NORFOLK SENIOR CUP FINAL
Thetford Town 0 Gorleston 2
At Carrow Road
THETFORD Town manager Mark Scott admitted he was fed up with his side being the nearly men yet again after crashing to defeat in the final of the Norfolk Senior Cup.
The Brecklanders chose the biggest night of their season and the biggest stage on which they have played this campaign to produce their worst display as they were outclassed by Gorleston at Carrow Road.
Thetford will be joining the Greens in the Ridgeons League Premier Division next season and Scott knows they will have to improve by then to compete week in week out.
He said: “The games we have lost this season have been down to our first-half performances, so we spoke about it and said we really needed to come out of the blocks and go for it.
“But we didn’t – we looked like a totally different team.
“To be fair to Gorleston, they were sharp and had a lot of runners off the ball we didn’t deal with, which was naive of us.
“We knew exactly how they would play and we just didn’t deal with it, which was bitterly disappointing.”
The warning signs were there as early as the third minute when Sean O’Donnell was robbed of possession by Gary Williams, who fortunately could only fire straight at Ian Fancett.
Man-of-the-match Williams dictated play throughout with a stunning range of passes, but it was ironically one of his worst that led to Gorleston’s opening goal.
His free-kick from the right should have been comfortably claimed by Fancett, but the Thetford custodian spilled the ball into the path of Ally McKenna, who only had to poke it over the line in the 14th minute.
Gorleston piled on the pressure with chance after chance as the Brecklanders continued to give the ball away in midfield, and it was from a similar incident that the Greens doubled their advantage.
Casual play saw Tom Cusack robbed 25 yards from goal, allowing Williams to run through and calmly slot the ball into the bottom right corner.
The Brecklanders’ cause had not been helped by Arron Joseph and Bruno Tavares limping off with hamstring and thigh injuries respectively, the latter having passed a late fitness test to start.
Substitute Stephen Davies fired a volley straight at Gorleston goalkeeper Elliot Pride within seconds of coming on in the 29th minute, Thetford’s one and only shot on target.
For all their dominance, Gorleston had been quite wasteful with their shooting aside from the goals, but Fancett was called on to partly redeem himself on the stroke of half-time when showing great reactions to keep out McKenna, who was again teed up by the impressive Williams.
The Brecklanders upped their game in the second half while Gorleston seemed happy to settle for a two-goal lead and continue to snuff out 48-goal striker Matt Dixon.
Fancett had to grab the ball off his line after nearly fumbling it over, before the night was soured when Davies was sent off for an alleged stamp on Thomas Daniels, but the match was settled by then.
Gorleston celebrated wildly once the final whistle had shrilled, while Thetford were left to contemplate finishing runners-up in a competition for the third time in three seasons after missing out on last season’s First Division Knockout Cup and this campaign’s First Division title.
Thetford: Fancett 4, Joseph 5 (Rocha 17, 5), Bailey 5 (Richards 82, 5), Carter 6, Howard 6, O’Donnell 6, Bolton 5, Cusack 4, Tavares 5 (Davies 28, 4), Dixon 5, Morphew 6. Subs not used: Mann, Welford.
Shots on target 1 7
Shots off target 4 11
Woodwork 0 0
Corners 1 5
Offsides 1 6
FK conceded 10 17
Bookings: Thetford: Howard (foul), Davies (foul), Bolton (foul). Gorleston: Thompson (foul).
Red cards: Thetford: Davies (violent conduct). Gorleston: None.
Referee: Shon Meale. Attendance: 1,145