Downham Town 2 Norwich United 4: Stewart inspires fightback as Planters lift the Senior Cup at Carrow Road
PUBLISHED: 22:10 30 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:18 01 May 2018
From relegation woe on Saturday, to Carrow Road cup final joy on Monday – it was quite the three days for Norwich United.
Underdogs Downham, who play two levels lower than the Planters, took the lead in just the third minute after Matt Bussens’ back-heel was cleared off the line, only for top scorer Ben Baxter-Hunt to sweep the loose ball into the net.
Shaun Wones headed just wide as Norwich responded well and took control of proceedings, with Nathan Stewart their driving force, with Wones heading down his free-kick from the right in the ninth minute and Sam Watts firing over from close range,
Downham keeper Matt Capes superbly tipped a deflected Stewart shot around his post in the 21st minute, who soon after teed up Sonny Carey, who could only fire against the keeper’s legs from 15 yards.
However, Carey took centre stage with two goals in four minutes to send Norwich into the break with a deserved lead. The first came from fine play on the right from Stewart, whose cross was flicked on by striker Liam Jackson to allow Carey to bundle in at the back post in the 40th minute. Stewart’s lovely back-heel then played Carey into the box and the midfielder finished calmly into the bottom-left corner to turn the game around.
Norwich keeper Andy Wilton made a superb diving save to deny Bussens in the 65th minute as Downham rallied, with Simon Bird bringing them level in style four minutes later, lashing a low shot home from 20 yards.
That was enough to take the game to extra-time, when the final was settled in superb style after 13 minutes. Town defender Pat Yates was booked for bringing down Stewart and the Planters livewire dusted himself down to bend a fine free-kick into the top-left corner off the underside of the bar from 25 yards.
Yates earned his second yellow soon after for bringing down Stewart, before the attacker teed up Jackson in the 111th minute to make sure of the win and ease the disappointment of dropping back into the Eastern Counties League.
Downham: Capes; Sykes (C), Pritchard, Yates; Cross (Gould 78), Dougal (Tansley 106), Hunt (Calvert 51), Bird, Oughton; Bussens, Baxter-Hunt. Unused subs: Jardine, Willmott
Goal: Baxter-Hunt (3), Bird (69)
Booked: Oughton (foul on Ben Jones, 9), Pritchard (foul on Stewart, 34), Baxter-Hunt (dissent, 84)
Red Card: Yates (fouls on Stewart, two yellows, 103 and 110)
Norwich United: Wilton; Applegate, Wones (C), Watts, Rose (Brown 73); Jones, Mackie (Probert 63); Stewart, Carey (Pollock 72), Hipperson; Jackson. Unused subs: Mokake, Johnson
Goals: Carey (40, 44), Stewart (103), Jackson (111)
Booked: Jones (dissent, 110)
Referee: Richard Owen