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  1. 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,


  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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



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