THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION: Newmarket Town 1 Mildenhall Town 3
In a local derby of two hugely contrasting halves, it was Mildenhall Town that were celebrating come the final whistle at the Ridgeons Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Hosting Newmarket Town were well worth their 1-0 half-time lead and could have been a goal or two more in the ascendancy.
But it was a revitalised Mildenhall that took to the 3G pitch after the restart, culminating in them scoring three unanswered goals to take the spoils with them back down the A11.
The influence of the unavailable Stephen Spriggs and Matt Green was sorely missed during the weekend’s home defeat to Felixstowe & Walton United, but both were restored to the Mildenhall starting line-up by manager Dean Greygoose.
However, the midfield duo — along with their team-mates — struggled to get a grip on proceedings during the opening 45 minutes as the Jockeys dominated the contest.
The clock flashed up nine minutes when Newmarket attacker Lewis Whitehead received possession wide on the left. He proceeded to cut inside his marker David Cooper, only to then shoot wide of the target.
Six minutes later Austen Diaper was sent racing clear on Josh Pope’s goal, but he got his shot all wrong as the ball rolled harmlessly wide.
The home team continued to probe with some neat passing moves, yet it was the direct approach that eventually paid dividends in the 27th minute.
Goalkeeper Ben Nower’s long goal kick was flicked on by Steve Holder and on this occasion the lively Whitehead made no mistake with a lob that left Pope stranded.
It was a relatively blunt response from Mildenhall as the half drew to a close, with their only real attempt coming from Sam Parkinson, who drove straight at Nower.
But whatever was said in the away dressing room during the interval certainly had a defining impact on the encounter.
Captain Luke Butcher headed over when well placed, while Spriggs drove into the side netting from a narrow angle.
That was followed by a speculative effort from distance by Cooper that left Nower rooted as it flew just wide, before Chris Bacon headed Green’s cross wide — all of this before the hour mark.
Mildenhall were now well in the ascendancy and there was a sense of inevitability about their equalising goal in the 65th minute.
Spriggs sent over a corner from the right and this time there was nothing wrong with Butcher’s radar as he powered a header into the net.
Four minutes later and Greygoose’s men were in front. Sent off on Saturday, Bacon showed no ill effects as he made the most of the time and space he was afforded inside the Newmarket box to guide Parkinson’s cross in via the upright.
Ollie Snaith replaced Diaper as Newmarket searched for parity, yet while the quick-footed midfielder looked energetic, he could not inspire his side.
Instead it was Mildenhall that went on to score the game’s fourth and final goal through Parkinson. His strike from 10 yards out was not the cleanest, but it had enough accuracy to creep inside Nower’s far post.
It was a moment that not only killed off Newmarket’s challenge, but also ensured that Mildenhall remain top of the table with 15 points from their first six matches.
Newmarket, meanwhile, are five points further back in sixth with a game in hand.
Man of the Match: Joe Asensi (Mildenhall) - Even during the first half when his side were below par, the left-back retained his composure. In the second half he did a good job of keeping the lively Whitehead quiet.
Newmarket: Nower, Dalby, Chivers, Bowen, Betson, Watson, Paterson (Wayne 78), Thurlbourne, Whitehead, Diaper (Snaith 70), Holder (Webster 82)
Mildenhall: Pope, Cooper, Butcher, Ruddy, Asensi, Parkinson, Green, Hilton, Spriggs (Munro 84), Clift (D Brown 62), Bacon
* For match reaction see this week’s print edition