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Ghosts need to lift spirits

PUBLISHED: 11:16 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 10:36 07 July 2010

Fakenham Town's joint managers clearly faced a morale-boosting task after the weekend's 9-2 home defeat by Browston Athletic ahead of Saturday's visit of Ipswich Wanderers (3pm).

Fakenham Town's joint managers clearly faced a morale-boosting task after the weekend's 9-2 home defeat by Browston Athletic ahead of Saturday's visit of Ipswich Wanderers (3pm).

There might not be scope to talk of green shoots appearing at Clipbush Park, but had the battered Ghosts converted more of the chances they created the scoreline could have read much closer.

Brantham, with an average age of 20, look well on course to achieve their target of promotion to the Ridgeons Premier Division within a three-season time scale. They were mobile, well organised and full of skill and running. In spells Fakenham matched them, and they might have had more than two fine late strikes by Mark Betts - an 85th minute chip from the edge of the box - and Mark Critten - a cracking first-time effort from 18 yards deep in time added on.

However, the failings which have nailed the Ghosts to the foot of the first division were again all too evident, not helped by the absence of striker Karl Pask and skipper Kevin Whittred through injury and suspension respectively. And a shortage of resources which saw just Matty Hooks and joint boss Mark King on the subs' bench.

Brantham led 3-0 at half-time, Oliver Mann (19 and 22 minutes) and Patrick Brothers (26) showing excellent finishing techniques. They also hit the bar and brought the best out of keeper Daniel Stockdale.

At the other end, Betts had a firm header well saved, Nick Haynes clipped the top of the bar and a 37th minute attack ended with the ball hacked off the Brantham line.

The lead extended to 7-0 as Mann completed his hat-trick then Sean Dace and David Grimwood (2, one penalty) found the net. Betts' fine goal saved the embarrassment of a blank sheet but Jonathan Crouch replied almost immediately and Grimwood rammed home another penalty before Critten rasped home the goal of the game.

The Ghosts had seen a free-kick deflected over the visitors' bar and a Betts header beaten away.

It showed that whatever their short-comings this Fakenham side will continue to graft, but there appear to be so many short-comings in all departments to see much hope of them climbing clear of the bottom as they did last campaign.

Fakenham Reserves lost their Anglian Combination match 4-0 at Great Yarmouth to stay second bottom of Division Two.

To complete a gloomy Saturday, the A team lost 3-1 at home to Castle Acre Swifts in the first round of the Ambulance Cup in the Central & South Norfolk League.

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