Max Melanson keeps his cool to secure ‘A11 derby’ victory for Thetford Town
A Max Melanson penalty in the third minute of injury time gave Thetford the spoils in the ‘A11 derby’ against Mildenhall Town.
Thetford Town 3 Mildenhall Town 2
A Max Melanson penalty in the third minute of injury time gave Thetford the spoils in the 'A11 derby' against Mildenhall Town.
A bumper Friday night crowd held their collective breath as Melanson stepped up to face Jake Hayhoe in the Mildenhall goal. Hayhoe dived to his left, while Melanson fired convincingly into the opposite corner to seal a dramatic victory.
This was the Brecklanders' third successive win, and all have been by a 3-2 scoreline with late decisive goals.
"The form we are in and the late goals is not simply a coincidence," said Thetford player-manager Matt Morton. "It comes from having good players who are well organised, work their socks off, and have a never-say-die attitude."
Mildenhall had taken the lead in the 10th minute, an unmarked Jack Brame heading home from close range. Thetford soon started to find their feet and were the better side for much of the half.
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Two Michael Campbell goals, the first a sumptuous 20 yard curling effort following a neat passing move, turned the game in their favour.
Mildenhall had the better of second half, dominating possession without creating a real chance of note but drew level through Phil Weavers' goal, from just inside Thetford's half. His free kick was aimed into a sea of players in the penalty area, Town did not deal with the loose ball and it flew into the corner of the goal unchallenged.
The game looked likely to be heading for a draw, with Thetford looking unable to take advantage of an extra man after Mildenhall had Matty Green sent off for a second bookable offence in the 83rd minute. Then, Liam Hemming was fouled while chasing a loose ball in the penalty area and Melanson struck.
The win moves Town up to 13th in the table and maintains Morton's fine record since taking the manager's job. He has overseen five wins from his first six league games, the only defeat being away to runway leaders Stowmarket Town. "The players deserve all the credit so far, they are a great group who want to succeed and are really giving it their all," Morton said. "I don't want to get carried away, as it is early days, but it has been a great start."
Thetford will look to continue their good form when they visit Long Melford on Saturday, 3pm kick off.
Team: Humphrey, Bond, Morton, L.Bailey (Clarke), Cusack, Smith (c), R.Bailey, Melanson, Sandell (Hemming), Campbell (Conroy), Call.