Planters so close to opening up title race

PUBLISHED: 11:46 24 March 2008 | UPDATED: 15:29 10 September 2010

Phil Banyard

Norwich United were denied a notable victory against title-chasing Soham Town Rangers by an injury-time equaliser at Plantation Park on Saturday. With second-placed Needham Market in FA Vase action and Wroxham's game at Mildenhall postponed, it was a perfect opportunity for Soham to stretch an already significant lead over their title rivals.

Norwich United were denied a notable victory against title-chasing Soham Town Rangers by an injury-time equaliser at Plantation Park on Saturday.

With second-placed Needham Market in FA Vase action and Wroxham's game at Mildenhall postponed, it was a perfect opportunity for Soham to stretch an already significant lead over their title rivals.

But instead it looked as if the Planters had handed Needham and Wroxham new hope as they led 2-1 after 92 minutes, only for Stuart Williams to rescue a point for the visitors.

After a quiet start, Soham had the first chance of the afternoon when Darren Jimson fired over the bar on 10 minutes. Rory French was the first Norwich player to threaten the Soham goal, but his bobbling shot was gathered by keeper Martyn Margarson.

Jimson was proving a constant danger to the home defence and he forced a close range save from Matt Hill, before, from the resultant corner, his shot was cleared off the line.

French raced clear of the Soham defence but fired wide, before the visitors took the lead on 42 minutes. Michael Simpson's through ball released Charles Libam and the striker slotted past the advancing Hill.

In the second half, Hill made a magnificent save to deny Andrew Furnell, but Norwich gradually seized control of the game and were level on 73 minutes. Shaun Bammant switched the ball to Paul Atkins on the right and his cross to the far post was headed home by half-time substitute Adam Sivell.

Three minutes later, the Planters were ahead as Atkinson and Smith created an opening for Bammant to score.

Soham poured forward and almost snatched an equaliser on 90 minutes when Paul Jones hooked a shot just wide. Norwich were unable to withstand the onslaught and in the 92nd minute, Simon Flanz floated a free-kick into the area, with Williams applying the finish.

In the only other Premier Division game to go ahead, Wisbech thrashed Haverhill Rovers 5-1 at Fenland Park.

Mark Jimson got the ball rolling for the Fenmen on 18 minutes with a lobbed header over the keeper. Stuart Cobb doubled the advantage just before half-time, volleying home from Jason Pease's corner.

Jimson got his second early in the second half, slotting home from a tight angle after Cobb's effort was clawed out by the keeper.

Billy Smith outpaced the Haverhill defence to make it 4-0 on 52 minutes and four minutes later, an horrendous sliced clearance allowed Smith to set up Darren Edey for the fifth.

Marcus Hunt pulled a goal back from the penalty spot deep into injury time, but it could not take the gloss off an excellent result for the Fenmen.

Diss were unable to prevent Division One leaders Tiptree from securing promotion to the Premier Division, as the Essex side won 1-0 at Brewers Green Lane.

Diss keeper Michael Hilton made a fine double save to keep the scoreline blank at half-time, but Tiptree hit the winner five minutes after the break. Hilton brought down Tom English and English himself scored from the resulting spot-kick.

Matty Ryland and Andrew Fulcher brought good saves from visiting keeper Arron Benstead, but the Tangerines could not conjure an equaliser.

It is now eight games without a league win for Downham, who lost 4-1 at Hadleigh.

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