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The First team travelled to Claydon Reserves hoping to continue our winning run in 2023, and with the knowledge that a victory would take us level on points at the top of the table.

Kicking down the slope, the first part of the match was played out in midfield as both teams tried to dominate. We slowly began to take control and the first chance of note came after 20 minutes when a free kick from Aaron Church (sponsored by SD Blowers Agriculture) was spilled by the keeper who then managed to tip the follow up header by Joe Moore (sponsored by Xtra Time Sports Development) over the bar.

Shortly after, a fantastic passing move from back to front ended with Ryan Everington seeing his shot tipped over the bar.

We kept up the pressure and the next chance saw Joe Moore have a shot palmed onto the post, and just before half time we thought we had taken the lead but Will Stebbings (sponsored by R&R Carpentry) goal was ruled out for handball.

Half time 0-0, and we could count ourselves unfortunate not to be in the lead.

We started the second half on the front foot and after 5 minutes Will Stebbings shot from a Dan Blowers (sponsored by CDC Blowers Ltd) cross was deflected over the bar.

The game then became quite scrappy with several fouls and substitutions breaking up the play, and we were guilty of trying to force matters in search of a goal. It wasn't until the 65th minute that we created another decent chance, this time a through ball from Dan Blowers found Ryan chasing through, but the keeper made yet another save.

The keeper was soon called into action again, making a sharp save from a header by Kyle Messenger (sponsored by Ensors Accountants LLP).

Shortly after, the keeper was finally beaten but Will Stebbings powerful drive from outside the area hit the inside of the post and came back out.

We were starting to believe it wasn't going to be our day when, with 15 minutes to go, Kyle Messenger picked up the ball from Dale Pearse (sponsored by M&R Cars) cut inside and curled a fantastic shot into the far corner to finally make it 1-0.

The remaining 15 minutes played out without any real chances of note and we were delighted to hear the final whistle resulting in a 1-0 victory.

In summary it was a well deserved win against stubborn opponents who had an inspired goalkeeper. The table makes pleasant reading with us sitting joint top, albeit having played two more games, and with a gap of 4 points to third.

The Reserves welcomed Stowupland Falcons A to Carlton Park and, after a goalless first half, managed to end with a 3-0 victory. The goalscorers were Jake Firman sponsored by KW Amusements), Ben Crush (sponsored by Revells Removals) and Rob Kerridge.

Next week sees the First team travel to Ipswich Athletic, whilst the Reserves host Capel Plough A.


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