Long Melford 0 Kirkley & Pakefield 1: Scrappy goal earns Royals a narrow away win
PUBLISHED: 06:49 19 April 2019
Last Saturday's match in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division saw Kirkley & Pakefield travel to play second bottom Long Melford.
The Royals were forced to make one change to the previous week's team with young Jack Hutchinson coming in for Jordan Haverson, who was serving a two match ban. Matthew Brown returned to the bench after missing six matches through injury.
The Royals started brightly with a good move involving Kyle Haylock with his centre being headed by Jack Herbert straight at the keeper after just three minutes. The away team went on to dominated the early stages without creating too many clear-cut chances.
Long Melford had a spell where several shots were well blocked by the Royals defence with Lewis Flower making some excellent blocks. On 37 minutes Hutchinson tested home keeper Michael Bett with a fine drive from 25 yards, the Royals' best effort to date, and on 42 minutes a fine shot from the edge of the area from Hassan Ally was brilliantly saved at full stretch by visiting keeper Adam Rix.
Haylock was then brought down just outside the area by Ashley Skeggs and the resulting free-kick went wide.
The second half saw a 47th minute shot from Cameron Russell well saved and then the Royals went ahead. A Hutchinson corner struck the post and with both Herbert and Goldspink in a packed goalmouth the ball hit the keeper and went into the net for an own goal.
The influential Haylock then shot just wide while the home team went close with a shot across goal that went just wide of the post.
On the hour mark Hutchinson blasted another shot just over the bar, then at the other end Flower blocked brilliantly on the line. Haylock, who was having an excellent game, came in for some harsh treatment with a couple of good penalty appeals turned down by the official.
With seven minutes remaining another fine Haylock pass to Russell saw his shot go across goal and wide before Flower again made a last ditch stop in the away area. Play ended with the Royals gaining a hard earned single own goal victory that moves them up to fifth place with just three games remaining and Long Melford in a relegation match on Saturday at Great Yarmouth.
Team: A Rix, C Bell, G Soares, L Hammond, J Herbert (c), L Flower, K Haylock, M Lopez, C Russell, K Goldspink, J Hutchinson (M Brown 78). Unused subs; K Collyer, J Spooner.
On Easter Saturday Kirkley & Pakefield play the final home game of the season at Walmer Road when they entertain Ely City who are at present fourth bottom and needing points to avoid relegation with just three games remaining (3pm). On Easter Monday the Royals make the short journey to bottom of the table and already relegated Framlingham Town for their penultimate game of the season (3pm).
Last Saturday saw the Reserves idle after bottom of the table North Walsham Town were unable to raise a team. On Saturday they are at top of the table and the likely Division One champions UEA, 2.30pm.