Ghosts seek solace in cup

Fakenham Town take a break from league worries on Saturday when they are in Norfolk Senior Cup fourth round action trying to go against the form book with a trip to Norwich United.

Fakenham Town take a break from league worries on Saturday when they are in Norfolk Senior Cup fourth round action trying to go against the form book with a trip to Norwich United.

The Ghosts go to Plantation Park (3pm ko) smarting from their failure to get anything from fellow league strugglers Long Melford at Clipbush Park at the weekend, writes John Cushion.

Norwich United's Premier Division game was a victim of the weather, and their scouts were at Fakenham to see the Ghosts lose 4-1 to the only other Ridgeons First Division side which had not won a game.

Without experienced players such as James Bamford (wisdom tooth operation) and Jason Day (injured), and with some teenagers playing their third game in 10 days, Fakenham's hopes were washed away in the rain which drove down the park towards the end of the first half and all second period.


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Long Melford, who had drawn four league games and had not won in 18 games in all competitions,, looked the most likely to break the deadlock before, on 20 minutes, Darren West headed wide for Fakenham from a long ball in from the left. In the 27th minute there were more worries for the Ghosts as Dan Savory went off clutching a bag of ice to a rapidly-swelling left eye and cheekbone for a challenge which earned a Long Melford man a yellow card. Ed Skinner came on as sub.

Barely had the re-organised Fakenham team had a chance to settle when Liam Cawtheray was allowed too much space to head the first goal from a free-kick.

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The referee missed a shirt-pull on Mark Betts as he threatened to break clear of the Long Melford defence, while Sean Cooper pulled off a fine save diving to his left as Dan Statham threatened to increase the visitors' lead. Nick Tagg cleared off the line after a Cooper half-save, several Long Melford efforts were blocked but Fakenham ended the half with a Toby Harris shot saved.

Slack marking early second half led to Adam Flack making it 2-0 but in the 53rd minute came a Fakenham goal, Jake Betts forcing the ball home.

Cooper tipped a Long Melford shot over before strong claims for a Fakenham penalty for handball were denied in the 62nd minute.

A minute later a Long Melford effort came back off the bar, and a minute after that Ashley Skeggs had made it 3-1 and the game was lost.

In the 78th minute Cawtheray scored again to leave the Ghosts still looking for their first point after 11 games.

Fakenham: Cooper, Felton (Richards) 76), Jensch, Tagg, Whittred, Haynes, West, Savory (Skinner 30), M Betts, Harris (Critten 60), J Betts. Subs not used: King. Att 36.

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