Grainger praises Jockeys following Kirkley win

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Newmarket Town manager Kevin Grainger has praised his players after beating high-flying Kirkley and Pakefield 2-0 on Tuesday night.

The Jockeys were without a win in their previous five outings, while Kirkley visited the Town Ground having won their last five, including a 2-1 victory over Newmarket less than two weeks ago.

But goals from Lee Clift and Steve Holder secured the points for Newmarket, who are now just three points off Grainger’s target of a top five finish in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.

“We played really well,” said the Newmarket boss. “We took the lead midway through the first-half. Will Lawton’s cross was clipped in by Lee Clift.

“We dominated the first-half and Kirkley never looked like scoring.

“The second-half we defended well and Steve Holder scored from about 25 yards to give us the win.”

Newmarket (seventh) are on course for their highest league finish in nearly 20 years, while a late surge into the top five would eclipse their sixth-place finish from the 1995/96 season.

“Hopefully we can continue that performance in our last three games and we can finish fifth,” said Grainger, whose side visit Walsham-le-Willows (14th) on Saturday (3pm).

“I’m expecting quite a bit from them. They’re in good form and are into a cup final. It will be another tough game for us.”

Goals from Clift and Luke Parkinson gave the Jockeys a 2-0 win when the two sides met back in December, with a similar result likely to close the gap on the teams above them.

Fifth-placed Felixstowe and Walton United host recently-crowned Premier Division champions Norwich United, while Hadleigh United in sixth have lost their last three ahead of hosting Thetford Town this weekend.

n Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Mildenhall Town (10th) look to consolidate their place in the top half when they host Haverhill Rovers on Saturday (3pm).

Dean Greygoose’s side slipped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Wivenhoe Town at the weekend, despite the returns of Adarian Judge, Alex Steed and James McCabe to the squad.

n Already-relegated Ely City (20th) picked up an impressive 1-0 win against second-placed Godmanchester Rovers on Tuesday night, with a debut goal from Edward Richardson securing all three points.

After Robins goalkeeper Craig Galbraith saved Premier Division top goalscorer Tom Meechan’s penalty, Richardson bagged a memorable winner for Ely in the 68th minute.

Brady Stone’s side can move off the bottom of the Premier Division with a win at 19th-placed Diss Town on Saturday (3pm).

n Soham Town Rangers are aiming to defend their Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup when they take on Cambridge City in the final at Cambridge United’s R Costing Abbey Stadium on Tuesday (7.30pm).