Fakenham Town 2-2 Thetford Town
By Darrell Allen (4/5/22)
Above: Becky White floats in a free-kick for Thetford Town at Fakenham. Photo: Darrell Allen.
Less than 72 hours after their 5-0 win over Bungay Town, a Thetford Town squad and management team that had since been ravaged by Covid, injury, and illness made the 70-mile round trip to face Fakenham Town.
Thetford had a playing squad of 12 and some of those were carrying injuries. Norfolk Women And Girls Football League Division One’s second-placed side Fakenham had the full 16 available so Thetford went in firmly as the underdogs.
A positive for Thetford was the game was moved from the main pitch due to a veterans game and played on a smaller sized pitch which pleased the Thetford manager David Skipp ahead of kick-off.
It was Thetford who came out of the blocks fastest. A quick break saw Rebecca White find captain Melissa Boulton whose shot was saved by Tilly Betts in the Fakenham goal.
The subsequent corner by Hannah Rogers was cleared by Amie Hutchinson before a series of Thetford throws ins saw the early pressure continue with Dayna Howard forcing Betts into a save.
Fakenham began to get a foothold and a great ball through to Vicky Lubbock who then caught the Thetford defence off guard but could only slot past Lydia Ward to see the ball hit the post and go wide.
The game turned into more of a midfield battle with the Town defence working hard but Fakenham were on top, but found Dayna Howard in the way every time.
Thetford got back into what then became a stunning end-to-end contest. Good play from White, Melissa Boulton, Abbie Corbyn, and Courtney Musgrove saw an incredible amount of passes but ended up being cut out by Fakenham.
Thetford opened the scoring when Melissa Boulton struck brilliant and the ball hit the bar before coming back out to top scorer White who finished superbly over the keeper.
The visitors should have doubled their lead before the break. White floated in a wonderful free-kick and Abbie Corbyn fired over the bar when it looked like a certain goal. It remained 1-0 at the break.
Thetford started with the second half with the same work rate and intensity as the first. A great Boulton break found White but it ended up in the keeper’s hands.
Fakenham had some more good moves but Klimcke and Dayna Howard were in the way of all of them. However, the visitors’ defence could not hold out.
Fakenham levelled the scores when Sophie Lubbock hit a great finish first time across Ward and in.
Nicole Costin floated in a beautiful free-kick for Fakenham but it was dealt with well by Ward.
Disaster struck for Thetford when Captain Boulton had to come off and Erin Lloyd was reintroduced to the pitch.
Fakenham broke brave Thetford resilience in the 70th minute when Olivia Barker found the corner to give the hosts a 2-1 advantage.
Thetford would now require every inch of team spirit and togetherness to get something out of this, they delivered.
You could forgive Thetford if they went on to collapse at this point. They had given everything for 70 minutes.
Somehow, somewhere the Thetford squad found a new burst of energy, a new feeling of togetherness and with the same great attitude, Corbyn, Rogers, and White were still getting joy in behind.
The reward came when great work from Musgrove saw the ball fall to Corbyn who smashed it beyond Betts to level the scores and spark wild scenes of celebration.
Thetford enjoyed the final stages of the game and Rogers had a shot into the keepers’ hands before Amy Skipp fired over the bar and Musgrove fired wide.
The scores ended level but this felt like a win for Thetford. This is right up with Thetford’s best days of the season, to come away with limited numbers to second place Fakenham and get a fully deserved point. It took bravery, guts, team spirit, and determination of huge proportion.
The result was made even more impressive by the fact Fakenham had a free week and Thetford played less than 72 hours previous against Bungay Town.
With only one point needed from the final two games to finish fourth, this was a huge achievement for the club.
Thetford players of the match: Dayna Howard and Zoe Klimcke.
Teams: FAKENHAM TOWN: Betts, Pooley, Riches, Smith, Hutchinson, Sands, Dilling, Lubbock, Lubbock, Woods, Spurrell. Substitutes: Baker, Costin, Davies, Wright, Marjoram.
Scorers: Lubbock, Baker
THETFORD TOWN: Ward, Musgrove Klimcke, Howard, Lloyd, Howard, Corbyn, Rogers, White, Boulton, Claughton. Substitute: Skipp.
Scorers: White, Corbyn.