Thurlow Nunn League round-up: Great Yarmouth aim for silver lining as promotion dream ends
Ricci Butler insists Great Yarmouth Town’s season is far from over, despite the agony of missing out on promotion to the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division.
A 1-1 draw at Saffron Walden wasn’t enough for the Bloaters, who finished fourth, two points behind their hosts, who join champions Long Melford and runners-up Swaffham Town in the top tier next season.
Yarmouth now face a First Division KO Cup final against AFC Sudbury Reserves on Friday, and boss Butler is confident the Bloaters can put aside their disappointment and pick up a consolation prize.
“I don’t think what happened at Saffron Walden will have any effect,” said Butler. “The players knew that we didn’t perform in the first half and I would say everything about the match was left on the bus when we got home. Friday is another game and we will all have learned something.”
Butler took over the reins last May at a club still recovering from major financial problems and quickly asserted his authority on the team.
“Who would have thought Great Yarmouth, with a 28-year-old manager, in his first job of this type, would have finished fourth and challenging for promotion on the final day?” he said.
Saturday’s encounter attracted a crowd of 762 – a league record for Saffron Walden and the biggest Eastern Counties League attendance since the 1,068 at Kirkley & Pakefield for a game against Lowestoft Town in April, 2009. James Solkhon put the Bloods ahead on 28 minutes, with Mitch Forbes equalising on 72 minutes.
Long Melford wrapped up the title by beating in-form Downham 4-0 while Swaffham came from a goal down to beat Woodbridge 5-1. Joe Jackson scored twice for the Pedlars, with Dylan Edge, Luke Reed and skipper Dean Miller also on the scoresheet. King’s Lynn Town Reserves finished a place below Yarmouth, winning 4-0 at Leiston, while Dereham Town Reserves went down 3-1 at AFC Sudbury.
In the Premier Division, champions Norwich United edged closer to a double century after a 4-1 win at Newmarket Town. The Planters are on 98 points with two games remaining – and have scored 99 goals. Paul Cook, Adam Bennett and sub Jamie George (two) added a brace.
Kirkley & Pakefield lost 1-0 at FC Clacton, neighbours Gorleston were 1-0 winners at Hadleigh United, courtesy of a goal from Scott Woodgate. Ben Lewis helped relegated Diss Town to a 1-0 win at Haverhill Rovers while Robbie Priddle scored a last-minute equaliser as Thetford were held 1-1 at home to Wivenhoe. Fakenham lost 3-2 at Ipswich Wanderers, with Kyle Plumb and Sam Garner on target for the Ghosts.