Saturday's local football round-up

HEADS AWAY: Scott Sloots rises highest to clear the danger from Long Melford's penalty box during the opening-day 0-0 draw with Brantham Athletic   Picture: Mark Bullimore
HEADS AWAY: Scott Sloots rises highest to clear the danger from Long Melford's penalty box during the opening-day 0-0 draw with Brantham Athletic Picture: Mark Bullimore
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Walsham-le-Willows hit six at FC Clacton to get their Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division campaign off to a flier, while Long Melford battled to a point at home to Brantham Athletic.

Any thoughts that Walsham would miss 25-goal talismanic striker Andrew Wood in 2017/18 were quickly forgotten as they fired in six goals without reply at FC Clacton on the league's opening day.

The Willows were four goals to the good by half-time on the Essex coast, with the returning Andrew Cusack putting them in front from an early penalty.

Ryan Gibbs and newly appointed captain Craig Nurse made it 3-0, before Ryan Clark converted Jack Brame's cross before the break.

Gibbs grabbed his second of the match after play resumed and Callum Dongray rounded off a fine afternoon for Paul Smith's men with the sixth.

It was a very different story over at Stoneylands where hosts Long Melford played out a goalless draw with much-fancied Brantham Athletic, to give new boss Jamie Bradbury an unbeaten start.

SLIDING IN: Melford's Sam Bayliss goes to ground to halt Ed Nobb's progress during Saturday's 0-0 draw with Brantham    Picture: Mark Bullimore

SLIDING IN: Melford's Sam Bayliss goes to ground to halt Ed Nobb's progress during Saturday's 0-0 draw with Brantham Picture: Mark Bullimore

Michael Brother's team created the better chances, but it was not until the second half that either goalkeeper was really tested.

Darren Moyes twice saved when left one-on-one for The Villagers, and pulled off a good diving save from a Sean Bartlett header, to leave the home side the more grateful for the point.

Melford did carve out a few chances of their own, mainly when counter-attacking, the closest of which saw winger Hassan Ally denied by a block from the on-rushing Paddi Hawkins.

Elsewhere in the Premier Division, a brace from Max Melanson helped ensure Thetford Town got off to a winning start (3-1) from their opener at Kemal Izzet's Stanway Rovers.

The sides had gone into the break level at 1-1 after Melanson's 30-yard free-kick had cancelled out former Colchester United striker Jamie Guy's early converted penalty.

Kingsley Barnes played his part in the Thetford goal with a couple of good saves before captain Sam Bond put Danny White's visitors into the lead when he headed home Ross Bailey's 78th minute free-kick.

The Brecklanders effectively ensured all three points were theirs when Melanson scored a breakaway goal to double their advantage seven minutes from time.

The only other game played in the division's opening weekend saw newly-promoted Coggeshall Town (3-0) get off to a winning start from their long trip to Fakenham Townm.

In the Thurlow Nunn League First Division, Needham Market Reserves were thrashed 6-1 at Swaffham Town, with Joe Jackson proving to be the main thorn in their side, scoring four times.

Needham had pulled level (unkown goalscorer) in the 14th minute, following Jame Thompson's 12th minute opener, but were trailing 3-1 at the break.

A number of other local teams were left to continue their pre-season preparations with friendlies: AFC Sudbury 0 Leiston 2, Bury Town 1 (Aitkens) Brightlingsea Regent 2, Charlton Athletic 6 Ipswich Town 1 (Dozzell), Debenham LC 1 Haverhill Borough 0, Hadleigh United 2 (Sharp, Gilvray) Henley Athletic 0).

* For reaction to the opening day's results and previews to the weekend's opening FA Cup ties, don't miss next week's papers.