Thurlow Nunn League round-up and preview: Honours even as rivals draw derby encounter
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015
The bragging rights were shared as Gorleston and Kirkley & Pakefield played out a 1-1 draw.
The Premier Division derby, which kicked off at 11am on Boxing Day, saw the visiting Royals take to the Emerald Park pitch having lost just once in nine outings. Ricci Butler's Greens had however won three matches in a row and the close match that many expected duly arrived.
Gaven Tipple's Kirkley took the lead just past the half-hour when Jordan Haverson prodded home a bouncing ball from inside the area. The hosts responded well with Aaron Taylor and Kyle Ingram failing to make the most of decent sighters.
The equaliser that the Greens were desperate to find arrived eight minutes after the interval. Peter Lambert was involved in a sweeping move which ended with Joel Watts finding the bottom corner.
Both teams survived some nervy moments for the remainder of the game, Gorleston especially with Karden Goldspink rattling their crossbar. But an elusive winner never arrived.
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There was a victor in another early showdown at Shoemakers Lane. Swaffham Town welcomed Walsham-le-Willows but slipped to a disappointing 2-1 defeat.
Both sides took time to settle, the visitors making the most of the wind advantage, but the Swaffham defence stood strong to deny any threat. With 28 minutes on the clock, it was Joe Jackson who broke the deadlock. The striker rounded the keeper in great style and fired home the ball from an acute angle with a sublime finish.
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The visitors equalised in the 68th minute after a controversial penalty award. Andy Wood's kick was well taken, leaving keeper Dean Mayes with no chance. Willows' number nine completed his double five minutes later and despite Swaffham's best efforts – which saw them win, but fail to convert, an injury-time penalty through Alex Vincent – they couldn't avoid a home defeat.
Leaders Norwich United are among those in action this afternoon. The Planters, seven points ahead of Felixstowe & Walton United having played one game extra, welcome Mildenhall Town as they look to continue pressing ahead with the defence of their title.
A victory will probably be required to do that as Felixstowe entertain basement boys Whitton United.
Thetford Town and Fakenham will be hoping Norwich record their 17th league win of the season to help boost their hopes of staving off relegation. First, they'll be more concerned about their own fortunes though as they come up against each other in a pivotal game at the bottom of the table.
Hosts Thetford, 18th are one place above Fakenham on the same number of points, but have played two matches less.
Yarmouth on the road
In the First Division, the area's promotion hopefuls were handed a boost without actually playing.
Third-placed King's Lynn Town Reserves and Great Yarmouth Town, fourth, were among a host of sides that didn't play on Boxing Day. Halstead Town, sixth, did but could only pick up one point, although it could have been much worse against Haverhill Borough.
The hosts were 2-0 down at the break yet stormed back to secure a draw against their A1017 neighbours. Halstead's goals came from Tom Cook and Sam Cripps.
There is a far more healthy programme of action this afternoon as clubs take the opportunity to enjoy some Bank Holiday action. Seven matches are scheduled in total with the standout game taking place at Diss Town. The Tangerines host Yarmouth while elsewhere in Norfolk, Downham Town welcome Dereham Town Reserves.
United Counties League Premier Division Wisbech Town, 14th, are back in action today when they travel to basement boys Huntingdon Town.