Spriggs at the double as leaders leave it very late against 10 men

TAKING A TUMBLE: Mildenhall striker Chris Bacon is hauled down by Haverhill goalkeeper Charlie Turner, who was red carded for the offence, leaving his side to play more than half the game with 10 men
TAKING A TUMBLE: Mildenhall striker Chris Bacon is hauled down by Haverhill goalkeeper Charlie Turner, who was red carded for the offence, leaving his side to play more than half the game with 10 men
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THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE

PREMIER DIVISION

Mildenhall Town 2

Haverhill Rovers 0

Mildenhall opened up a 16-point lead at the top of the table courtesy of their 16th league victory in a row on Saturday.

However, it was far from straightforward for Dean Greygoose’s men, who struggled to break down a Haverhill side that had goalkeeper Charlie Turner sent off early on.

With no reserve custodian on the bench, defender Sam Holmes donned the gloves and proceeded to frustrate Mildenhall with a string of saves.

Turner saw red in the 13th minute when, after spilling a cross, he pulled down Chris Bacon as the Mildenhall striker was about to fire into an empty net (pictured).

But Holmes ensured it was not a double blow for Rovers as he guessed correctly to push clear David Cooper’s penalty.

As the half wore on, Holmes denied Luke Parkinson and Matt Green, while up the other end Rory Jebb was a matter of inches away from connecting with Danny Hill’s low cross.

To the 10 men’s credit, they restricted the home side to few chances during the second period.

But their resistance was finally broken eight minutes from the end when substitute Lee Clift moved into the penalty area, before crossing towards the back post, where Stephen Spriggs was waiting to nod the ball in.

And Mildenhall’s number 10 made the points safe in stoppage time by firing in from close range after Holmes had turned Parkinson’s shot on to the crossbar.

As well as extending their lead at the summit, Mildenhall also have two games in hand on second-placed Stanway Rovers.

n On Tuesday, holders Mildenhall booked their place in the quarter-finals of the League Challenge Cup by overcoming Downham Town 4-3 on penalties.

It appeared Hall were heading out to a first-half goal, only for substitute Green to score deep into stoppage time, before Adam Sartini struck the winning spot kick.

They will now face Kirkley & Pakefield away on Wednesday, February 1.

n Hall return to league action December 27, when Thetford Town will be the visitors to Recreation Way (3pm).

n In the Ryman League Division One North, Soham Town Rangers(15th) slipped to a 3-1 defeat at Thurrock.

The Greens held a 1-0 lead at the break thanks to a goal from caretaker boss Will Lawton in the 38th minute.

But the hosts equalised two minutes into the second half and added two further goals before the final whistle.

Soham will look to bounce back on Boxing Day when they host near-neighbours Bury Town (9th) (1pm).