Town bounce back

Fakenham Town 3, Stowmarket 2THE Ghosts were told to put last week's disaster at Whitton behind them as they looked to put further distance between bottom place and themselves.

Fakenham Town 3, Stowmarket 2

THE Ghosts were told to put last week's disaster at Whitton behind them as they looked to put further distance between bottom place and themselves. And it looked to have done them the world of good as they were 3-0 up with 15 minutes remaining.

But things became more than a little tense after Mark Critten's sending off for deliberate handball, writes Kieran Bacon.

The first half was a fairly bland affair with the ball mainly bogged down in the middle of the pitch. Ben Darby was unlucky to fire wide through a crowd with a half-volley, while at the other end stand in keeper Chris Cracknell showed he was a more than able deputy for injured No 1 Daniel Stockdale with some good saves.

The back three looked composed and solid while the midfield kept it tight. The strikers struggled to get quality service but worked hard.

During the interval Town were told simply to keep on doing what they were doing and they would find opportunities. They did in almost comic circumstances.

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After a goalmouth scramble, Julian Delicata poked through the goalkeeper's legs to score his fourth goal in four games since his return to action for Fakenham. While the ball trickled agonisingly over the goal-line, Delicata was still appealing for handball - which thankfully was not given.

Town doubled their advantage when Kevin Whittred met a superb ball in from the right with a powerful header to cap a solid display for the vice-captain.

Within minutes Darby made it 3-0 with another fantastic header, and the game looked all but over.

However more drama was in store with 15 minutes to go when a corner from Stowmarket's right was swung over. A header was sneaking in at the near post when Critten appeared to move his arm towards the ball. The linesman had no hesitation to call the referee over and Critten was given a straight red card. The visitors converted the resulting penalty and the tide turned against the Ghosts.

Fakenham had to shuffle the pack with Connolly coming on to replace Haynes, however Stowmarket snatched a second with eight minutes to go when their tall, powerful centre forward bundled his way into the box before squaring the ball to leave the easiest of finishes for his team mate. It was backs to the wall and the team did magnificently to dig in and claim their fourth win in six games.

Joint manager Stuart Woodhouse praised his side's endeavour to grind out the win. “We told the lads not to force the game and play at our pace, and that paid off with the three goals.

“Critten was unfortunate but there was nothing else he could have done in that position, and from that point on we really worked hard to get that win.”

Team: Chris Cracknell, Ian Raisbury, Martin Fenwick, Matthew Garrod, Mark Critten, James Bamford, Kevin Whittred, Tom Bryant, Nick Haynes, Julian Delicata, Ben Darby Subs: Adam Woodhouse, John Connolly, Kieran Bacon.

Presentation night is at Clipbush Park on Saturday, May 10.