Thetford Town 5 Halstead 0
by Derek Bish at
MATT Blake was the hat-trick hero, but Bruno Tavares was the architect as Thetford Town dismantled Halstead at Mundford Road on Saturday.
The Brecklanders are the only side to have beaten Halstead in the Ridgeons League First Division this season and completed the double over their visitors in ruthless fashion.
Tavares twice set up Blake before scoring himself, with Tom Cusack and Blake rounding off the rout after the break.
Thetford manager Mark Scott said: “Bruno put in an absolutely fantastic performance – he had a hand in three goals and went and scored one as well, plus he could have had more.
“It tended to inspire the team and we got a real reaction from everybody else. Matt Blake has not had many minutes this season because of injury and he’s gone out there and proved a point.
“He still has a long way to go before he’s playing at the level I thought he was playing at last season, but he wants to do it, he will do well and he will get back there.”
Tavares flicked the ball up with his right foot and sent a dipping volley on to the roof of the net from long range in a cagey opening.
The Portuguese winger gave Simon Newnes a torrid time down the right, but it was when he switched sides with Blake that his contribution became match-winning.
Dixon had just smashed the ball against the face of the crossbar when Tavares sent a raking 40-yard pass over the top of Newnes to Blake, who took the ball in his stride before rolling it past visiting custodian Matt Walker.
Two minutes and a change of boots later, Blake bagged his second on the half-hour-mark in a carbon-copy of his first, with Tavares superbly picking out the striker once again.
Dixon miskicked Cusack’s low cross from six yards and saw Newnes clear his solo effort off the line as the Brecklanders continued to pile on the pressure.
But Tavares made it 3-0 after a mazy run of his own down the left before steering a composed finish across Walker into the bottom right-hand corner.
Thetford picked up where they left off seven minutes after the break when Blake pulled the ball back to Cusack, who finished low into the bottom right corner from the edge of the penalty area.
Tavares and Blake combined again for the latter’s hat-trick strike, with the forward outmuscling Newnes before stroking the ball past a helpless Walker.
Sean O’Donnell had a goal ruled out for offside, meaning Thetford had to settle for five ahead of their First Division Knockout Cup first round tie at Swaffham Town tomorrow (3pm).
Boss Scott, who side made the final of the competition last season, added: “It’s a competition we will take seriously. We want to go one step further this year and win it.”
Free Press man of the match: Bruno Tavares.
Thetford: Fancett, Morphew (Massingham 46), Bailey, Carter, Howard, O’Donnell, Bolton (Davies 73 (Rocha 85)), Cusack, Blake, Dixon, Tavares. Sub not used: Joseph. Attendance: 70.