THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION: Thetford Town 1 Diss Town 0: Mark Scott has called for his side to up their game atWoodbridge tomorrow (3pm) — despite recording a vital victory over rivals Diss Town.
In a poor game that belied its billing, with the south Norfolk rivals desperate for the three points in the fight against relegation, it took a fresh pair of legs to finally settle a cagey contest.
Twenty-year-old Matt Hayden’s goal after 73 minutes, on his debut, was every bit as scrappy as the contest itself — though could have big implications on the final league table.
Despite Thetford’s league double over Diss — adding to their FA Cup victory in August — moving them above their rivals on goal difference, and to six points above the bottom three, Brecklanders boss Scott does not want a repeat performance tomorrow.
As they chase their third straight win, after immediately adding to their first home win of the campaign, he said: “We go to Woodbridge and on form you would say we can (make it three wins).
“Form counts for nothing if we perform like we did against Diss, but I don’t think we will perform like that against them.
“Genuinely, I don’t want another performance like that.”
Though Scott was quick to point out the positives about not playing well but picking up points, he said: “It is a different game and I think now, hopefully, we have realised that we can grind it out when we have to.”
Saturday’s game, one of only six across two divisions in the Thurlow Nunn League to beat the effects of the wet weather, had seen the home side on the backfoot in the opening 20 minutes.
But the visitors were not able to register a shot on target, with Paul Jones guilty of not testing Scott Cruickshank when he fired over after former Brecklander Matt Dixon fashioned a clear-cut chance for him.
Thetford began to utilise the joy they were getting out of the left flank, where former Tangerine Sam Bryant was causing problems.
Their increasing possession also went unrewarded though, with another ex-Diss player — Jordan Rocastle — hitting a venomous rising shot over the bar on his debut.
A stoppage for what turned out to be cat excrement to be cleared half an hour in provided the main talking point in the stands during a drab second half, where the pattern in the game completely disappeared.
Chances were few and far between, with Rhys Darg curling a free-kick over for Diss, while Bergin held a bouncing shot from Rocastle.
When Luke Bailey threw his body in front of Rhy Darg’s attempt to turn in a rebound after Dixon finally forced Cruickshank into a save, it looked as though defences were to be the only winners.
But, seven minutes after coming on, ex-Lakenheath frontman Hayden took a second swing to connect with a high ball over his shoulder on the edge of the six yard box, with Mark Shadrack unable to clear, and then watched as it somehow squirmed under James Bergin.
Diss did not manage to trouble Cruickshank as the game entered its final stages, with Bergin smartly out to save at the feet of Hayden as he threatened to double Thetford’s lead as they claimed a precious three points.
Scott, who has Kyle Parish back from injury and forward James Pipe, who has returned to the club, added: “Matt is unproven at this level but he has got a point to prove and he is hungry for it.
“It wasn’t the greatest of finishes but when you are involved in a game like that it doesn’t matter how it went in, as long as it went in — the script was written for him.”
Thetford: Cruickshank, Birch, Carter (c), BAILEY, O’Donnell, Leech, S Bryant (Bond 88), Harley, Tavares (Hayden 66), Rocastle (Skipp 81), Joseph. Unsed subs: Smith, Fancett.
n CRC have announced their intention to withdraw from the Thurlow Nunn League at the end of the season.
It means if another Premier Division side is accepted to step four football, just one side from the league could be relegated this season.