THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Newmarket Town 2
Long Melford 3
Newmarket Town’s promotion chances took a big hit on Saturday after they conspired to lose a game they had completely controlled for a long period.
A brace from Stephen Spriggs either side of the break had seemingly set the Jockeys on the path to a routine victory at the Bloorie.com Stadium.
However, after Melford missed a penalty, they came back into the contest and were level through a Steve Adams double, before Newmarket’s Nick Wilderspin had a debut to forget when he turned the ball into his own net.
Proceedings got under way positively for Newmarket as they broke the deadlock in the fifth minute.
The bounce of the ball caught out the Melford defence and an unmarked Spriggs was on hand to fire in the opening goal.
Spriggs was lively throughout the first half, as was Scott Paterson on the opposite flank.
The pair sent over a number of dangerous crosses, one of which was headed off target by captain Jack Watson when it looked easier to score.
Nevertheless, Newmarket did manage to double their lead 60 seconds after the restart when Spriggs latched on to a long ball and made no mistake with the finish.
Drama followed up the other end in the 51st minute as home goalkeeper Alex Archer was penalised for bringing down Nathan Rowe inside the box.
However, Newmarket’s number one made amends by saving the resultant spot kick from Will Wingfield.
Melford refused to let their heads drop, though, and they managed to halve the deficit in the 58th minute through defender-turned-striker Adams, who found the back of the net after inheriting possession from Hassan Ally.
Adams was on the scoresheet again in the 65th minute as the Villagers hauled themselves level — this time the number nine powered in a header from a Dan Smith cross.
And it was Adams that played a key role in Melford’s match winner, which came about four minutes from time.
His header from Wingfield cross cannoned against the crossbar and from the resulting scramble, former Halstead Town man Wilderspin found his own net under pressure from Adams.
Newmarket’s fourth loss of the 2017/18 campaign has left them seven points adrift of Stowmarket Town in the second promotion spot ahead of Saturday’s trip to FC Clacton (3pm).
Kevin Grainger’s men will then switch their focus to the Suffolk Premier Cup on Tuesday with a trip to Bury Town (7.45pm).