Saturday's local football round-up: Haverhill Rovers fight the odds to take a point off league leaders Stowmarket, while Newmarket and Needham win in weekend of high-scoring results
Haverhill Rovers became just the fourth side to take points off Stowmarket Town, after coming from behind to draw 2-2 at The New Croft.
The home side – in 17th in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division – went into the game having taken just one point from the last 18 on offer, while the runaway leaders had not dropped any points in that same time frame.
But Rovers continued to show signs of better form under the watch of returning player-manager Marc Abbott, with goals for Jacob Joseph and Tom Stoker sealing a big point.
Joseph put Rovers ahead in the 27th minute before Joe Jefford headed in a Robbie-Lee corner in the 51st minute to restore parity.
Josh Mayhew then put Stow a goal ahead from the spot – just three minutes after coming on as a substitute.
But Stoker found an equaliser in the 87th minute in front of a 244-strong crowd.
Elsewhere in the division, Newmarket Town held on to third place with a 2-1 win at home to Kirkley & Pakefield.
Joe Robinson fired the Jockeys a goal ahead before Ross Paterson doubled the lead for a 2-0 score at the break.
The visitors found a goal in the second half but Newmarket's first half performance was enough to secure maximum league points.
Thetford Town, meanwhile, were involved in a 10-goal frenzy at FC Clacton, which saw the two sides share the spoils in an incredible 5-5 draw, despite visiting Thetford finishing with 10 men.
Clacton opened the scoring in the fifth minute before Max Melanson equalised with the first of his hat-trick after 10 minutes.
Clacton again led on 20 minutes, before Melanson converted from a spot kick awarded to Thetford in the 33rd minute.
Tanner Call then netted in the 36th minute to put the Brecklanders 3-2 ahead before Sam Bond was sent off with a straight red card in the 40th minute.
Clacton found their third goal in the 49th minute and fourth goal two minutes later before Thetford were again level, courtesy of a Liam Hemmings finish in the 54th minute.
Melanson completed his hat-trick in the 78th minute for a 5-4 lead but Clacton had the last word in the 84th minute, with Thetford down to nine men with Nathan Clarke sent to the sin bin in the 83rd minute.
Basement-side Hadleigh United also picked up a point on the road, with a 1-1 draw away to Godmanchester Rovers.
Joel Glover scored for the Brettsiders.
But it was defeat for this season's surprise package in Long Melford, as they fell to a 3-0 defeat at home to Brantham Athletic.
They have now lost back-to-back league matches, shipping five goals without reply.
Walsham-le-Willows were also unable to find the net at home, as they fell to a 2-0 defeat to visitors Norwich United.
Mildenhall Town failed to build on three wins in a row, as they lost 2-1 away to Stanway Rovers.
And Ely City were unfortunate to fall to the odd goal in five defeat away to Whitton United to end the first week of the year in a bottom-two relegation position.
Bury Town were also left licking their wounds in the BetVictor Isthmian League North Division as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to Canvey Island.
It will likely feel like one that got away for the home team as they dominated nearly an hour of the game but could not find their clinical touch.
A feeling developed as the game progressed of 'just one of those days', with Ryan Stafford having the best two chances for the home team in added time of the second half but having to watch as his efforts were blocked.
Read how it happened, via our live, text coverage: here
Divisional rivals Soham Town Rangers picked up a point on the road, but will feel it was two points lost, having spent the majority of the game ahead.
Luke Brown (11') and Sam Mulready (73') put Soham two goals to the good but a late Felixstowe comeback saw goals in the 89th and 90th minutes to force the draw.
AFC Sudbury's trip to Romford was postponed.
Needham Market put an end to their poor run in the BetVictor Southern Premier Central, with a single-goal victory at home to Stratford Town.
The Marketmen dominated the majority of the game with Billy Hunt's early strike deflecting wide off the post to indicate Needham's intentions.
They peppered the Stratford goal in the first half with further chances for Luke Ingram and Adam Mills, after Hunt saw a shot saved well by the keeper stretching across.
The second half was more of the same, with the Marketmen going close on a number of occasions; Mills went wide from close range from Marsden's low cross while also putting a shot narrowly over the bar, to leave the home crowd nervous as their side once more dominated, without seeming able to break the deadlock.
It came late, a minute into added time, as Joe Marsden sent the keeper the wrong way with a comfortable spot-kick, following a handball to seal three points.
In the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North, Cornard United fell to a 2-1 defeat at home to Sheringham, despite the news that former Premier League player Marcus Bent had agreed to come out of retirement for the Ards.
AFC Sudbury Reserves were also on the losing end of a 2-1 scoreline at home to Norwich CBS while Haverhill Borough lost 4-3 to Fakenham Town.
Lakenheath kept their hold on third place in the standings with a 4-2 home win over Framlingham Town but it was defeat for Diss Town, as they lost 3-0 at home to Ipswich Wanderers.
But Needham Market Reserves were hit for six away to March Town United, as they were thrashed 6-1.
Debenham LC's Friday night visit from Felixstowe & Walton United Reserves fell foul to the weather, with a waterlogged pitch.
Finally, Halstead Town worked hard to see off Newbury Forest away in the First Division South, as they claimed three points on the road with the 4-3 victory.
More by this authorHannah Dolman