Ghosts so close to a win

Fakenham Town 0, Debenham LC 0Fakenham were the width of a post away from snatching a dramatic late winner against eighth-placed Debenham on Saturday.

Fakenham Town 0, Debenham LC 0

Fakenham were the width of a post away from snatching a dramatic late winner against eighth-placed Debenham on Saturday.

They hope that Lady Luck will finally line up on their side on Saturday when they visit a Thetford side in freefall after a promising start to the Ridgeons Division One season.

At the weekend the Ghosts returned to Clipbush Park after three consecutive weeks on the road and looked good in front of a decent crowd, writes Kieran Bacon.

They were also able to bring together the best possible squad since the last time they played against Debenham, where they drew 2-2. Martin Fenwick and captain Matthew Garrod returned after being unavailable.

The game started well for the Ghosts who won a series of free-kicks around the edge of the Debenham penalty area. These were delivered well, causing uncertainty in the visitors' backline, Ben Darby latching onto a cross from the right before powering his left-foot shot over.

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The strike pairing of Haynes and Darby were working tirelessly to close down the fullbacks, restricting Debenham to long balls which the Fakenham defence dealt with fairly easily.

The Debenham game plan seemed to be built upon the goal-scoring abilities of strikers Gedny and Jopling, who netted 41 goals each last season. However, Fakenham stopped the supply routes from midfield and the defence prevented any chances for either man to score. When the ball was played through, keeper Daniel Stockdale cleared his lines or smothered any shots.

By half-time neither team had created any clear-cut chances with Fakenham maybe edging the overall play.

In the team talk it was stressed that at no point should the players switch off and allow chances to the opposition, as in the previous week at Hadleigh. It was considered that if Town managed to keep solid for the crucial 10 minutes directly after the interval they stood a good chance of getting a result.

Again Fakenham came out solid and resolute, coping easily with the sporadic Debenham attacks. After winning the midfield battle, James Bamford, Kevin Whittred and Tom Bryant were able to support the forwards. Great work down both flanks from wing backs Fenwick and Mark Critten also put Debenham under pressure.

The Ghosts went the closest they had all game with a Garrod free-kick which was hit with some venom just off to the right. Bamford went even closer with a delightful free-kick with the outside of his right foot that had the keeper scrambling.

Fakenham began dominating the game, piling on the pressure with 20 minutes to go.

Town just failed to find the killer ball needed to score the crucial late goal. Debenham were clinging on to the 0-0 draw and with five minutes remaining Fakenham thought they had won it.

A long throw from the left found Bacon, whose header rebounded off an upright to the despair of the Fakenham players, supporters and management.

Overall it was a promising showing from a team in transition, and the Ghosts were desperately unlucky not to grab their second league win of the season. This was their fourth draw.

Joint manager Mark King said: “We really could have done with the rub of the green, but that's what happens for those at the bottom. I know we keep blaming luck, but you can't achieve anything in football without it.”

Fellow boss Stuart Woodhouse also felt disappointed. “We didn't get the three points and quite possibly deserved them. The way we defended all over the field was magnificent, and we attacked with good football on occasion.”

Team: Daniel Stockdale, Adam Woodhouse, Matthew Garrod, Ian Raisbury, Mark Critten, Martin Fenwick, Kevin Whittred, James Bamford, Tom Bryant, Nick Haynes, Ben Darby. Subs: Kieran Bacon, John Connolly, Andrew Morgan.

Fakenham Reserves suffered a 12-0 defeat at St Andrews. On Saturday they entertain Gayton United.