Saturday's local football round-up

LATE JOY: Needham Market players celebrate Adam Mills' late goal at Bloomfields, which earned them an important point against play-off chasing Hendon  Picture: Ben Pooley
LATE JOY: Needham Market players celebrate Adam Mills' late goal at Bloomfields, which earned them an important point against play-off chasing Hendon Picture: Ben Pooley

A late goal secured Needham Market's first point of 2018 while it was a high five for Newmarket Town and there were good wins for AFC Sudbury, Soham Town Rangers and Halstead Town.

Needham Market had gone into their home match with play-off chasing Hendon just five points and three places above the Bostik League Premier Division relegation spot after four straight defeats.

But they bossed the first half and were unfortunate not to be ahead at the break after Josh Walker equalised ex-AFC Sudbury midfielder Jeremiah Kamanzi's 13th minute opener, which had come from a low effort from a free-kick routine for his first for the club, with a close-range finish 33 minutes in.

Needham started the second half strongly but were soon hit by two quickfire Ashley Nathaniel-George goals, on 50 and 54, that looked to be writing another hard luck story for Richard Wilkins' men.

But ex-AFC Sudbury striker Mills pulled a goal back on the hour mark and then came to his side's rescue, to the delight of the vast majority of the 239 crowd, with a low far-post finish from loan signing Bredan Ocran's excellent cross on his debut with two minutes remaining to seal a thrilling 3-3 draw.

With two of the bottom three, in Burgess Hill Town and Worthing, seeing their games called off, it saw Needham go six points clear of the bottom, though having played more games than their rivals.

FEELING GOOD: Long Melford's Anthony Waugh celebrates his goal in his side's 2-2 draw with Gorleston at Stoneylands  Picture: Mecha Morton

FEELING GOOD: Long Melford's Anthony Waugh celebrates his goal in his side's 2-2 draw with Gorleston at Stoneylands Picture: Mecha Morton

In the Bostik League North Division, AFC Sudbury (14th) made a flying start at the King's Marsh Stadium to overcome play-off chasing Barking 3-1, for their first victory since Boxing Day.

Former Cambridge United attacking midfielder Ryan Horne scored twice inside the first 12 minutes before captain Joe Whight dispatched a 34th minute penalty to put the Yellows well in command at the interval.

Barking were only able to get on the scoresheet via the penalty spot, with Billy Jones tucking away what was to be merely a consolation goal 10 minutes from time as their play-off push stuttered.

Bury Town saw their quest for a play-off spot dented with a second successive away defeat, this time a 1-0 reverse at Aveley, a side who went into the afternoon 10 places below the Blues in the table.

AT THE DOUBLE: Ryan Horne scored twice for AFC Sudbury in their 3-1 home win over Barking  Picture: Mecha Morton

AT THE DOUBLE: Ryan Horne scored twice for AFC Sudbury in their 3-1 home win over Barking Picture: Mecha Morton

The telling goal on the 3G pitch came in the opening 10 minutes via Ryan Cosson, who headed in Chris Bourne's corner, with the hosts going on to hit the post three times in the opening 45 minutes.

But The Millers did have to ride their luck late on, as the crossbar was all that denied Bury's Tevan Allen from scoring.

The results leaves Ben Chenery's side still in ninth place but now six, from five, points adrift of the top six spots, which guarantee a play-off berth, with games in hand working for their rivals.

Soham Town Rangers are well out of the play-off picture after a bad run of defeats after Christmas, but Robbie Mason's 15th placed side put a spanner in the works at promotion-chasing Canvey Island in one of the results of the day, in a 3-0 win.

HOME DEBUT: Striker Phil Kelly, recently signed from Brightlingsea Regent, in action against Barking  Picture: Mecha Morton

HOME DEBUT: Striker Phil Kelly, recently signed from Brightlingsea Regent, in action against Barking Picture: Mecha Morton

Callum Russell put the Greens ahead in the 13th minute before Jon Kaye doubled their advantage just before the half-an-hour mark for a 2-0 lead at the break,

Russell put the result beyond doubt from the penalty spot with nine minutes to play in what was Soham's first win in six games.

In the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, Newmarket Town (7th) pulled off one of the results of the day with a 5-0 home win over Walsham-le-Willows (19th) to give manager Kevin Grainger the perfect send-off after he announced he was to move into a chairman role with assistant Michael Shinn taking over in the dugout.

There was no hint of a goalfest after the sides went into the break level at 0-0, but Stephen Spriggs and Shaun Avis scored quickly after the restart.

Spriggs bagged two more for his hat-trick before returning striker Lewis Whitehead continued the feelgood factor with a fifth.

After conceding five at Histon last time out (5-2 defeat), Hadleigh United fared even worse this weekend with a 6-0 thrashing at Wroxham to leave Shane Wardley's side deep in relegation trouble.

HEADS UP: Match action from Haverhill Rovers' 2-0 home defeat to Godmanchester Rovers Picture: Mark Bullimore

HEADS UP: Match action from Haverhill Rovers' 2-0 home defeat to Godmanchester Rovers Picture: Mark Bullimore

Thetford Town got back to winning ways at home to Saffron Walden Town with a 3-2 success, though they had led 3-0 by the break after goals from Dane Coomber-Willis, and a brace from top scorer Max Melanson.

Long Melford (17th) drew 2-2 at home to 14th place Gorleston, but all the talk at the club was about the first goal, which was scored in the first half by Anthony Waugh - his first in more than 150 games for the Villagers. That had given the hosts a 1-0 interval lead.

Haverhill Borough (20th) took a point home from their trip to Great Yarmouth after coming from 2-0 down at half-time to draw 2-2, but there was to be no comeback from Haverhill Rovers (16th) at The New Croft as they went down to a goal in each half at home to Godmanchester Rovers, while Ely City (10th) scored a late equaliser at home to Stanway Rovers in a 1-1 draw with the goal credited to Alex Theobald.

Stowmarket Town move down a place to third after their scheduled game at Wivenhoe Town was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, coupled with Brantham Athletic winning 1-0 at Fakenham Town.

In the Thurlow Nunn League First Division, there were a number of call-offs due to unfit pitches, including Team Bury's home game with Cornard United and Framlingham Town's home game with March Town United.

But Halstead Town (9th) were able to play at Downham Town and made it successive away victories with a 3-1 success coming after Jack Schelvis having out them ahead in the 25th minute before second half strikes from Marcus Warren (67') and Adam Hampson (70').

Elsewhere, Debenham LC (8th) drew 2-2 at home to Wisbech St Mary with recently-signed ex-Haverhill Borough player/manager Martin Wescott scoring both The Hornets' goals, though for Diss Town (14th) it was a thoroughly miserable afternoon as they lost 3-0 at home to Braintree Town Reserves.

POSTPONED GAMES:

* Mildenhall Town v Witham Town

* Wivenhoe Town v Stowmarket Town

* Team Bury v Cornard United

* Framlingham Town v March Town United

- For match reaction and previews to the week ahead, see next week's papers.

DEFT FINISH: Stephen Spriggs scores one of six goals that flew in against Walsham-le-Willows at Newmarket Town this afternoon  Picture: Mark Westley

DEFT FINISH: Stephen Spriggs scores one of six goals that flew in against Walsham-le-Willows at Newmarket Town this afternoon Picture: Mark Westley

UNDER PRESSURE: Tom Coombe comes to clear for Walsham-le-Willows at Newmarket Town  Picture: Mark Westley

UNDER PRESSURE: Tom Coombe comes to clear for Walsham-le-Willows at Newmarket Town Picture: Mark Westley

DISS-PAIR: It's an easy finish for Braintree Town Reserves' number eight Mark Dallinger at Diss Town, who were to succumb to a 3-0 defeat at Brewers Green Lane  Picture: Gary Donnison

DISS-PAIR: It's an easy finish for Braintree Town Reserves' number eight Mark Dallinger at Diss Town, who were to succumb to a 3-0 defeat at Brewers Green Lane Picture: Gary Donnison