Crunch clash for Watton
Watton's promotion push is back on track and they and the other four sides at the top have now opened up a six-point gap on the rest of the division.One of their major rivals - Loddon United - are the visitors to Dereham Road next week for what could well be a season-defining clash.
Watton's promotion push is back on track and they and the other four sides at the top have now opened up a six-point gap on the rest of the division.
One of their major rivals - Loddon United - are the visitors to Dereham Road next week for what could well be a season-defining clash.
Watton travelled to Clipbush Park to play bottom-of-the-table side Fakenham Town Reserves and won 5-1.
United were determined to make-up for a somewhat lacklustre home defeat against Kirkley & Pakefield Reserves the previous week and began the game with real purpose.
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And for most of the game, they matched that purpose with enough guile to win comfortably in the end.
However, Watton bosses Derbyshire and Harwood were still a little disappointed with some disjointed play in the opening 25 minutes of the second-half. Nevertheless, overall, this was a job well done.
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United's finishing was not equal to their early creativity and it took them 19 minutes to go in front - Bloomfield swivelling in the penalty area and firing in a low, left-foot drive from 14 yards.
Before that, Campbell and Callaghan both had opportunities and Nichols went close on at least three occasions.
The visitors doubled their lead on 32 minutes when captain, Taylor, smashed the ball home from 10 yards after Harrison's header from Campbell's corner had been cleared off the line.
And just before half-time, Nichols got free inside the Fakenham box on the right and squared for Bloomfield, who forced the ball over the line for 3-0.
However, at the start of the second period, Watton's No.10 was clearly feeling the effects of an earlier knock and disappointingly, had to be withdrawn 11 minutes in. But Bloomfield had already done enough to earn himself the man-of-the-match award.
Off the bench came Lewis Broomfield, United's top-scorer from two seasons ago and a player whose signature Watton are delighted to have recaptured.
But it was the player who ran Bloomfield so close for the man-of-the-match tag, Mark Woods, who netted United's fourth. He picked-up the ball in midfield, ran from right to left - escaping several challenges along the way - and then drilled in a cracking shot from just inside the edge of the penalty area which took a slight deflection on its way over the home keeper and into the net.
The goal was all his own work and perhaps reflected the fact that Watton had, by this stage, lost a lot of their earlier rhythm.
It was no real surprise, therefore, that they conceded a late goal to a Fakenham side that refused to simply roll over and capitulate.
Confusion in the Watton defence allowed a home forward in on goal and having blocked his effort, Cruikshank was left with little chance of keeping out Deighton's follow-up.
Before then, first Kenny and then Applegate had come on to replace Campbell and the injured Nichols. But it wasn't until the last 15 minutes or so that United began to re-establish their dominance.
Several chances came and went in the closing stages with a fine strike by Broomfield chalked-off by the linesman's flag and Kenny's excellent run and shot blocked well at his near post by the Fakenham keeper.
Indeed, Harrison might have added Watton's fifth from the resulting corner, which managed to elude everyone on the goal-line.
But it was Callaghan who finally made it 5-1 on 87 minutes with a truly sweet strike. He collected a loose ball in the centre of the pitch around the edge of the Fakenham penalty area and crashed home a brilliant left-foot shot from all of 25 yards.
It was a good day all round for Watton's other teams, with the reserves beating Mudford Reserves 6-0, and the A-team winning 2-1 (Jason Green and Thomas Giddings) at home against Swanton Morley to move up to second in the table.