Saturday's local football round-up: Stowmarket top the league as Framlingham come from behind in FA Vase
A strong Stowmarket Town away following made it a colourful trip to the seaside for their Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division game at Great Yarmouth Town, wearing bright waistcoats following a memorable fancy dress day at The Wellesley Recreation Ground at the end of last season.
And the performance from their team only made the day more special as they recorded a 4-0 win to go top of the table, albeit having played more games (6) than their rivals, who were in FA Vase action.
Ollie Canfer, who came out of an injury-forced retirement at Bury Town to play for the Old Gold & Blacks this season, struck shortly before the end of each half to add to goals from captain Ollie Brown (30') and fellow defender Phil Weavers (71') and cap a fine afternoon.
It was not such a great day for Thetford Town fans though, as they watched their team surrender a lead to lose 3-1 at home to FC Clacton.
It had been a good start for Danny White's side as striker Andrew Wood, who hit the post early on, fired them into the lead in the 16th minute.
But after being caught out for the equaliser 10 minutes before the break, they found themselves 2-1 down by the hour mark and missed a hatful of chances before Clacton rubbed salt into the wounds with a third.
Needham Market suffered their second defeat of the season in the Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division Central, going down 3-0 at Avelchurch in north-east Worcestershire.
With new loan signing from Colchester United Tariq Issa on the bench, the Marketmen went into the interval two goals down, after strikes from Luke Yates and Joshua Ezewele.
The Marketmen did not help their own cause in the second half as they conceded a penalty from which Tom Turton scored to make it a long trip back to Suffolk.
It was a disappointing day for the majority of the 287 at AFC Sudbury as the Yellows failed to capitalise on their opponents Bowers & Pitsea being reduced to 10 men for almost three quarters of the match in a 1-0 defeat.
Mark Morsley's side, who had won one, lost one and drew one heading in the league heading into the fixture, fell behind to Quentin Monville's 14th minute goal, which followed a well-worked passing move from a free-kick.
When David Knight got his marching orders for leaving a dangerous boot in on AFC 'keeper Paul Walker, it looked as if it could provide a turning point. But it was not to be in a game of few clear-cut chances with the result leaving Sudbury in 11th place.
Bury Town (15th) were unable to build upon their first league win of the campaign, following the 1-0 Bank Holiday Monday success over Soham Town Rangers, as they lost 2-0 at Canvey Island.
Ben Chenery's side fell behind in the eighth minute to Franki Merrifield's strike and saw their chances of claiming a result knocked out with 10 minutes to play when Marlon Agyakwa doubled the hosts' advantage.
Mildenhall Town are only three places off the bottom of the table as a first win of the campaign eluded them at Witham Town in a match which saw them lead for a long time.
Striker John Sands' effort on the half-hour mark had put the visitors in the driving seat, but they could not build on it before former AFC Sudbury striker L'Heureux Menga levelled in the 65th minute which went on to seal a point.
The foot of the table is currently occupied by Soham Town Rangers, who are stuck on a solitary point from four games following a 3-0 defeat at home to newly-promoted Coggeshall Town this afternoon.
Aaron Condon (31'), Ross Wall (59') and last season's Thurlow Nunn League top scorer, Nnamdi Nwachuku (74'), did the damage at Julius Martin Lane in front of a crowd of 184.
Robbie Mason's side will look to give themselves a boost when they travel to Biggleswade Town in their previously abandoned FA Cup Preliminary Round tie on Tuesday.
The Buildvase FA Vase kicked off for a number of our sides with the first round qualifying action seeing Ely City coming out on top after extra-time in a 4-3 thriller at the Ellgia Stadium against divisional rivals Norwich United.
Deakan Napier's winning goal was actually the first time in the match The Robins had the lead, with 2-1 at the break before finishing the 90 minutes locked at 2-2 to force the additional 30 minutes.
Jamie Alsop and Tom Williams were the other scorers for Brady Stone's side, who have three wins from five in the league this season but will fancy a cup run in the Vase after being knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle.
Framlingham Town found themselves on the verge of exiting the competition to lower-league opposition by falling 2-0 behind to Wisbech St Mary at their Badingham Road base.
But Liam Abraham's side showed bags of character to score the next three goals and complete a memorable comeback to put themselves into the draw for the next round and bag the prize money on offer to the winners.
Haverhill Rovers made the headlines in the FA Cup last weekend by coming from behind to beat higher-league opposition at The New Croft, and served up another come-from-behind home cup win for their home fans this afternoon.
The hosts passed up a glorious opportunity to take the lead against Essex Senior League side Ilford when Ben Bradley's early penalty was saved by the goalkeeper, who then pushed out the rebound too. A glut of further chances also went unconverted for Marc Abbott's side as they went into the break level.
It was Ilford who broke the deadlock in the second half, but Rovers did not take long to equalise with Mark Lovell's header in the 54th minute his first goal for the club.
Sam Holmes' strike, following a short corner inside the last quarter-of-an-hour, ensured it was another cup comeback at The New Croft ahead of next Saturday's FA Cup tie at home to Long Melford.
It was not such a good day for Long Melford though as they could not build on a half-time lead from Pablo Chaves' strike at Baldock Town, who scored two quickfire goals that proved to be enough to put the Suffolk side out of the Vase.
Newmarket Town will be in the draw for the next round though after a 2-1 success at home to lower-league Downham Town.
Striker Shaun Avis had scored twice at the Bloorie.com Stadium a week earlier to seal the Jockey's passage through in the FA Cup in dramatic circumstances against Hullbridge Sports.
He was at it again this afternoon as his strike added to Leon Antonine's effort to give the hosts another 2-1 cup victory.
Cornard United saw their FA Vase dreams die for another year at FC Holland who won 4-2 to ensure a fifth defeat in six games under the sole management of Liam Aves.
There was some positive news before kick-off though with the club announcing the return of talented goalkeeper Dan Joyce.
It was an afternoon Halstead Town will not want to dwell on as they were dumped out of the competition with a 6-0 hammering at Enfield that could have been worse, were it not for a string of saves from Jack Cherry, who prevented further humiliation for Mark McLean's side.
Friday night saw a big local derby in the FA Vase at Summer Road, with Walsham-le-Willows making their higher-league status count in a comfortable 3-0 success over Diss Town.
A brace from Ryan Clark added to George Bugg's opener which had seen the Willows leading 1-0 at the break.
In the Thurlow Nunn League First Division this afternoon, Harleston Town continue to set the pace at the top of the table with the newly-promoted club winning 4-1 at home to Leiston Reserves.
Adam Gusterson's side had fell behind at The Rec, but led 2-1 at the interval thanks to strikes from Nathan Page and Samuel Borrer.
Connor Delaney and Nick Howell both slotted in during the second half to make it five wins from their opening seven games at Step 6.
A deflected Lamell Howell strike saw Debenham LC stretch their unbeaten run to four games in a 1-1 draw at Norwich CBS.
On Friday evening, Haverhill Borough managed to halt Lakenheath's unbeaten start with a 1-0 home victory, despite playing half-an-hour with 10 men, following Aaron Forshaw's sending off for two bookings.
The only goal of the game on the 3G pitch at The New Croft came courtesy of the penalty spot as Forshaw himself had punished a handball by Lakenheath's Dean Grogan.
Over at Bloomfields, hosting Needham Market Reserves lost the battle of the academies with AFC Sudbury Reserves, who triumphed 1-0 thanks to Mekhi McKenzie's third-minute goal, though Needham did hit the post in the second half.
* For reaction to the weekend's reuslts, as well as previews to the week ahead, see next week's papers.