Eastern Counties League: Ghosts give champions a fright
- Credit: IAN BURT
Fakenham's return to the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division saw them narrowly defeated 1-0 by Hadleigh but a point against the defending champions would have been a fair fairer reflection of the game.
The Ghosts flew out of the traps in the early stages and were a serious threat with Matty Dye forcing Ben Nower into an excellent low save, while the visiting goalkeeper also clawed away two low Sam Garner crosses and watched as a Dion Frary header dropped just over.
Scott Chaplin headed straight at Tommy Rix when well placed but it wasn't until midway through the second half that the goal came – and even then it was after Robbie Harris had gone close with a volley – as substitute David Lorimer headed home Kevin Inglis's free kick.
Fakenham still kept pushing for an equaliser with James Page twice going close but it wasn't to be, though manager Wayne Anderson took plenty of encouragement from his side's performance.
He said: 'When I spoke to their manager (Stuart Crawford) after the game he said we would do OK this season so for him to say that shows that they probably realise they got a good three points having walked off knowing they could have got just a point.
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'In the first 25 minutes we really got at them and had them camped inside their own area, we were playing some lovely football and putting some good balls in.
'Even after the goal we had our chances and could have equalised, or even gone on and got a second, but it wasn't to be and we'll go again on Tuesday at Ely City now.'
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Norwich United got their season off to a great start with a 4-1 win at Felixstowe & Walton. Danny Bloomfield put the home side in front but the Planters got back on level terms before half-time with a goal from Matt Blake. The United striker went on to complete his hat-trick in the second half and Paul Cook completed the rout.
Thetford Town got off to a winning start at FC Clacton thanks to goals from James Pipe and Alex McIntosh. Aaron Condon pulled one back but the Essex outfit couldn't find an equaliser.
Gorleston started life under returning boss Richard Daniels with a 1-1 draw against Wivenhoe. Ali McKenna got the Greens' goal in the 10th minute but Wivenhoe levelled before the break and held out for a point.
Kirkley & Pakefield were well beaten 4-0 at Godmanchester, as were Diss who lost by the same scoreline at Ipswich Wanderers.
After a successful pre-season Great Yarmouth Town were brought back down to earth with a bump in the first division, losing 3-2 at Long Melford. The Bloaters found themselves 3-0 down after just 47 minutes as sloppy passing proved to be the cause of their own downfall.
Yarmouth scored with their first real attack on goal in the 67th minute when Mitch Forbes ran into the box and drilled the ball past the keeper.
The Bloaters looked sharper from that point and Forbes scored again, this time from the penalty spot, with the last kick of the game which gave the scoreline a much better look.
Swaffham Town started their season with a 2-0 win at home to Haverhill Borough. Alex Vincent opened his goal account in the fifth minute, a penalty following a clattering challenge on Joe Jackson, Vincent placing into the bottom right hand side.
Haverhill looked strong on the attack, but Swaffham's defence, under the watchful eye of Dean Miller, stood strong. It wasn't until the last two minutes of normal time that the Pedlars finally made sure of the three points as Ashley Page's free-kick somehow managed to find its way into the net.
Dereham Reserves went down to a 2-0 defeat at home to Needham Market Reserves whilst Downham were hit for six without reply by Halstead.