Bungay battle to away victory

Mattishall 2, Bungay Town 4BUNGAY won a hard-fought physical encounter to lift themselves into second place in the Anglian Combination Division One table.

Mattishall 2, Bungay Town 4

BUNGAY won a hard-fought physical encounter to lift themselves into second place in the Anglian Combination Division One table.

On a heavy pitch it was a good match, with no quarter asked and none given, but the Black Dogs proved the stronger side in every way to come back from a goal down at the interval and record their fourth successive victory, writes Terry Reeve.

Mattishall had lost only once in the league previously and showed they will also be in the promotion mix at the end of the season. But the Black Dogs' defence as a unit was again outstanding, and the side hit four goals in a game for the first time this season.

Mattishall broke clear twice early on, but on the first occasion were pulled back by an offside flag and on the second a forward fired well over from a good position.

Tom Amis had a long-range chance for Bungay with the keeper out of position but was unable to get enough lift on his shot, then Jimmy Bligh made the first of a number of good saves in Mattishall's next attack.

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An effort from Rory French cleared the bar in an end-to-end game, but Mattishall took the lead on 21 minutes as Sean Payne, attempting to clear a dangerous low cross that skidded into him, could only crash the ball into the roof of his own net.

Bungay came back and Paul Hunter's effort cleared the bar after Danny Wilby had set him up, and Neil Renaut skidded a low shot narrowly wide. Then the keeper turned an in-swinging corner from Wilby onto the bar.

The Black Dogs drew level seven minutes into the second half as Hunter played in a free-kick, and as the ball fell clear Renaut stretched to guide it past the wrong-footed keeper.

Bligh had to make a good blocking save to keep out a close-range effort from an unmarked player, but Bungay looked the more determined side and should have scored when Amis got away down the right. When the keeper blocked his effort Hunter's follow-up was also blocked and French was unlucky to see his effort come back off a post with the keeper out of position.

The situation was followed by a fracas involving several players, with two from Bungay and one from the home side being booked as a result.

From the free-kick to Bungay, Hunter saw his effort strike a post. But almost immediately Bungay went ahead as Amis was put clear and moved forward to slot coolly past the advancing keeper in the 64th minute for his fifth goal of the season.

As the cut and thrust continued Bligh made a superb one-handed save to turn an effort on to the bar.

But a Mattishall equaliser came in the 72nd minute as Alex Fitzgerald gave the keeper no chance after being put clear.

Back came the Black Dogs to regain the lead three minutes later as an attack down the right led to Renaut playing the ball inside for Paul Bullen to score with a good shot on the turn.

And with eight minutes left Bungay clinched the points as Amis's low cross into the six-yard box was turned past his own keeper by Stu Baldry in much the same style as Payne had done earlier.

Bungay: J Bligh, S Campbell (M Harvey), C Hunting, S Payne (D Lowe), T Daniels, P Bullen, N Renaut, P Hunter, D Wilby (E Collings), T Amis, R French.

Bungay now have no game until February 14. The Reserves are away to Mundford Reserves tomorrow.