Mildenhall Town 1
Soham Town Rangers 0
by Sam Murley at Recreation Way
MILDENHALL Town manager Christian Appleford ruled out the likelihood of any further additions to his squad following a narrow 1-0 friendly victory over Soham Town Rangers on Saturday.
The manager has been busy during the close season adding former Bury Town full-back Darryl Coakley and midfielders Paul Jones, formally of SohamTown, and Tom Bradlaugh to his ranks at Recreation Way ahead of the new Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division campaign.
And it was Bradlaugh who struck the decisive goal after 80 minutes, racing on to Alex Steed’s throughball before masterfully lobbing Dan Bircham to secure victory over their Ryman League Division One North opponents, leaving Appleford delighted with his squad.
“It was good to see the new players out there and I am delighted with the additions we’ve made in Darryl, Paul and Tom,” he said.
“We worked hard to get them here and they all give us something different with that added quality.
“They have all made an impact on this squad and we are looking really strong.
“Unless someone is going to add a real amount of quality to the squad and force their way into the first team then I can’t see any more changes to the team.
“We want to push on and improve on last season and I can’t see any reason why we can’t challenge at the top end of the division.”
The hosts started brightly and almost took the lead after 10 minutes.
Neil Andrews’ sloppy back-pass was seized upon by Michael Harvey, who raced down the left before cutting the ball across the goalmouth for the waiting Andrew Wood, who would have had scored had it not been for a last-ditch block from Scott Davis.
Soham responded 15 minutes later and following a slick passage of play the ball found its way out to the left-hand side to Michael Simpson, who delivered a wickedly-teasing ball into James McCabe, but the midfielder’s header whistled agonisingly over the bar.
Back came Mildenhall with Wood again unfortunate not to break the deadlock.
Racing on to James Patterson’s acute pass, the striker cut in from the right before his stinging strike across goal was smartly palmed away by Bircham as the sides went into the interval on level terms.
The second half failed to deliver as many clear opportunities as the opening 45 minutes with a host of substitutions from both sides disrupting the rhythm of the match.
However, it was one of Mildenhall’s substitutes, in the form of Bradlaugh, who made the telling contribution with 10 minutes remaining.
A smart chipped pass from Alex Steed released the midfielder beyond the static Soham backline and with the advancing Bircham approaching him, he instinctively lifted the ball over the keeper to see his effort nestle into the empty net, securing a narrow victory for his new side.
Mildenhall: Pope (Stacey 70), Cooper (Thomas 70), Werthmann, Judge, Coakley, Patterson (Bradlaugh 45), Steed, Jones, Paynter (Attwood 45), Wood, Harvey
Soham: Bircham, Lowe, Davis, Harrigan, Grant, Braich, Duncliffe (Orvis 45), Andrews, Simpson (Robinson 50), Carter (mason 64), McCabe
n Last year’s player-of-the-year Steve Holder has agreed to extend his stay at the club, signing a two-year contract.