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Match Report v Norwich United (a)

NORWICH UNITED 1 - 0 LONG MELFORD

THURLOW NUNN PREMIER - SAT 29 SEP - ATT: 78

Pictured: Elliot Walker made his 50th appearance for the club in today's match. Photo by Pengelly Photography

Following Wednesday’s solid performance and well-deserved victory over Brantham Athletic at Stoneylands, it was a frustrating afternoon for The Villagers as they travelled north to Norwich.

Against a Norwich United side that had a similar record to Melford, losing just twice in the league going into the game, the visitors were slow to get going on a hard and bobbly pitch that made keeping the ball on the floor a difficult proposition.

It took Melford 35 minutes to really get in the swing of things, by which time the Planters had already scored the game’s only goal through George Watts-Sturrock’s 15th-minute header.

What looked a fairly routine attack to deal with for Melford, a lofted cross from the right somehow found the Norwich forward at the back post, unmarked, to nod simply into net.

Though Norwich looked the more vibrant in the opening stages, Morrison was rarely troubled in the Melford goal, while at the other end Luke Pearson was in good form to repel the visitor’s best effort in the first half.

A trademark Hassan Ally run, cutting inside from the left, allowed the winger space to drill a decent effort on target from the edge of the box, but Pearson at full stretch was equal to it.

David Lopez, Pablo Chaves and Andy Fisher all had opportunities inside the box, but the stout Norwich defence, determined to keep their lead intact, threw their bodies in the way to keep Melford at bay.

Two changes of formation for Melford in the second half, first moving to a 4-4-2 then to a 3-5-2 with captain Steve Adams pushing up top, provided the visitors with even more attacking options as they went more direct in search of the equaliser.

An Adams header across goal was met by Ant Waugh at the far post, but he couldn’t generate the required power from six yards to ripple the net, as his head was cleared from the line.

In an audacious attempt from a free-kick 30 yards out, David Lopez spotted Pearson off his near post expecting a deeper delivery into the area. Instead of crossing, the Spaniard delivered an almost inch-perfect strike towards goal, but the ball cannoned off the outside of the post with the keeper stranded, and bounced away to safety.

Ultimately, Melford were made to pay for their slow start, taking too long to adapt to the surface, and despite their efforts to salvage a point, they failed to come up with an answer to Norwich’s determined defending as the home side ran out deserved winners.

The result moves the Planters up to third in the table, while Melford slip to 12th as a tough September comes to an end.

MELFORD: 1 Glen Morrison; 2 Sam Bayliss; 3 Daniel Swain; 4 Elliot Walker; 5 Steve Adams ©, 6 Anthony Waugh, 7 Hassan Ally, 8 David Lopez, 9 Will Wingfield, 10 Pablo Chaves, 11 Andy Fisher

Subs: 12 Sam Newton (for Bayliss, 75), 14 Jake Jackson (for Fisher, 65) not used: 15 Callum Hemson, 16 Jamie Bradbury

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