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Fresh start is paying off for Fakenham Town's Boyce

PUBLISHED: 08:45 21 August 2014 | UPDATED: 14:49 22 August 2014

Ben Boyce rifles home Fakenham Town's equaliser which earned an FA Cup replay against Newmarket Town. Picture: TONY MILES

Ben Boyce rifles home Fakenham Town's equaliser which earned an FA Cup replay against Newmarket Town. Picture: TONY MILES

Archant

Striker Ben Boyce's early-season form is showing just why he was given a second chance at Fakenham Town, says manager Wayne Anderson.

The frontman’s Clipbush Park career looked to be over in the spring after he was allowed to leave following on-field disciplinary problems.

But Anderson gave the 24-year-old another opportunity to show his worth ahead of the Ghosts’ return to the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division and with two goals in three impressive performances so far – the latest an 88th-minute equaliser in the FA Cup extra preliminary round at Newmarket Town on Saturday – the boss faith has been repaid to date.

Anderson said: “I can’t praise the lad enough for the three games so far because he has been outstanding and the work-rate he gives us is second to none.

“He was kicked two or three times at Newmarket and got up and walked off but halfway through last season he would have just lashed out and got in trouble, so he has changed.

“You always give people a second chance and I have given him that. Probably people around the club have wondered what I was doing but he believes in what I want to do here and I’m believing in him.

“For Ben to be performing like he has been so far – I’ll tell you now, he will be in the top four or five goalscorers in the Premier Division this season if he keeps it going.”

Boyce’s goal at Newmarket came late but it was a tremendous finish to earn the replay – which was due to take place at Clipbush Park last night – and came after Fakenham fell behind to Lee Clift’s 47th-minute penalty.

It was a third tough game in the opening week of the season and with a victory, at expected strugglers Ely City the previous Tuesday, a draw and a defeat – at home to champions Hadleigh United on the opening day – having been recorded, plus no goals conceded from open play, Anderson has been impressed with his side’s showings.

He said: “We have competed against Hadleigh and we have competed against Newmarket, and it just proves that we have got enough about us to compete against the top four or five teams.

“I don’t think there is anything to fear in this league. I said that last season in the First Division and now I’m saying it in the Premier Division, and if we finish in mid-table I’ll be happy.

“The boys have got to keep giving us a shift every week and we’ll see where it takes us.”

Fakenham were due to host Thetford Town on Wednesday but that game will now be rearranged to a date yet to be confirmed.

On Saturday the Ghosts return to Premier Division action at home to Haverhill Rovers before, as it stands, making the trip to Gorleston on Tuesday evening.

If the Ghosts saw off Newmarket Town last night they would have pocketed £1,500 prize money as well as sealing a place in the preliminary round on August 30.

The winner of the replay will travel to United Counties League (UCL) Premier Division Godmanchester Rovers after they disposed of same-league Yaxley 3-0 in their maiden FA Cup game of the 2014/15 campaign.

Elsewhere in Norfolk, Kirkley & Pakefield, Norwich United, Great Yarmouth Town, Wisbech Town and Thetford Town won their Cup games at the weekend. Gorleston, Swaffham Town and Diss Town exited the competition.

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