Dixon’s goal-den target to fire championship charge

DOING BATTLE: Thetford's Dave Richards challenges Cornard's Scott Yearling
DOING BATTLE: Thetford's Dave Richards challenges Cornard's Scott Yearling
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RIDGEONS LEAGUE

FIRST DIVISION

Cornard United 0 Thetford Town 5

MATT Dixon has set himself a target of 40 league goals to fire Thetford Town to promotion.

The Brecklanders’ ace marksman took his season’s tally to 28 with his third hat-trick of the campaign in Saturday’s 5-0 victory over bottom club Cornard United.

Thetford welcome Norfolk rivals Swaffham Town to Mundford Road tomorrow (3pm), bidding to retain top spot in the Ridgeons League First Division with manager Mark Scott hoping Dixon can continue to impress.

“He’s set himself a target of two a game for the remainder of the season, so he’s looking for another dozen,” said Scott. “We’ve got to keep winning, keep scoring goals and keep getting clean sheets.

“It’s a bit of a local derby against Swaffham.

“We’ve beaten them three times this season, but that doesn’t mean anything.

“They’ll come to us, put up a bit of a fight and they will really want to get the win. We will need to raise our game.”

Despite resting key players – including skipper Sean O’Donnell – Thetford barely had to get out of neutral to demolish Cornard and were well below the high standards they have set themselves this season.

The visitors could have fallen behind had goalkeeper Ian Fancett not reacted well to palm away Scott Yearling’s shot, but Steve Harley put Thetford in front in the 18th minute when he was given acres of space inside the six-yard box to volley home from close range.

Dixon and Stephen Davies were denied by a double save from the excellent Cornard goalkeeper Barry Lynn, while Fancett had to be on his toes at the other end to tip Ben Warren’s overhit free-kick over his crossbar.

Two goals in 60 seconds killed Cornard off as the Brecklanders wrapped the points up by the 35th minute.

After Matt Howard had smashed the ball into the roof of the net, the game’s only moment of real quality saw Harley backheel the ball into the path of Dixon, who guided a wonderful left-footed lob over Lynn and into the net from the left-hand side of the area.

Harley was denied by Lynn from his fierce low free-kick after the break, before Thetford were again denied by the excellence of Lynn when he showed great reactions to keep out Bruno Tavares and Aaron Piggott.

The match was soured 12 minutes from time when the two teams had a needless squabble, resulting in Cornard’s Ben Warren being sent off for violent conduct, with Harley the victim.

Dixon fooled Lynn with a tidy finish to make it 4-0 with six minutes to go before winning and converting a penalty to complete his treble just 120 seconds later.

There was still time for Dan Morphew to venture forward and be denied by Lynn yet again as Thetford remained clear of Godmanchester Rovers on goal difference at the top of the Ridgeons First Division.

Free Press man of the match: Matt Dixon.

Thetford: Fancett, Richards (Joseph 70), Piggott (Rocha 81), Morphew, Howard, Cusack, Bolton, Harley, Davies (Mann 70), Dixon, Tavares.

MATCH STATS

CORNARD THETFORD

Shots on target 2 15

Shots off target 3 9

Woodwork 0 0

Corners 1 13

Offsides 5 7

FK conceded 11 18

Bookings: Cornard: Beckett (unsportsmanlike conduct), Pannell (unsportsmanlike conduct). Thetford: Harley (foul).

Red cards: Conard: Ben Warren (violent conduct). Thetford: None.

Referee: Daniel Cook.

Attendance: 35.