‘Risky’ call pays off for Fakenham Town boss

Sam Garner, middle, had a day to remember on Saturday for Fakenham Town. Picture: IAN BURT

Sam Garner, middle, had a day to remember on Saturday for Fakenham Town. Picture: IAN BURT - Credit: Ian Burt

The responses by Matt Gilchrist and Sam Garner to being left out of the Fakenham Town starting line-up have shown exactly what manager Wayne Anderson wants to see from his players, writes Gareth Davis.

Gilchrist and Garner have been virtual fixtures in the Ghosts’ team over the last couple of seasons but both came back from short spells on the sidelines to have a big impact on Saturday’s 3-2 win at Whitton United. Centre-back Gilchrist was back to his best after being left out the previous week against Gorleston while winger Garner started on the bench at Whitton – but came on to score two match-clinching goals.

Anderson said: “Gilly has been the captain, and he has been a superb captain, but players get complacent and know they are getting their places every week – I’ve been there and done that myself.

“Sometimes you have to leave the senior players out and they get a bit of a kick up the backside and Gilly was superb at Whitton. Leaving him out the week before didn’t do him any harm as he knew he had been poor but he was back to his best. Sam has been superb for us all season and it’s not an easy decision to leave someone out who has been playing well.

“It was a risky decision but we knew their centre-half was a bit slow so we put Kyle Plumb on him in the first half to tire him out then put Sam on in the second half with his pace, and it paid off.”

Another player who found himself out of the squad at Whitton was midfielder James Page, whose run of consecutive appearances for the Ghosts stretches back to the 2012/13 season. Page has been struggling with respiratory problems at times this season so he was given a break from first team action and instead appeared for the reserves in their 3-0 win at home to Norwich CEYMS Reserves.

Anderson said: “James has been great for this football club but he’s an honest lad, he has put his hands up and said ‘Gaffer you’re right, I need to have 90 minutes with the reserves’. He got a full game and a blow-out and I’m sure when he gets back to full fitness he will be back in the squad.”

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The win at Whitton kept Fakenham eighth in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division table ahead of Saturday’s home fixture with Stanway Rovers. Ashley Jarvis could return but Garner is unavailable, while Lee Day (hamstring) is an injury doubt.

Fakenham’s reserves, on the back of that victory against Norwich CEYMS – Callum Brain, Connor Walker and Ricky Claxton bagging the goals – head to bottom side Thorpe Village in Division Three of the Anglian Combination.