NORFOLK SENIOR CUP
Thetford Town 1
Thetford Town enjoyed a night to remember, but Mark Scott conceded he will not get carried away with the win over Norwich City Under-21s.
Against their professional opponents, who included FA Youth Cup winners Carlton Morris, Cameron McGeehan and Reece Hall-Johnson among their ranks, substitute Ian Fancett struck the decisive blow in the 71st minute to see the hosts clinch a memorable and notable scalp.
Despite enjoying the occasion, Scott admitted his biggest concern remains steering the club away from the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division relegation zone, which they currently sit five points clear of ahead of a trip to Felixstowe and Walton United tomorrow (3pm).
“Beating a side like Norwich means everything to us and, after our poor run of late, to bounce back like we have is amazing,” he said. “From the club’s point of view to get a big crowd is imperative to generate interest.
“If you can’t take confidence from a performance and victory against opposition like that then something is wrong.
“Some of the younger players will take an awful lot from the match and that will give us a big boost.
“It is great to enjoy evenings like this, but the league is always our priority and I don’t want to be in another relegation battle this season.
“I think we are too good for that and I think these bunch of players deserve more than that.”
The hosts made the brighter start of the two sides with the pace and directness of winger Ben Anderson causing the Canaries’ backline problems.
After just three minutes he called visiting custodian Remi Matthews into action to push away his low left-footed effort after he had cut in from the right-hand side on the edge of the area.
It was Anderson who was again in the thick of the action 17 minutes later as he weaved his way through three challenges, but he could only lash his effort high and wide.
The visitors finally sprung to life in the 27th minute and created their first opportunity as Carlton Morris did brilliantly to keep the ball in for his side, only for McGeehan to spurn the chance, firing wide of Scott Cruickshank’s right-hand upright.
Following a lull in action, McGeehan should have broken the deadlock after Thetford failed to clear a cross from the right, but the midfielder found Cruickshank in inspired as he somehow turned his powerful low effort around the post to keep the score goalless at the interval.
Just as they had in the first half, the home side started the second half strongly and went close to breaking the deadlock in the 51st minute.
Again it was the lively Anderson who created the opportunity for himself, beating three men down the left-hand side before firing a low left-footed shot agonisingly wide of the far post.
At the other end, Cruickshank had to be alert to hold onto a powerful 25-yard effort from Hall-Johnson before the hosts finally made a breakthrough their persistence deserved in the 71st minute.
A pass down the right-hand channel released substitute Fancett clear and he raced into the area before keeping his cool to perfectly slide the ball past the onrushing Matthews and into the bottom right corner to send the Thetford Town faithful into raptures.
The breakthrough finally appeared to rouse Norwich, who poured forward and laid siege on the Thetford goal for the remainder of proceedings.
Hall-Johnson spurned another opportunity after 74 minutes, slicing a first-time shot wide of the goal after good work down the left-hand side from substitute Kofi Boateng before the former was again frustrated just a minute later as his low right-footed effort was parried away smartly by Cruickshank,
The impressive Luke Bailey demonstrated his defensive prowess to throw himself in front of a close-range Ray Grant effort to crucially divert it wide after 76 minutes as the pressure continued to mount.
With momentum behind them, Norwich were inches away from levelling with 10 minutes remaining, but Hall-Johnson somehow only managed to divert Morris’ dipping volley on to the crossbar from three yards out when he looked destined to score.
And with time dwindling away, Cameron Norman spunred the final opportunity of the evening as he shifted the ball cleverly on to his right foot on the edge of the area, but failed to capitalise as his stinging shot flew harmlessly wide leaving Thetford to saviour a memorable victory.
Thetford: Cruickshank, Bond, McIntosh, Smith, Bailey, Propustins, ANDERSON (Thompson 75), Leech, Tavares (Fancett 64), Pearson, Bryant. Attendance: 237