Honours even as sub makes impact in Thurlow Nunn Premier Division derby
- Credit: Nick Butcher
The Boxing Day spoils were shared as Kirkley & Pakefield drew 1-1 with Gorleston in the eagerly anticipated Premier Division derby, writes Joe Randlesome.
The Royals made a strong start to the game by pinning the visitors in their own half. However, they had to be thankful for keeper Luis Tibbles who denied Peter Lambert at point-blank range on 12 minutes.
Gorleston did manage to assert their authority soon after with the only notable chance for the home team coming from Payton Swatman, who shot over from 20 yards.
After the restart, Kirkley created the first opportunity as Kyle Baker headed just wide from Ian Hunter's cross. But it was the Greens who took the lead on 52 minutes as Joel Watts slotted the ball past Tibbles after being played through.
The Royals looked to respond with Miguel Lopez replacing Cameron Brooks and the midfielder had a chance soon after, but he fired over.
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Second Kirkley substitute Ross Gilfedder then made an instant impact from the bench winning a corner with which Swatman curled straight into the net to level the scores.
Jack Herbert was booked late on for the home team as the game ended with the east-coast rivals picking up a point apiece.
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The day's only other top-flight Thurlow Nunn action saw Walsham-le-Willows edge a 2-1 triumph at home against Haverhill Rovers. In the First Division, Haverhill Borough drew 1-1 against Saffron Walden Town.
It'll be a busier afternoon today with the remaining sides getting their chance at enjoying some festive football. Basement boys Diss Town welcome Thetford Town as they look to kickstart a sustained effort to preserve their senior status in the Eastern Counties set-up.
Fakenham Town, seventh, have adapted excellently since promotion but will be tested to the limit when they entertain long-term leaders Norwich United.
In the First Division, eighth-placed Great Yarmouth Town host Swaffham Town, fourth, in arguably the game of the day.
Over in Cambridgeshire the second-tier's two surprise packages of the season, March Town United, fifth, and perennial strugglers Downham Town, 11th, lock horns at the former's GER ground.