Walpole heaps praise on side as Ghosts rally to take point

Fakenham Town's Ricky Claxton bagged a brace against Kirkley & Pakefield. Picture: JACKIE PRICE

Fakenham Town's Ricky Claxton bagged a brace against Kirkley & Pakefield. Picture: JACKIE PRICE - Credit: Archant

Caretaker Fakenham Town manager Alex Walpole heaped praise on the character shown by his side following the club’s 2-2 draw with Kirkley and Pakefield on Tuesday.

The Ghosts had to come from behind twice to earn a share of the spoils at Clipbush Park, against a physical Walmer Road outfit but deserved their hard-earned point.

The visitors were quickest out of the traps and Liam Harvey-Cooper handed the Royals the lead with six minutes on the clock, the striker’s powerful effort left Ghosts stopper Luke Pearson with no chance.

Fakenham responded well and improved as time went on, but couldn’t make their pressure tell before the break. However, just past the hour-mark Ricky Claxton did eventually level the scores when he finished well from close range.

Walpole’s side weren’t level for long though, Kirkley restored their lead three minutes later when Harvey-Cooper converted a penalty given for shirt pulling amid a scramble in the penalty area.

With Harvey-Cooper bagging a brace, Claxton wasn’t to be outdone and with 68 minutes on the clock the Ghosts forward levelled the scores again after an excellent run through the middle of the park.

The closing stages were end-to-end, with both sides giving their all to try and steal all three points but a series of excellent saves from Pearson protected the Ghosts’ point, despite a late Kirkley surge.

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Walpole praised the character his side showed to get back into the game and called on them to reproduce it when they travel to Felixstowe & Walton United on Saturday.

The Ghosts face a tough test against the Seasiders, who have lost just one of their 20 league matches this term, winning 19, leaving them top of the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division with a 15-point advantage over second-placed Stowmarket.

“I thought the determination and character of the lads to come from behind twice against Kirkley was excellent,” said Walpole.

“It was a really good point for us against a good side, who really tested us but we showed that we could complete and we can take a lot from that and it will give us all a confidence boost going forward.

“We will be looking for the same commitment and effort at Felixstowe on Saturday, we know it is going to be a really tough ask for us but we will go there with a game plan and focus on executing that the best we can.

“We are still a really young side but they will learn a lot from playing sides like Felixstowe so it will be a good experience for us.”

Elsewhere Saturday, Fakenham’s second string welcome Martham to Clipbush Park as third travel to fourth in Division Two of the Anglian Combination League, kick off 2.30pm.