Saturday's local football round-up: Stowmarket Town and Newmarket Town go goal crazy while AFC Sudbury and Soham Town Rangers win by single goals
The Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division's top two sides – Stowmarket Town and Newmarket Town – both ran out winners by seven unanswered goals during their respective fixtures this afternoon.
League-leading Stowmarket, who racked up the same number of goals last weekend, put hosting Thetford Town to the sword at Mundford Road.
Rick Andrews' free-scoring men were six goals up at the break, with Christy Finch scoring the only goal after the restart to complete his hat-trick. Anton Clarke, Joe Jefford and Robbie Sweeney (2) were also on target for the unbeaten runaway table toppers.
In contrast, 15th-placed Thetford have seen their winless run stretch to five matches while their porous defender has now shipped 38 goals from their last nine outings.
Meanwhile, second-placed Newmarket dished out their hammering to Swaffham Town at the Tristel Stadium.
Jack Chandler scored a brace, with accompanying goals coming courtesy of Ben Robinson, James Seymour, Joe Bennett, Jordan Foster and Joe Robinson.
Michael Shinn's men, who are 13 points adrift of Stowmarket with a game in hand, have now won four of their last five matches.
The Suffolk Free Press derby between bottom-of-the-table Hadleigh United and Long Melford went the way of the visitors in convincing fashion.
Melford headed into the encounter winless in their previous five outings, but they returned to form in style with a 4-0 victory at The Millfield.
The three points have moved the Villagers back into the Premier Division's top six while Christian Appleford's Hadleigh stay rooted to the foot of the table, one point from safety.
For more details of the game, click here for sport editor Russell Claydon's match report.
The tough times continue for Ely City and their new management duo of Luke McAvoy and Ben Farmer following a 5-1 home defeat at the hands of Woodbridge Town.
The Robins, who have lost three and drawn the other of the pair's four matches in charge, were not helped by the red card handed to Matty Simpson during the first half at the Demcom Stadium.
The defeat, which came on the back of the previous week's drubbing at Stowmarket, keeps Ely 18th with a two-point gap to Hadleigh in the one relegation spot.
One position – and six points – better off than Ely are a Haverhill Rovers side that tasted defeat for the first time since player-boss Marc Abbott returned to manage the club last month.
Seventeenth-placed Rovers were beaten 2-0 on their own patch by Brantham Athletic, ending a run of one victory and three draws under Abbott's stewardship.
Former Haverhill manager Fergus O'Callaghan also saw his Walsham-le-Willows (16th) side go down 1-0 at home to Whitton United.
Tom Bradlaugh's 85th-minute goal was the difference between the sides, and condemned Walsham to a third straight league defeat.
Up in the BetVictor Isthmian League North Division, Bury Town were unable to take on board stand-in captain Olly Hughes' pre-match message away at Tilbury.
Speaking to the Bury Free Press, Hughes had called on the Blues to start improving their form against fellow play-off contenders during what remains of the campaign.
However, they slipped to a 2-1 defeat – a result which saw their hosts jump above them in the table, meaning fifth-placed Bury now occupy the last of four play-off positions.
All the goals came in the first 30 minutes at Chadfields, where the visitors' Ryan Jolland cancelled out Thomas Barton's opener. Tilbury secured all three points, though, courtesy of David Knight's penalty.
Ben Chenery's men have now won just three of their last 10 league games while Tilbury are one of the division's form sides, having extended their unbeaten run to nine.
There was much better news for Soham Town Rangers, who in winning 1-0 at Canvey Island made it three league victories in a row for the first time since March 2017.
Substitute Lloyd Groves scored the only goal of the game midway through the second half down on the Essex coast to keep the in-form Greens in 12th.
In was also a positive afternoon for Soham goalkeeper Josh Pope as he celebrated keeping a third clean sheet on the bounce.
AFC Sudbury also won by the same scoreline at the King's Marsh Stadium thanks to Tom Maycock's 84th-minute intervention.
Mark Morsley's Yellows had lost their last two league games without scoring, but this victory has moved them up a couple of places to 14th.
Elsewhere, Morsley's former club Needham Market were in BetVictor Southern Premier Central action away at bottom-of-the-table Redditch United.
The hosts had lost 15 games in a row in all competitions and had not won in the league since August 26 prior to kick off – a run that continues following the Marketmen's routine 3-0 triumph.
Craig Parker, Billy Hunt and Callum Page all found the back of the net for Richard Wilkins' troops during the first half, while the match also marked a first league clean sheet for young goalkeeper Finlay Shorton.
Needham stay 15th in the table, level on points but above Suffolk rivals Lowestoft Town on goal difference with the two sides set to face off at Bloomfields next month.
Down in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North, Diss Town continue to slide down the table following their 4-2 home defeat at the hands of Leiston Reserves.
Jon Abbott's team had occupied one of the four promotion places for a number of weeks, but after suffering their fourth defeat in a row, they are now ninth with a five-point gap to fourth.
Ryan Swift and Owen Betts scored for the Tangerines, but it is up the other end of the pitch where their problems lie – the four goals they conceded today means they have shipped 14 during their losing run.
Neighbouring Debenham LC (10th) had also been enduring a sticky spell (no win in three) but they stopped the rot by beating visiting Haverhill Borough 5-2.
James Watling helped himself to a hat-trick for the hosting Hornets, with further goals coming through Tobie Stollery and Andrew Crowe.
For 15th-placed Borough, who had won back-to-back games 3-1 heading into this contest, the in-form Tom Thulborn and Ryan Kent accounted for their goals.
Down the A1120, Framlingham Town (17th) saw their positive mini sequence of home form ended at the hands of Fakenham Town as the Norfolk side ran out 2-1 winners at Badingham Road.
Alex Ling put the hosting Castlemen in front, but they were unable to make it three home wins in a row following a fightback from the visitors.
At the other end of the table, third-placed Lakenheath were held to a goal-less draw at home by another promotion contender in March Town United.
Despite being unable to take maximum points, Ben Cowling's charges extended their unbeaten run to six matches and are seven points ahead of Ipswich Wanderers in fifth.
In the First Division South, Halstead Town enjoyed a positive afternoon on the road at Hackney Wick following a 4-2 victory.
Conor Scurlock, Chris Harris (2) and Kane Munday all scored for the Humbugs, who having won just one of their previous four matches, moved up three places to fifth.
* For reaction to these results, plus a look ahead to what is to come next weekend, see the upcoming print editions on Thursday and Friday.
More by this authorLiam Apicella