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MATCH REPORT - FIRST TEAM v GREAT BLAKENHAM AWAY 25/02/2023


After a disappointing draw and a narrow cup defeat in the last two weeks, the First team were keen to get back to winning ways against Great Blakenham at Whitton Sports Centre.


The conditions were tricky on a small bumpy pitch and with a strong cold wind, and it soon became clear that it was going to be a day for grinding out a result rather than eye catching football.


After around 10 minutes we created our first chance of note with the keeper tipping over a driving shot from Aaron Church (sponsored by SD Blowers Agriculture).


Shortly after we were almost punished after giving the ball away, but keeper Ben Vincent made a point blank save.


Our opponents were playing a dangerously high line and several times we almost broke through, but at the other end they threatened and hit the post with a shot that Ben had covered.


After 20 minutes we finally broke the high line with Kyle Messenger (sponsored by Ensors Accountants LLP) racing through to make a sideways pass to Joe Murphy to slot home into the empty net.


Blakenham continued to create chances, often of our own making by giving the ball away, and they almost equalised but for a good block by Dale Pearse (sponsored by M&R Cars) followed by another save by Ben.


The game was very scrappy, but just before half time Kyle Horner shot over the bar, which was followed by our opponents firing a free kick also over the bar.


So we went in at half time counting ourselves slightly fortunate to be leading 1-0.


We started the second half on the front foot and were rewarded with a second goal almost immediately. A great run down the left by Joe Murphy saw his cross steered home by Joe Moore (sponsored by Xtra Time Sports Developments).


After 55 minutes we gave our opponents a lifeline by giving away a penalty, which was dispatched to halve our lead.


The next 20 minutes were again quite scrappy with very few chances, but at times our slender lead looked precarious. However with around 12 minutes left to play a free kick struck the arm of a defender and we were rewarded a penalty. Joe Moore stepped up and calmly placed the ball into the net to make it 3-1.


The victory now seemed secure and in fact we added a fourth goal to seal it just before the final whistle with Joe Moore completing his hat trick running onto a through ball from Joe Murphy and beating the oncoming keeper.


There was still time for the keeper to be given his marching orders after receiving a second yellow card by bringing down Jermaine Haynes.


So the match ended with what on paper appears to be a comfortable 4-1 victory, but in reality we had to battle hard and show some character to get the result, which cements our second place in the league.


The Reserves hosted runaway league leaders Samuels FC and finished on the wrong end of a 9-0 defeat. Special mention should go to Warren Wright for putting on the gloves with our regular keepers both being unavailable.


Next week sees the First team hosting third place Kirton Athletic, whilst the Reserves travel to Elmswell Reserves.



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