Ghosts’ mini run halted at March

Fakenham Town completed a high-scoring double at bottom club Cornard at the weekend, Sam Garner claiming a hat-trick, following up their recent 5-1 home win.

But on Tuesday night the Ghosts, after two wins and a draw, suffered a 2-0 defeat at March, with whom they drew 0-0 at home on March 5. On Saturday, Fakenham visit Halstead.

The other Tuesday game in the Ridgeons First Division saw Gorleston go top with a 4-0 win at Stowmarket.

Cornard United 0, Fakenham Town 6

Fakenham made the long trip to Cornard without keeper Tom Rix (work commitments) and defender Lee Hyde (foot), whilst Stephen Harvey and Matt Gilchrist remain a few days from full fitness and were rested from the starting XI, writes Andrew Mitchell.

Young reserve keeper Adam Shearing came in for Rix, Alex Walpole replaced Harvey at full-back and Luke Greer took up the captain’s armband alongside Royce Rawlings at centre-half.

A scrappy first half was dominated by two borderline penalty decisions. Garner was alleged to have fouled Pannell in the Fakenham box, however a superb save from debutant keeper Shearing denied Cornard from the spot. Fakenham were fortunate when Cornard subsequently rattled the woodwork.

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Shortly after, on 35 minutes, Garner made a darting run at the Cornard defence and appeared to be felled just outside the area. However, referee Mr Pearse awarded the Ghosts a penalty. Ben Coe converted it at the second attempt, the first being saved superbly by keeper Walker. However, the kick was ordered to be retaken due to encroachment by the Cornard defence.

The lively Toby Harris and Ashley Manning both had good attempts on goal before the break, the latter’s effort cleared off the line. Cornard looked to use width, however Jason Pease and Walpole contained the wingers well, with Walpole winning everything in the air.

Manager Wayne Anderson’s half-time team talk spurred the Ghosts into action. A Pease free-kick on 55 minutes opened the floodgates.

Superb play by the midfield quartet of Jake Betts, James Bamford, Garner and Manning provided an endless supply of through-balls and crosses from which the Ghosts created and converted excellent chances.

An inch-perfect Bamford free-kick from wide on the left was guided into the top corner by Garner on 70 minutes, then three minutes later Garner latched onto a superb through-ball by Walpole to calmly slot in his second and Fakenham’s fourth

The lively Garner completed his hat trick on 80 minutes when his free-kick from the edge of the box cannoned off the Cornard wall and he reacted superbly to rifle a volley into the top corner.

Manning scored a deserved goal five minutes from time, stealing the ball from the toes of Hutchings on the edge of the box before driving a low shot into the bottom corner.

Fakenham introduced the returning Gilchrist and Harvey for Harris and Betts late on, with both players coming through their brief run-out unscathed.

Anderson was impressed with his team’s second-half performance: “We moved the ball well second half from back to front, and all of the lads performed superbly. Adam (Shearing) has come in and done well today, and I’m delighted for Sam (Garner) on his hat-trick.”

On the performance of the youth players, Anderson added: “The youth lads have come in and done exactly what was asked of them. AJ (Walpole) amongst others was superb and Ashley (Manning), Jake (Betts) and Toby (Harris) supported Coe tirelessly.”

Anderson was also quick to praise some of the senior players. “The senior boys played well, Bamford in particular worked his socks off in midfield to keep us driving forward.”

The Reserves are at home to Waveney on Saturday (2.30pm) after losing by a single goal to Watton Reserves at the weekend.