Ridgeons League Division One round-up
Cock a hoop is an understatement after Thetford's victory at Downham. With Skipper Dave Richards, Seve Crawshaw and Paul Mlechek at a wedding, Kwame Jones and Kam Senior suspended, Mark Kemp, Aaron Piggot, Greg Devlin, and Ryan Haynes injured, Dan Jones and Dan Corston unavailable, Thetford's squad strength was tested to the full.
YOUNG PLAYERS DESERVE CHANCE
Cock a hoop is an understatement after Thetford's victory at Downham.
With Skipper Dave Richards, Seve Crawshaw and Paul Mlechek at a wedding, Kwame Jones and Kam Senior suspended, Mark Kemp, Aaron Piggot, Greg Devlin, and Ryan Haynes injured, Dan Jones and Dan Corston unavailable, Thetford's squad strength was tested to the full.
Eighteen-year-old keeper Ros Bilham made a welcome return to the club and debuts were awarded to Henry Armes and Chris Collins- Reed with Matthew Blake who scored seven in three games for the reserves, Johnny Large and Greg Mann making up the bench - who all played the evening before for the reserves. Lee Brewer was awarded the captain's armband.
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The club could not have asked more from the players who responded exceptionally well, some staking claims for more regular first team action.
Thetford Town are building a club and the Reserves and Under-18s are just as important as the first team with every player being a potential first team player in the future.
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It is still early days but to reflect on how far Thetford Town have come in a short time, the club has a three-season plan and have already achieved a great deal more than expected.
All three teams have good management and have the same warm-up routines, pattern of play and set pieces, new kits with a change of colour to Maroon and White, warm-up tops and a quality training programme and equipment.
The club have a qualified physio in Anna Denmark and brought some quality youngsters to build for the future, with new sponsors in Adie Lee from Flooringsupplies.co.uk, and others looking to coming on board all bodes well for the future.
Thetford are particularly pleased with the Under-18s who are currently second in their league and can see a vast improvement on last season with some exciting youngsters coming through.
The Ridgeons Reserves section is going from strength to strength and there was an excellent game on Friday night against Dereham with both teams playing football the way it should be played.
This season the league has been strengthened by more forward thinking clubs like, Dereham, Great Yarmouth, Gorleston, and Lowestoft. Thetford's travelling has been reduced considerably.
It still disappoints the club that too many youngsters are playing in local leagues when they should be testing their ability in the Ridgeons at first class venues against quality opposition with proper officials.
But they are held back by managers who run football teams for their own gratification and not for the benefit of developing the player. Hopefully this will change as the Ridgeons League gets better and better.
Players should always try to play at the highest level possible and with the pyramid system they still have a chance to go all the way.
Look at Danny Wright he started playing for Attleborough, moved to Dereham, then onto Histon, and nearly landed a contract with Watford. Had it not been for a health issue all this was achieved in a period of about five seasons.
The opportunity is there and it's up to the player and their managers to help them progress. Every manager and coach should have the player's best interests at heart and have a duty to develop that player and help him achieve his potential, for the good of the game in this country.
t TANGERINES MARK THREE WINS IN ROW WITH A NAP HAND AWAY FROM HOME
DISS Town won in the league for the third game in a row and took their 'goals scored' tally in that fine run to 12 when they won 5-2 at Humber Doucy Lane against an Ipswich Wanderers team that was relegated last season.
Diss manager Rob Taylor made five changes to the starting line-up from the previous win, against Downham, with Leighton Miller, Kevin Leggett (for his first game of the season after injury), Steve Best, Luke Catchpole and Osiris Gomes coming in.
George Wilson and Mark Shadrack dropped to the substitutes' bench with Robbie Lawrence, Brendan Foley and James Wilson all unavailable.
Catchpole was fouled in the 11th minute and Adie Hayes sent the free-kick over for Miller to again show how dangerous he is at set-pieces with a header at the near post into the corner of the net.
The second goal followed in the 22nd minute. Hayes found Danny McKail and his centre was headed back by Andy Moody for Ben Deacon to shoot in from close range.
Hayes sent a 53rd-minute corner for Miller to have another goal- bound header.
This time it was cleared off the line and Steve Best put the rebound in to make it 3-0.
Darcy De'ath crossed in the 60th minute for Jamie Buckle to shoot in and pull a goal back.
Deacon shot narrowly wide when sent clear by Moody in the 75th minute.
Diss moved 4-1 ahead in the 84th minute from a throw taken by Ed Cussons to Deacon.
His pass enabled Danny McKail to score his first goal for Diss with a shot slid past goalkeeper Jack Foster.
Hayes played a perfect through-ball with a minute to go for
Moody to float the ball over Foster from outside the penalty area to make it 5-1.
Wanderers pulled a goal back in added time when Jerrell Layne shot in.
t STRENGTH-IN-DEPTH BLOATERS HIT FIVE TO SHRUG OFF DISAPPOINTMENT OF THEIR FA CUP ELIMINATION
Yarmouth showed they were not going to be negatively influenced by losing to Wroxham in the FA Cup when they gave a five-star - and five-goal - performance last Saturday against Long Melford.
Two goals each for Darren Lamb and Adey Ager following the opener from Scott Woodcock sent a strong message to any other Division One promotion hopefuls.
Yarmouth used the windy conditions to perfection in the first half when they built up an unassailable 4-0 lead, and all departments of the team performed well.
“The midfield learned their lesson from the Wroxham game and played really well. The defence was rarely troubled although an error led to Melford's goal. Paul (Tong) and I gave Michael Hilton his senior debut for the club, and Roachy led the line well up front,” said joint manager Kevin Cruickshank,
Yarmouth were without central defender Alan Darby and midfielder and captain Adam Sullivan for today's visit to Diss.
Dominic Smith is not expected to be back from injury for another couple of weeks and, in this week when nuclear physics is all the talk of the news, there is a doubt about Yarmouth's very own “particle accelerator” Scott Woodcock!
But the message issuing from the Bloaters' camp is “Don't Panic”. Cruickshank explained: “This season we have strength in depth which should see us through.
“Former youth players Daniel Goodrum and Darren Patterson have re-signed and I am speaking to a couple of other players. We are steadily improving the quality of the senior squad and are in a better position than last year.”
The U18s have a second consecutive cup game next Thursday.
They visit Fakenham Town in the Youth League Cup (7.45pm).
For the FA Vase visit to St Neots next week, the club has put on a coach and any supporters who wish to travel with the team should note that departure from the Wellesley will be at 10.45am sharp. Enquiries to 01493 656099.
t IT WILL COME TOGETHER FOR THE GHOSTS
“At the end of the day, it's going to happen for us when everyone gels,” predicted the Ghosts' joint manager Stuart Woodhouse.
He said in the 4-0 FA Vase defeat at Debenham LC, Fakenham were far better than it suggests.
His upbeat message came ahead of the league visit to Halstead and Tuesday night's Ridgeons Division One match (7.45pm) away to a Gorleston outfit already hit for five by Fakenham in the FA Cup on their own ground.
Woodhouse said he and joint boss Mark King felt their side produced their best football of the season so far at Debenham, where the telling factor was the home side's big physical presence, led by old campaigner Stuart Joplin.
“We felt we played our best football to date. A 2-0 scoreline might have been fairer, although it might have been 2-2 at half-time instead of 2-0,” said Woodhouse.
“Our passing and possession were the best we have produced this season. We were pleased with that aspect. We just have not got big, physical players to pick from.
The Ghosts travelled without Nick Haynes, Julian Delicata, Nick Tagg and Martin Fenwick and gave a first outing to Justin Goff between the posts to have a look at the ex-Holt United man.
With Ben Darby playing alone up front, supported by wide players and Mark Betts hrough the middle, Fakenham might have scored twice first half, a Matty Hooks free-kick producing a magnificent reflex save and Betts lobbing the bar as well as the keeper when he burst through. “We played some really nice football,” Woodhouse assured the fans.
Fakenham Town Reserves drew 4-4 in a home league goalsfest with Anglian Windows. They are mid-table with four points from three games.
Fakenham A beat fellow Central & South Norfolk League newcomers Castle Acre Swifts 2-1 in their home Division Four match.
They sat joint top with six points from their first three games.
Fakenham under-18 travelled to Watton and picked up their first league win in over 12 months with a well-deserved 2-1 victory over Watton Juniors with goals from Jamie Batchelor and Mathew Young.
t GREENS LOOK FOR REVENGE FOR LONE DEFEAT
ON Tuesday the Greens entertain Fakenham Town kick-off 7.45pm hoping to obtain revenge for their 5-3 FA Cup defeat at the hands of the Ghosts, their only defeat of the season.
Gorleston advanced to the next round of the FA Vase by defeating Deeping Rangers by two clear goals at Emerald Park on Saturday - the reward was an away trip to Holbeach in the next round .
Deeping are in the United Counties League, which is slightly higher than the Ridgeons League in which Gorleston play and a difficult game had been anticipated.
There was disappointment from Gorleston fans at the game when it was announced that Chad Pillar had left the club to join Catfield.
The team rose to the occasion and took their chances well with two good goals.
Gorleston bought Adam Thurtle in at right-back for Kyle Howell, who was injured last week and named amongst the subs.
Thurtle had a fine game along with the rest of the Gorleston defence.
The Greens opened the scoring on eight minutes with a superb individual goal from John Bell, who beat three opponents before slamming the ball past Deeping keeper Danny Bircham.
There were no further goals in the first half, but it was a good cup tie with plenty of endeavour from both sides.
The second half was equally well fought and Gorleston keeper Tim Marsden had an excellent game, making several important saves.
Leon Harewood, signed from Kirkley at the start of the season, was a tower of strength at the back - and all in all it was a fine team effort.
The home team were reduced to 10 men when Ricci Butler was sent off after an altercation with an opponent with 20 minutes remaining.
But this setback seemed to bring even more determination to the whole team.
On 82 minutes Gorleston doubled their lead with a flowing move finished off in style when Luke Goreham burst into the area and netted a crisp drive. Gary Ingram came on for Pete Lambert and provided a threat to Deeping.
Brantham 0, Stowmarket 0 (58)
Cornard 1, Halstead 2 (52)
Downham 2, Thetford 3 (77)
Clacton 1, Newmarket 2 (92)
Yarmouth 5, Long Melford 1 (59)
Ipswich Wands 2, Diss 5 (101)
March 1, Hadleigh 2 (65)
Hadleigh 4 Debenham LC 3