Newmarket put visitors to the sword during first league game of the year

ON TARGET: Newmarket's leading goalscorer Lewis Whitehead
ON TARGET: Newmarket's leading goalscorer Lewis Whitehead

THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE

PREMIER DIVISION

Newmarket Town 6

Hadleigh United 1

Newmarket took their free-scoring form over recent weeks into 2017 by hitting visiting Hadleigh for six at the Ridgeons Stadium on Monday.

In doing so, the Jockeys have now scored a division-high 34 goals at home this season, while their total return of 58 is the joint best with leaders Mildenhall Town, who have played a game more.

Yet, it was actually Hadleigh who broke the deadlock after 11 minutes when Sam Sharp broke clear to beat Newmarket’s number one Ben Nower.

The hosts were not behind for long though, as Lewis Whitehead headed in Austen Diaper’s cross with 25 minutes on the clock.

The lively Diaper found the net himself soon after, only to have his effort ruled out for offside.

As the half progressed Diaper continued to be a key figure, with the former Ely City man being bundled over inside the area in the 34th minute.

Captain Jack Watson stepped up to convert the resultant penalty and the same player made it 3-1 on the stroke of half-time, smashing in a Whitehead delivery.

To the away team’s credit, they fought hard for a route back into the game during the second half, with centre-forward Kyle Cassell proving to be a nuisance for the Newmarket defenders.

However, it Kevin Grainger’s hosts that were more clinical — a point highlighted in the 72nd minute when Diaper’s exploits were rewarded with a goal from close range.

The onslaught continued five minutes from time when Deakan Napier found himself in the clear.

The attacker could have gone for goal himself, but instead he fed the recently-signed James Tricks to fire in his first goal for the club.

Napier was heavily involved in Newmarket’s sixth and final goal deep into stoppage time as his shot was turned into the net by a retreating Hadleigh defender.

The result has seen Newmarket move up to fourth in the league table after Felixstowe & Walton United, who previously occupied that position, lost 2-1 to the still unbeaten Gorleston.

n Newmarket will now look to extend their six-match winning run, which dates back to November 26, when they travel to Brantham Athletic on Saturday (3pm).

Tenth-placed Brantham are currently on a poor run of form, having won only one of their last eight outings in all competitions.

At home,Brantham have triumphed on four occasions this season, losing five times and playing out three draws.

When the teams met earlier in the campaign, Newmarket won 3-2 thanks to a brace from Diaper and another goal from midfielder Ollie Snaith, who has since joined Ryman League side Needham Market.