Thurlow Nunn League preview: First Division title race is going down to the wire
- Credit: Eddie Deane
With the Premier Division title already wrapped up for Norwich United, attentions turn to the battle for the First Division crown.
Two weeks ago Swaffham looked to be well in control of the title race in the second tier, before the Pedlars slipped to two defeats and one draw in their last three games.
That allowed Long Melford to take over at the top but Paul Hunt's side still had an ace up their sleeve of a game in hand, against lowly Cornard United on Tuesday night.
The chance to draw level on points with Melford was wasted though, with a surprise 2-0 loss at Cornard leaving Swaffham in second place.
Today the Pedlars head to mid-table Braintree looking to keep their promotion push on track.
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Great Yarmouth – one of the teams to beat Swaffham recently – are now three points behind their Norfolk rivals in third place and with a game in hand, although with an inferior goal difference.
The Bloaters host eighth-placed Debenham this afternoon looking to keep the pressure on, ahead of playing their game in hand on Tuesday night, at home against Downham.
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With Norwich United electing not to pursue promotion this season, it looks likely that three teams will be relegated from the top tier, which means Swaffham must also be wary of fourth-placed Saffron Walden, who are level on points with Yarmouth ahead of a trip to struggling Woodbridge.
Yarmouth have forced their way into the reckoning with seven successive victories under manager Ricci Butler. Over 100 supporters were at The Wellesley as Team Bury were beaten 2-0 last Saturday, with tickets free for children and £6 for adults, leading to the prices being continued for today's clash with Debenham.
The battle for bottom place in the Premier Division will be played at Brewers Green Lane, where Diss host fellow relegated side Ely with just two points separating them at the wrong end of the table.
Thetford are five points clear of the drop zone and still not able to relax despite already having eight more points than last season.
Winning at sixth-placed Hadleigh United would be a huge stride towards safety for the Brecklanders, following a 2-0 loss at Brantham last week.
Wivenhoe occupy the final safety spot ahead of their trip to mid-table Whitton, before travelling to Thetford next Saturday for what could end up being a crucial fixture.
Elsewhere in the division Gorleston host Clacton, another team still firmly in the relegation mix, and Fakenham entertain Ipswich Wanderers at Clipbush Park.
Champions Norwich United will continue their quest to become the first team to break the 100-point barrier since Lowestoft Town in 2009 when they host fifth-placed Felixstowe & Walton United.
While Kirkley & Pakefield will continue their pursuit of second place when Brantham Athletic arrive at Walmer Road.