Downham boss so proud of team’s Norfolk Senior Cup efforts

PUBLISHED: 06:59 02 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:07 02 May 2018

Ben Baxter-Hunt scored an early goal for Downham before Norwich United hit back to win the Norfolk Senior Cup final. Picture: Ian Burt

Ben Baxter-Hunt scored an early goal for Downham before Norwich United hit back to win the Norfolk Senior Cup final. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

Downham Town manager Paul Neary was beaming with pride after his team’s efforts against Norwich United in the Norfolk Senior Cup final.

The west Norfolk side may have eventually been beaten 4-2 in extra-time but the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties First Division team made their higher-level opponents work hard to lift the trophy at Carrow Road.

Top scorer Ben Baxter-Hunt had swept home from close range in just the third minute, scoring his 22nd goal of the season, and midfielder Simon Bird lashed home a fine equaliser in the second half, but it wasn’t enough.

“I think the first 15-20 minutes that gulf in league position definitely showed but once we calmed down a few nerves, we went on, despite going one goal up so early,” the Downham boss said.

“I think it shook them into playing a little bit. Second half I thought it was all us, we totally dominated, scored a great goal, I don’t really remember Matty Capes making a save in that second half so very proud of the boys.

“Obviously they’re deflated, of course they are, because they want to win don’t they, but I thought in possession we were great, out of it we were compact, we slid across like we said we were going to do, kept it nice and controlled.”

GALLERY AND REPORT: Downham Town 2 Norwich United 4

Neary was brought in at the start of September, with previous coaching experience at Manchester United, Norwich City and Cambridge United and a Uefa B coaching licence on his CV. He will lead Town to ninth place in the final standings with victory away to Leiston Reserves in their final game on Saturday.

“I’m loving every minute of it,” he added. “I enjoy the man management side of it, that’s really important and getting them to produce what they have done here shows that we’ve done alright.

“Why Downham Town? Just look at the lads, I watched them play Swaffham and the way they played, the heart and spirit was there, and if you’ve got that you’re halfway there.

“We’ve made one or two tweaks here and there, one or two training sessions, fine tuned things but they were played four, lost four, minus 16 goals and were bottom. We’ve now played 38, won 15, drawn 10, with a plus five goal difference, so we’re obviously doing something right.”

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