Thetford want the title after winning promotion

CELEBRATION TIME: Thetford players and manager Mark Scott celebrate the club's promotion in the dressing room after the match
CELEBRATION TIME: Thetford players and manager Mark Scott celebrate the club's promotion in the dressing room after the match

RIDGEONS LEAGUE

FIRST DIVISION

Thetford Town 1 Team Bury 0

MARK Scott is determined for Thetford Town to be crowned league champions after sealing promotion to the Ridgeons League Premier Division for the first time in 20 years.

Going into the encounter, the Brecklanders knew victory would clinch promotion and following a less-than-memorable first half, leading marksman Matt Dixon’s close-range 70th-minute effort was enough to separate the sides and spark wild celebrations among the Mundford Road faithful on the final whistle.

Jubilant boss Scott could not hide his delight afterwards as he set his sights on the league title in the final three matches, including what could prove a championship decider away to Godmanchester Rovers on April 18.

“I am absolutely delighted for the lads,” he said. “They have put so much effort into this season and they really do deserve to be promoted.

“This is absolutely huge for everyone at the club.

“At the beginning of the season, promotion was always the target, but now I believe this squad is good enough to win this league and with three games remaining I am really confident of doing that.

“I think the script was written that it would be decided in that match between us and Godmanchester and it looks like it is going to be that way.

“We just have to make sure we keep on winning matches now to secure the championship title.”

The hosts started nervously and did not create a meaningful chance until the 34th minute when Martin Carter rose highest to meet Bruno Tavares’ corner with a powerful header, but could only watch on as it came back off the upright.

Team Bury responded 10 minutes later and created the best opening of the half as Ryan Clark released Harry Barker beyond the Thetford defence.

However, the striker could not capitalise on the chance as he shot tamely at Ian Fancett to bring a forgetful first half to a close.

After the interval, the home side came out with a renewed impetus and should have broke the deadlock after 56 minutes as man-of-the-match Arron Joseph found Dixon in the six-yard box with a deep cross from the right, but the striker could only head over the bar.

However, 14 minutes later, he would make amends when gifted with another chance as Luke Bailey’s low cross from the left somehow found its way to Dixon, who controlled before scrambling a low shot under Stephen Fenner and into the bottom left corner.

Sensing promotion was within their reach, Thetford finally broke free from their apprehensive shackles and began to play with freedom and purpose, pinning Bury back into their own half.

Tavares saw his stinging right-foot strike from the edge of the area parried away by Fenner in the 75th minute before Dixon headed over again when well placed from another dangerous Joseph cross, four minutes later.

With time winding down, there was just enough time for Tavares to sting the palms of Fenner once more with a blistering right-foot strike before the referee blew for full-time to spark celebration on and off the field from Thetford players and fans alike.

Thetford: Fancett 7, JOSEPH 8, Bailey 7, Carter 7, Howard 7, O’Donnell 8, Bolton 7, Cusack 8, Tavares 7, Dixon 8, Piggot 6 (Rocha 45 6). Subs not used: Richards, Davis, Morphew, Mann.

Team Bury: Fenner 7, Wales 6 (Young 55, 6), Peters 7, Edwards 6, Hitching 7, Finch 7, Titlow 7, Bailey 6, Clark 8, Barker 7 (Gathercole 61, 6), Taylor 6. Sub not used: Howlett.