Ghosts return to Clipbush Park

Fakenham Town supporters, after being starved of Ridgeons League football for three weeks, see the Ghosts back at Clipbush Park on Saturday (3pm) for the visit of eighth-placed Debenham LC.

Fakenham Town supporters, after being starved of Ridgeons League football for three weeks, see the Ghosts back at Clipbush Park on Saturday (3pm) for the visit of eighth-placed Debenham LC. In the away match the Ghosts were despearately unlucky not to win.

Hadleigh United 2, Fakenham Town 0

The 10 minutes directly after half-time ultimately cost Fakenham a point in a fiercely fought encounter against sixth-placed Hadleigh, writes Kieran Bacon.

After an encouraging performance from the section's bottom team, they were highly unlucky to come away with nothing. The general feeling in the club is that a long corner is being turned by both senior sides, and wins are due for both after a team building programme which did not start until close to the season's start.

The match began well for the Ghosts, Kieran Bacon coming close with a thunderous 25-yard strike that hit the underside of the bar. The Hadleigh keeper smuggled the ball to safety with Ben Darby looming.

Fakenham began to play some neat football. The home side couldn't cope with the three Fakenham central midfielders, allowing Tom Bryant time to play from deep.

Most Read

Mark Critten was having joy working just behind the strikers, linking midfield and attack. Kevin Whittred got a shot on goal from distance as Fakenham exerted pressure.

Fakenham's best chance came 30 minutes in when, after a corner had caused confusion in the penalty area, John Connolly curled his shot narrowly over the bar from 14 yards. The ball had initially fallen to Darby, whose strike was deflected to Connolly.

Hadleigh threatened from free-kicks and corners, Daniel Stockdale making several key saves. Their best chance came from a free-kick was played short to the striker's feet. He turned his marker but his shot was smothered by Stockdale. The keeper also had to tip over a header from a corner that looked destined for the net.

At half time, either team could have been in the lead with Fakenham edging the overall play. The importance of the next 10 minutes was stressed by joint managers Mark King and Stuart Woodhouse. Unfortunately it became the period which snatched away any chance of a Fakenham point.

The first goal came from a long diagonal ball to the back post. A shot came in from six yards that hit the inside of the post and rebounded into the path of the oncoming striker who nodded into an empty net.

Fakenham were looking wobbly and just five minutes later Debenham got their second. A loose ball fell to an oncoming midfielder on the edge of the box, and he tucked his shot away through a crowd of players.

The game became even again with chances at both ends. The best for Fakenham came when Nick Haynes was denied from point-blank range by a desperate saving challenge. The ball was deflected just wide as it seemed to be heading into an empty net. During the final 30 minutes Fakenham again played football that belied their lowly league position. But until they find a cutting edge and get that little bit of luck, goals will be hard to come by. At least there were many positives in terms of defending set pieces and general play.

King commented: “At least we didn't concede from set pieces after shipping four at Tiptree.”

Woodhouse felt: “We played some good stuff and at times looked dangerous. However, it's so frustrating to see us throw away the game in 10 minutes.”

Fakenham: Daniel Stockdale, Andrew Morgan, Ian Raisbury, Adam Woodhouse, Kieran Bacon, John Connolly, Kevin Whittred (captain), Tom Bryant, Mark Critten, Ben Darby, Nick Haynes. Subs; Mark King, James Bamford.

Fakenham Reserves, still looking for a first win in Dolphin Autos Anglian Combination Division One, suffered a cruel 1-0 home defeat when Long Stratton scored with a hopeful shot from distance. They visit St Andrews on Saturday.