Thetford Town 0-4 Mulbarton Belles
By Darrell Allen (19/4/22)
Above: Atlanta Griffith celebrates after putting Mulbarton Belles 2-0 up. Photo: Richard Brown.
The game of the day on Easter Sunday in Norfolk Women and Girls League Division One saw Thetford Town host runaway league leaders Mulbarton Belles at Mundford Road. Mulbarton knew a point from this game or better would see them crowned step seven champions in Norfolk.
Mulbarton got a good early footing in the game, knocking the ball around well and trying to get their prolific front three of Ellie Hunter, Atlanta Griffith, and Rebekah Lake involved early on. It was Hunter who had the first opportunity when a great ball came through from midfield but Lydia Ward came out well in the Thetford goal to prevent any trouble for Town.
Mulbarton continued their early confidence and momentum but found Becky Russell in the way. The dual signed midfielder from step five Wroxham but played at centre back for Thetford last Sunday in the 4-0 victory over Beccles and impressed so much that Thetford manager David Skipp gave her the role again against the league leaders and she was a commanding prescence.
Russell’s centre back partner and Thetford stalwart Rachel Lynch was also on form in making an incredible last ditch tackle to deny Lake as Thetford bravely defended to keep the score level.
Having survived the initial early phases, Thetford then began to believe in themselves and went on the ascendancy, Abbie Corbyn and Rebecca White linked up well all afternoon and Corbyn played a delightful ball through but White could not provide an end product.
Kirsty Andrews playing in goal for Mulbarton yesterday in place of the unwell regular number one Cara Anderson was then called into action as Thetford upped the pressure. Andrews had to stop a shot from White but it then rebounded to the same player who crashed a shot against the crossbar.
Mulbarton then opened the scoring with a strike from distance from Laura Hedtke that seemed to take an age to go in and trickled past the Thetford defence and ended up in the back of Ward’s net. It was a disappointing way to go behind from a Thetford point of view.
The visitors then added a second from Hedtke’s free-kick which was superbly headed in by Griffith.
Despite Mulbarton’s continued pressure, Thetford could be proud of their efforts. Corbyn and White linked up well as a duo. They communicated well in a shift that was always going to be difficult against the league leaders.
The second half started with Olivia Smith having a shot from distance but this was tipped over by Ward in the Town goal. Thetford responded as Russell played a wonderful ball to captain Boulton who then fired across the pitch to Corbyn who fed White but again nothing materialised.
Lake had two further chances for Mulbarton but Ward was in the way of everything that tried to find the net. However, nothing was to stop a wonderful third from distance by Sophie Jermy to put Mulbarton firmly in control.
A Mulbarton game is not complete without a Lake goal and the NWGFL legend rounded the keeper and finished well to get Mulbarton’s fourth and final goal of the match.
Thetford kept their heads and had chances to score, Russell fired over the bar before the best Thetford chance of the game saw a wonderful Boulton cross headed wide by Lynch which should have been a goal for Town but the final score ended in a 4-0 win for Mulbarton.
The final whistle saw Mulbarton officially confirmed as champions of Norfolk Women and Girls League Division One. The honour was respected by the hosts as Thetford Town gave all the Mulbarton players a guard of honour as they left the pitch and headed down the Mundford Road tunnel.
From a Thetford perspective, this was a performance to continue confidence from the previous back-to-back wins and another exciting game awaits when Dussindale and Hellesdon Rovers visit Mundford Road this Sunday.
Thetford Player of the Match: Rachel Lynch
THETFORD TOWN: Ward, Hardie, Klimcke, Howard, Lynch, Russell, Corbyn, Eccles, White, Boulton, Musgrove. Substitutes: Escreet, Lloyd, Smith, Knight.
MULBARTON BELLES: Andrews, McNorton, Belsey, Smith, Belsey, Hedtke, Jermy, Hunter, Griffith, Smith, Lake. Substitutes: Smith, Anderson, Ryan, Ladbrooke, Jenkins.
Scorers: Hedtke, Griffith, Jermy, Lake.
Referee: Jaden Lister