Saturday local football round-up: Late drama at Bury Town to salvage a point, with vital wins for Mildenhall Town and Walsham-le-Willows
Bury Town prevented a three-match losing streak to the team a place below in the Bostik League North table, with a late equaliser at home to Canvey Island.
The Step 4 side scored in the final minute of added time to secure the 1-1 draw and halt a pattern of losing by the odd goal to the team a spot below.
Despite the draw, Bury do still drop a place to ninth due to other results from teams around them.
Ben Chenery's squad conceded early, with a visiting Josh Hutchinson scoring after just six minutes after creating space by wrong-footing the home defence.
Despite Bury Town immediately mounting a push for an equaliser, they struggled to find any clear cut chances in the first half – and the score remained 1-0 into the break.
The home team came out strong after the interval and, in the 47th minute, looked like they had found their first score with Olly Hughes appearing to head in after a goalmouth scramble – the ball seemed to have crossed the line before being cleared, but both the linesman and referee waved play on. The below photo suggests it was stopped short of crossing the line:
Both teams had further half chances until Bury Town were awarded a penalty in the 76th minute. Tommy Robinson, frustrating Canvey Island defenders with his possession in the box, drew a foul with a clear push in the box to see the home team with a great chance to make things level.
Cemal Ramadan, who does not appear to be at his best at the start of the year, stepped up before blazing it wide and high and leaving Bury with a goal deficit.
But the momentum remained with the home side who continued to push forward but looked increasingly desperate to score as the game became scrappier.
And it seemed to suit the home team, with Kyran Clements finding a header in the 94th minute for the win described as 'really important' by the manager.
Meanwhile at the bottom end of the league, Mildenhall Town picked up a vital three points in their battle to avoid the basement spot, with a 2-0 win over Witham Town.
The club's first win since November 17 – and new manager Ricky Cornish's first – sees them climb a league place and remain within touching distance of the teams above, which includes their defeated foes.
But, bizarrely, neither score came from a Mildenhall player, with both of the home side's goals coming from Witham Town own goals.
Kevin Coyle (13' og) and Danny Norton (45' og) scores put 'Hall two goals to the good at the break and the visitors were unable to change that in the second period.
But Haverhill Borough's new manager, Kevin Parsons, on the other hand, was far from claiming his first win in charge despite bringing in reinforcements ahead of the match.
His Thurlow Nunn League First Division North side were defeated 6-2 by Leiston Reserves in an eight goal thriller at The New Croft on a day that turned out not to be theirs.
Captain Lee Hurkett, on his 101st appearance for the club, was taken to hospital after coming off with a knee injury in the 29th minute, with the side already down by two goals.
Two further first half goals left Borough trailing 4-0 at the break and a mountain to climb in the second half.
Leiston scored a double again to see Borough down by six, before two consolation goals made the score a slightly easier read.
Straight from the kick-off from the sixth goal, the ball was played into the box for Jack Martin who was promptly knocked over and the referee pointed to the spot.
Craig Pruden stroked the penalty home, before a Ryan Swallow corner went straight in at the near post after the keeper Noon flaps at it for an own goal in the 84th minute but it was too little too late for the home side.
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Meanwhile in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, Walsham-le-Willows' seemingly unstoppable form just keeps going, with a 1-0 win away to Hadleigh United seeing them move into third place in the league.
But the home team did well to hold their on-form visitors to just one score, with first team manager Shane Wardley announcing his resignation on Thursday. Reserve managers Andy Lambert and Andrew Crisp oversaw the game from the dugout as interim managers.
In a fantastic end-to-end game that defied the 16-place gap between the home team in a relegation fight and the visitors in a possible promotion battle, just one well-struck free kick proved the difference.
Walsham full back Sam Peters finished a well-hit free kick in the 69th minute to nick three points and climb to a season high third.
Newmarket Town's season continues to stutter, with the side falling to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Norwich United on their turf, to suffer their fourth consecutive league defeat.
Their goal, scored in the 95th minute by captain Jack Watson, proved to be only a consolation after finding themselves three goals behind.
It was also defeat for Stowmarket Town at home in the league, with their promotion push taking a hefty knock with the 2-1 defeat by Wroxham.
It sees them drop to fifth in the league, although remain just three points off league leaders' Histon, with seven teams still well within a chance of winning the league – although some teams have more games in hand than others.
Stowmarket slipped to back-to-back defeats for the first time this season as Wroxham came from a goal behind to take home the points.
Jack Baker had headed the Old Gold and Blacks in front on 26 minutes, before the visitors equalised through Ryan Fuller on the hour mark.
And Fuller then secured all the points for Wroxham, as his long throw was pushed in by Stow goalkeeper Craig Brand with 15 minutes to go.
Stow were looking to bounce back from their Buildbase FA Vase defeat at Biggleswade as they returned to league action, with manager Rick Andrews making five changes to his side.
There was also defeat for Long Melford, as they fell to a 1-0 home loss at the hands of FC Clacton.
The defeat sees them remain in 16th position.
But, right behind them now lie Thetford Town, who beat Gorleston by a convincing 3-0 score at Mundford Road to overturn a six-match losing streak.
In what could turn out to be a critical result as the side have a difficult season.
It began almost perfectly for the home side, with Elliot Gibson netting after three minutes with a strike from 30 yards to put the side a goal to the good.
The league's top scorer Valter Rocha then extended his dominance over this season's list with his 21st goal of this campaign in the 43rd minute for a 2-0 half-time lead.
Robbie Priddle sealed the win in the 85th minute after a cross from Rocha.
In the Bostik League North Division, both AFC Sudbury and Soham Town Rangers fell to 3-0 defeats on the road.
Soham were away to fifth-placed Coggeshall Town, conceding after just four minutes with a goal from Nnamdi Nwachuku to put them on the back foot from the off.
Further scores from Michael Gyasi (51') and George Cocklin (54') left the result in little doubt.
And Sudbury were away to league leaders' Bowers & Pitsea and, despite keeping a goalless draw into the interval, goals from Martyn Stokes (52'), Bradley Warner (76') and James Thomas (90') sunk their hopes of returning home with anyone from the encounter.
AFC Sudbury Reserves, in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North, also fell to defeat – a 2-1 home loss by Swaffham Town.
Debenham LC were also defeated at home, losing by a 3-1 score to visitors Downham Town with the side still being managed by interim manager Guy Hayes following first team manager Leon Moore's resignation last week.
There was better news for new Diss Town manager Jon Abbott in his first game in charge as they beat Ipswich Wanderers 1-0 on the road.
Virgilio Leitao netted after six minutes to put the visitors a goal ahead and they were able to hold out for a full three points.
Cornard United beat King's Lynn Town Reserves 4-1 on the road while Lakenheath secured a point away from home with their 1-1 draw at March Town United.
But the league's whipping boys were again on the losing end of a fixture, with Needham Market Reserves being beaten 2-1 on the road by Mulbarton Wanderers.
Finally in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division South, Halstead Town beat Benfleet by a single goal in their away trip to the 11th placed team to remain in the fight for promotion at the end of the season.
A number of our teams were not in action this weekend, including Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central's third-place team Needham Market.
In the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, there were no fixtures for Haverhill Rovers, Ely City and Framlingham Town, with them next due in league action next weekend.
And in the Thurlow Nunn League North Division, runaway leaders Harleston Town were also not in action – with them due to play just once between now and February 2.
They are currently searching for a new manager, following Adam Gusterson's move to higher-league Dereham Town last week.