Thetford Town 5-0 Bungay Town
By Darrell Allen (29/4/22).
Above: Melissa Boulton, Thetford Town captain, player of the match, and scorer of her team’s fifth goal in action last night. Photo: Richard Brown.
A rare midweek match for Thetford Town saw Bungay Town visit Mundford Road for Thursday night football under the lights in Norfolk Women and Girls League Division One
Despite the two towns being 34 miles apart, this fixture has a derby day type feel to it and has become a hotly contested affair this season with Thetford losing 2-1 with 10 players in the NWGFL League Cup and the League fixture at Bungay being abandoned with the hosts 5-2 up after a late injury to Thetford’s Courtney Musgrove.
The added significance and atmosphere of a night game and with Bungay having scored eight goals in their away win at Stalham on Sunday and Thetford producing a disappointing performance and 4-0 defeat to Dussindale and Hellesdon Rovers meant that the two sides came in on the back of contrasting results.
Bungay travelled with just a squad of bare 10 players due to suspensions and exams and the numerical advantage was a huge unexpected positive for Thetford Town ahead of kick-off.
Thetford started the game on the ascendancy and an early cross from captain Melissa Boulton was into Sophia Serghiou’s hands
Becky Russell, Thetford dual signing again showed her love for the game by playing for Thetford less than 72 hours before her next Wroxham fixture on Sunday and superbly fed in Hannah Rogers who shot but again this ended up in the hands of Serghiou.
Bungay, regardless of their numerical disadvantage looked hungry and a Lucy Eagle cross was fired over the bar by Ciera Flatt. They also went close when Gemma Foster found Flatt who sent Eagle through but Thetford keeper Lydia Ward was there to stop with her legs.
Thetford opened the scoring halfway through the first half when following some stunning work by Hannah Claughton, Russell was there in acres of space to calmly slot past Serghiou.
Bungay went in search of an equaliser before the break as Foster’s shot was saved by Ward before a corner was played in, again saved by Ward and a goalmouth scramble followed but Thetford cleared the danger away and went in at the break with a single goal lead.
The second half was a contest for little more than 3 minutes when Thetford went 2-0 up when Becky White dinked the ball superbly over Serghiou from distance.
The game was made safe for the hosts when substitute Abbie Corbyn crossed and found Rogers who tapped in like a typical poacher for 3-0.
A fourth goal was not far behind as Corbyn, who had an inspired evening down the Thetford wing, was there again to shoot. Serghiou saved but she could not prevent Hannah Claughton from following up.
Bungay continued to be proactive in their attitude and commitment, and were determined to do their club and town proud as the numerical disadvantage showed as energy levels wained as this contest headed for its final stages.
The evening got worse for Bungay as Lucy Eagle had to come off leaving eight outfield players. It got even tougher when Cierra Flat was sin-binned. Eagle determined as ever, went back on for the final exchanges, someone who represents passion and determination in abundance.
The concluding stages of the affair were Thetford domination. The hosts broke and a Boulton cross found Rogers, but the shot was fired at Serghiou.
The final act came when captain Boulton rounded off an outstanding team and personal display by slotting past Serghiou to make it 5-0.
This was a night that Thetford Town needed, naturally assisted by the numerical advantage, but this team has had some terrible knocks in recent weeks and deserved luck being on their side. That said, you still have to beat what’s there, and whilst Bungay competed admirably in the first half, it was Thetford who blew their visitors away in the second 45 with four goals to add to the Russell opener and a wonderful team performance.
With three away days to come at Fakenham Town, Bungay Town and Dussindale and Hellesdon Rovers, after last Sunday’s heavy defeat, these games looked daunting. They might still be, but after this outstanding team performance and win, these games can now be approached with renewed self-belief and confidence. Thetford know that they can succeed if they all pull together, all help each other and all believe in each other as not just footballers, but people too.
Many would say these are very evenly matched clubs and with the reverse fixture on 8th May at Bungay coming soon, the hope will be that both are at full strength.
Player of the Match: Melissa Boulton (Thetford Town).
Teams: THETFORD TOWN: Ward, Musgrove, Mae-Davies, Howard, Lynch Klimcke, Rogers, Russell, White, Boulton, Claughton. Substitutes: Corbyn, Escreet, Burr-Walpole, Lloyd, Knight.
Scorers: Russell, White, Rogers, Claughton, Boulton
BUNGAY TOWN: Serghiou, Galer, Riggall, Webb, Adams, Flatt, Studd, Renwick, Eagle, Foster.
Referee: Craig Ellis