Spriggs close to being back to his best after Brantham winner
THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Mildenhall Town 1
Brantham Athletic 0
Stephen Spriggs believes that he is now approaching full match sharpness after scoring the goal that sent leaders Mildenhall 16 points clear at the summit on Saturday.
By his own admission, two years away from the game had made it tough for the attacker — in his third spell at Recreation Way following a summer return — to string together consistent performances.
However, the combination of improved fitness levels and a switch to a more central attacking position has paid dividends for Spriggs.
“I will play wherever the gaffer puts me, but I am enjoying it in the middle,” he said.
“I have had two years or so out of the game for one reason or another. It took a little bit longer than I expected to get fitter, but I am nearly there now.
“I am enjoying my football. I want to be a big part of what we are doing here.”
While Spriggs and his team-mates spurned chances to make the scoreline more convincing, Dean Greygoose’s men were also indebted to the form of Josh Pope, as the goalkeeper pulled off two important second-half saves.
Before that, Spriggs had given Mildenhall the lead with the game’s first meaningful chance in the 15th minute.
Inheriting possession on the edge of the box, he fired a low shot that was always curling away from Brantham goalkeeper Jack Spurling.
Mildenhall’s midfield pair of Jamie Hilton and Matt Green were then thwarted by Spurling in quick succession.
The second half was when Pope rose to the fore, showing great bravery to deny Harry Mann and Sean Bartlett from point-blank range.
Spriggs remained a major threat and how he did not score in the 59th minute had to be seen to be believed.
His shot from just inside the box struck the left upright and his rebound cannoned off the opposite upright.
Jacob Brown also hit the post in the closing stages, but it mattered little as Mildenhall held out.
n Meanwhile, Greygoose has attributed work carried out on the training pitch as one of the leading factors behind Town’s record-breaking 14th league win in a row.
“Winning is a great habit, but if you are not careful the danger is you relax,” he said.
“It is tough, but that is where training comes in — we work the boys hard and that is where the tone is set.
“The boys want to win every game and credit to them because this run has also been about self motivation.”
n Hall, whose Tuesday League Cup tie at home to Downham fell victim to a frozen pitch, are without a game now until December 10 when they host Stanway Rovers (2nd, 3pm).