Thetford Town 3 Long Melford 1
THETFORD Town manager Mark Scott heaped praise upon his players despite narrowly missing out on being crowned league champions.
Strikes from Bruno Tavares and Matt Dixon as well as an own goal from visiting custodian Paul Wood clinched a 3-1 victory over Long Melford at Mundford Road.
However, it was not enough to secure the league title for the Brecklanders, needing to better Godmanchester Rovers’ score, who eased to a comfortable 5-0 home win over Whitton United to be crowned champions on goal difference.
Despite his disappointment on missing out on the title, Scott was quick to praise the effort of his squad to achieve promotion to the Ridgeons League Premier Division for the first time in 20 years.
“There is a slight disappointment we haven’t gone up as champions, but promotion was our aim and I am absolutely delighted with everyone,” he said.
“That was last achieved 20 years ago and so these lads have made history and they deserve everything they get.
“Fair play to Godmanchester, they did the double over us and they probably deserve to be champions.
“However, the effort put in by all the lads is absolutely commendable, I am absolutely delighted for the lads and they fully deserve to be promoted.”
The hosts started in determined fashion and were soon rewarded for their early dominance when Tavares opened the scoring after 23 minutes, following up Nathan Szyszlyk’s saved effort to tap home from close range.
Melford striker Dan Cann then saw his powerful free-kick from the edge of the area clip the crossbar on its way over before Thetford doubled their lead just after the half-hour-mark.
Neat play between Sean O’Donnell and Liam Bolton saw the latter race into the visitors’ area and as he tried to pick out Dixon with a drilled cross across goal, goalkeeper Wood inadvertently deflected the ball into his own net to gift the home side a commanding advantage at the break.
Wood’s afternoon would go from bad to worse seven minutes after interval as he was adjudged to have brought down Dixon in the area, leaving referee Fountain pointing to the spot.
Dixon picked himself up and made no mistake, sending Wood the wrong way, smashing his penalty into the top left corner.
Tavares rattled the underside of the crossbar with a stinging right-foot shot following Dixon’s cut back, before Melford were given a glimmer of hope with 18 minutes remaining, reducing the deficit.
Justin Crissell released the lively Adam Rickwood and the striker kept his cool, holding off pressure from Luke Bailey before drilling a right-foot effort across Ian Fancett into the bottom left corner.
However, there was to be no comeback and after Tavares tested Wood with another low shot to his right late on, the final whistle confirmed the hosts victory who signed off a successful season in winning fashion.
Thetford: Fancett 7, Morphew 7 (Richards 80, 6), Bailey 7, Carter 7, Howard 7, O’Donnell 7, BOLTON 8, Cusack 8 (Rocha 79, 7), Szyszlyk 6 (Davies 43, 6), Dixon 8, Tavares 8
Subs not used: Joseph
Shots on target 8 6
Shots off target 7 3
Woodwork 1 1
Corners 13 3
Offsides 1 1
FK Conceded 7 11
Bookings: Thetford: None. Melford: Attwood (foul), Wood (time wasting)
Red cards: None
Referee: Mr C. Fountain