hosting the Treadfirst SSL Div.2 Cup Final...Assington -v- Royal Exchange, Entry: Adults £3, U18 Free, Food/refreshments available.
    • The club will be hosting the Suffolk Veterans Cup Final between Woodbridge Town and Bury Town on Sunday 17 April, 2.30pm ko
  8. 4 points from 4 games this month; not a great return but finishing 6th is still the realistic target, so it's status quo in terms of league position.

    The month started with a short journey to Hadleigh United and a hard fought 1-0 win. The wind made life tough for both sides and Melford had a slice of luck as the home side hit the bar when a goal looked a certainty, then Ross Waugh scored a late winner after a corner caused havoc in the Hadleigh defence.

    Next up was an uneventful home game against Branthan Athletic. On another day Melford would have picked up a point in a 0-0 draw but overall you had to be honest and say Brantham were the better side on the day, playing some nice football, while Melford didn't really fire.

    I missed the defeat in the next match at Whitton but when I read in the match report that a player of Jamie Griffiths' quality had four one on ones before half time and missed them all, I sense it was just a day to forget!

    February ended with a trip to Thetford and a very entertaining game, although not always for the right reasons!

    As always at Thetford, the "bants" from the home fans was relentless and the pitch was bobbly. The less said about the red card the better, but after being a man down and a goal down with an hour still to play, to go home with a point almost felt like a win in the circumstances. Again it spoke volumes about the team spirit to somehow get something from a game that seemed to have slipped well and truly away.

    The only complaint you could make about Melford this season is that too many soft goals and penalties have been conceded, that was again evident on Saturday. But hopefully the defence can get back to its best soon, it's only last month they conceded just one goal in 8 and a half hours so we know how good they can be.

    The controversial goal scored by Guiseley against Braintree Town at the weekend (click here) reminded Melford fans of a similar situation at Thetford several years ago. However, on that occasion Thetford showed class to allow Melford to score an equaliser. Sadly, Guiseley didn't and Braintree were robbed of 2 points. AC



  9. A slightly disappointing end to the month but overall things have gone very well lately; unbeaten in 6 league matches and up to 5th in the Thurlow Nunn Premier.

    The Boxing Day win at Haverhill Rovers seems to have been a turning point and since then the team's form has been very consistent.

    The month started with a 0-0 draw against 2nd-placed Felixstowe, an excellent performance and the players were rightly clapped off the pitch. Next up was a  3-0 win against Walsham. It was hard work in the first half and it needed a special Jamie Griffiths strike to change the match. In-form striker Scott Yearling scored twice in the second half to make it a comfortable three points.

    After that we travelled to Mildenhall and won 2-1 thanks to another brace from Scotty Yearling who scored two great goals to beat tough opposition.

    Then it was back to Stoneylands for a home match against Kirkley & Pakefield and a hard fought 1-0 win with Jamie Griffiths scoring the winner after Kirkley made a mistake at the back.

    Next came the League Cup quarter final at home to Mildenhall. I missed this one but by all accounts it was a very close game and could have gone either way. But after getting a bit of luck to win a tight match against Kirkley, it's hard to complain about a narrow defeat in the next game; when the margins are so small between winning and losing you have to take the rough with the smooth.

    January finished with a 2-2 draw with Swaffham Town. A below par performance and in the first half the players looked tired after Wednesday's cup tie, but in the second half they really dug deep and showed great spirit not to be beaten.

    Off the pitch, the raffle at home matches organised by Maureen (50% of proceeds go to the winner and the other 50% goes to the club) has been well supported so far and thanks to John Nunn's application being accepted we are now part of the Co-op's Community Token Scheme (more details on the home page of the website).

    There's been a great response to the interview with Melford Heisler. A lot of supporters had seen Melford's name in the programme this season and wondered who he is. Thanks to Melford for his support from over 3,500 miles away!

    Finally congratulations to Ipswich Wanderers who are only one match away from the quarter finals of the FA Vase after their impressive 3-1 win at Bodmin Town yesterday. To be that close to the Wembley final is a great effort and it also reflects very well on the standard of the Thurlow Nunn Premier.

    When you see how far Wanderers have gone in the Vase this season yet they can still lose 3-0 to 16th-placed Saffron Walden last week, it shows the strength of the league.

    February starts with a short trip to Hadleigh United on Saturday. AC



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