Early strike helps ease Town into halting barren run

CHRISTIAN Appleford believed an early goal was key as Mildenhall Town ended their recent struggles to hit the target with a 4-2 victory at free-scoring Hadleigh United.

Owen Paynter set the ball rolling with a 15th-minute penalty before Andrew Wood’s double and Rogan McGeorge’s strike saw them home, but only after Hadleigh had pegged them back to 2-2.

Appleford, whose side moved up to ninth in the Ridgeons League Premier Division, said: “We scored early and it put everyone at ease, allowing them to just go and play.

“We didn’t really do anything different to previous weeks, but this time the goals went in and the decisions went for us.”

Hadleigh had bagged 14 goals in their previous four games, but the first half was dominated by the visitors.

Three times in the opening 15 minutes, perfect throughballs released Wood clear on goal, the latter seeing him upended by United keeper Dan Heath.

Paynter bagged the opener from the resultant spot-kick and the forward’s link-up play continued to cause problems throughout the first period.

Ten minutes later, his volleyed pass sent Wood through again and this time Town’s top scorer rounded the keeper to score his first goal in nine games.

Lee McGlone and Danny Allen brought the score level just past the hour-mark, but Rogan McGeorge latched on to a loose ball and squeezed a deflected shot past Heath with five minutes to play.

Pope made a stunning double save to deny McGlone, before Alex Steed released Wood to lob home his 23rd of the season and end a run of five matches without a win for Appleford’s men.

n Mildenhall do not have a Boxing Day game, but return to action on Friday, December 30, at home to Stanway Rovers (7.45pm).