Kirkley and Pakefield 0, Mildenhall 1
KIRKLEY & Pakefield suffered their first league defeat of 2011 as Mildenhall opened up an eight-point gap between themselves and the Royals by claiming the three points.
Yet in a similar theme to the Wisbech match, Jon Reynolds' young side played extremely well against a strong Mildenhall side, who were more than happy to settle on their one goal lead given to them by John Sands' 39th minute effort.
New signing Toby Kerslake, from Leiston, slotted into the midfield from the start as Kyle Baker returned in attack to partner Ryan Crisp.
Kirkley started the match brightly as Crisp provided some neat touches before Ryan Bloomfield crossed for Kyle Baker to head over on 3 minutes. The match continued in the same fashion as Bodie Carter shot wide and visiting shot-stopper Josh Pope reacted brilliantly to save Alex Holmes' effort from a one on one situation.
The Royals seemed to be well up for the match as the young team won the crucial challenges, the stand out two from Jack Newrick and Scott Martin. Baker and Bloomfield again combined on 18 minutes yet this time Scott Martin's effort flew agonisingly wide.
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Yet none of the early pressure paid off as Mildenhall began to expose themselves into the match, led by their commanding back four, and captain Dave Werthmann. They then created a few chances of their own as John Sands shot just over and a dangerous free-kick, conceded by Bodie Carter, forced Dave Attridge into a fine flying save.
The match was evenly poised and it was clear that pace was going to have a major influence on game. John Sands for Mildenhall definitely had the skill in abundance and the only way to stop the striker bearing down on goal was to bring him down, this time Ryan De Coteau the culprit. Yet Kirkley also have Alex Holmes who utilised his speed on the turn to force Pope to palm the ball away, after a powerful strike.
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Both teams could have realistically been three goals up, but it looked likely that it would remain goal-less at the break, before Sands had his say on the matter.
The third top scorer in the league behind Oliver Mann and Daniel Beaumont reacted the quickest to head the ball over Dave Attridge as the Kirkley defence failed to clear an in-swinging cross to put Mildenhall 1-0 up.
It was harsh on the young home side yet as they resumed for the second half, they remained optimistic in gaining a positive result.
K&P quickly created two chances as Kyle Baker headed wide and Ryan Bloomfield's shot was blocked. Yet more often than not the final pass seemed to be going astray as they desperately searched for a breakthrough.
Mildenhall seemed happy to defend in numbers and it needed a moment of magic from one of the Kirkley players to get them back into the game. Toby Kerslake nearly provided it, yet his fabulous chip was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Josh Pope. Moments later the midfielder tried his luck again, yet his fierce drive was always rising over the bar.
Bodie Carter was then replaced by Scott Manning and as K&P looked to up the tempo, Scott Martin's volley was tipped over and a Mildenhall defender denied Ryan Crisp as he looked to be through on goal.
The KP Royals gave one final roll of the dice as Matty Potter came on for Ryan Crisp with Alex Holmes playing through the middle and Ryan De Coteau pushed on into a defensive midfield Claude Makelele role.
Yet no further chances occurred for the home side, in fact Mildenhall could have doubled their lead at the death, but Dave Attridge saved well from a dangerous counter attack.