Fakenham Town come alive
Fakenham Town 1, Gorleston 1
On a hot August evening at the start of this campaign, Fakenham travelled to Gorleston for their second game of the season and stole a 1-0 victory that took them, albeit fleetingly, to the top of Ridgeons One.
In the ensuing period, Fakenham have seen their season stutter and stall to the point where they have struggled at the wrong end of the table.
But Saturday was an opportunity to take on a side that have since become champions-elect and odds-on favourites to regain their Premier Division status.
And although they failed to take all three points, the Ghosts certainly breathed life into a season that looked all but dead and buried, writes Paul Wright.
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They completely took the game to the visitors, who looked shaken for most of the match and struggled to co-ordinate their efforts as they attempted to come to terms with a new-look Fakenham outfit.
Manager Wayne Anderson threw caution to the wind and opted for a three-man back line and a strong midfield that supported lone striker Liam Bowley at every opportunity.
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Sam Garner has struggled with his match fitness since returning to the side after a spell in the Forces, but he and Ben Coe worked tirelessly to keep at the throats of Gorleston and created chances that really should have been rewarded with goals.
Undeterred, they continued to carve out openings. Ben Coe sent three long-range efforts skidding wide as the greasy underfoot conditions made life difficult.
It took until the 30-minute mark before Rix in the Fakenham goal was called upon to make a save, when he did well to dive to his left to turn a Forbes shot round a post.
Fakenham’s appeals for a penalty were turned down as defender Thompson parried a shot from Pease, then Harvey got in on the action as he ventured forward to send a looping shot over the bar.
Fakenham’s Dan Savory was a dominant force in midfield and his powerful run into the area after 40 minutes ended with a neat ball into the path of Bowley, but the Fakenham striker shot wide.
Gorleston responded when Cockerill flashed a header wide following a corner.
Fakenham made a change during the break when Savory was rested in favour of James Bamford, but it was the visitors who turned the game on its head.
In the 51st minute Fakenham failed to completely clear their lines from a corner and the ball fell to Forbes on the edge of the area who sent in a very quick reaction shot that skidded inside a post to give the visitors a flattering lead.
Rix was called upon in quick succession to block a shot from Forbes then dive to palm away a strong shot from substitute Woodrow.
Having weathered this brief storm Fakenham should have equalised when a 40-yard back-pass by Cockerill was chased down by Garner, but his shot was well blocked by Pride in the Gorleston goal. The rebound was ballooned over the bar by Coe.
Pride sent a poor clearance only as far as Coe, and his enterprising long-range shot had the keeper scrambling across his goal-line to make a last-ditch clearance.
Anderson introduced Walpole and Betts with Gilchrist pushed forward to add bite to attack, and it was a ploy that reaped benefit as the game entered its sixth minute of time added on.
Harvey hoisted a long, high ball into the area and with both Gilchrist and Coe in attendance, Pride failed to collect cleanly and Gilchrist prodded home from close range. It was a fitting end to a highly entertaining game, and was rich reward for Fakenham’s efforts.
Fakenham: Rix, Rawlings, Gilchrist, Greer, Harvey, Pease, Coe, Savory (Bamford), Bowley (Walpole), Garner, Harris (Betts). Sub: Manning.