Thurlow Nunn round-up: Norfolk pair slugging it out to join Planters at top
- Credit: James Bass
Norwich United confirmed their title credentials with victory over one of their closest rivals as the chase to join them in the top flight hots up.
The Planters have swept virtually all before them and third-placed Felixstowe & Walton United became their latest victims after a 3-2 victory on the Suffolk coast.
Andy Easthaugh put United in front before Tom Cullumbine cancelled out the hosts equaliser, capitalising on a defensive error.
Felixstowe levelled it from the penalty spot after the break, but Ben Thompson was on hand to score the winner.
United remain a dozen points clear of Stanway, who were 4-0 home winners over Whitton, while Felixstowe are 18 points behind top spot.
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Kirkley & Pakefield were 4-3 winners at home to struggling Walsham-le-Willows, their goals coming from Kyle Baker, with a brace, Ross Gilfedder and Ross King. The Royals are sixth in the table.
The honeymoon period is well and truly over for manager Wayne Anderson and his assistant Neil Jarvis at Clipbush Park where Fakenham were thumped 6-1 by fourth-placed Godmanchester Rovers. Ashley Jarvis got an equaliser for Fakenham and it was only 2-1 at half-time, but the Cambridgeshire side turned on the power after the break.
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Whoever goes down, it looks like a Norfolk side will be among those waiting to take their place.
Wivenhoe remain top, without playing, but Great Yarmouth Town moved into second spot after a 1-0 win at Ely City, who have now dropped to third.
Right on their tails are King's Lynn Town Reserves, who were stunning 10-1 winners away to Needham Market Reserves.
Lynn were 3-0 up within 14 minutes with new signing Craig Gillies scoring four minutes into his debut. Alex Clunan and Karl Tansley were also on target. Needham pulled a goal back on the quarter hour but Tansley completed his hat-trick to give the young Linnets a 5-1 half-time lead.
Five further goals – from Clunan, Gillies, Liam Fryatt, Tansley and Eoin McQuaid – followed in the second half without reply to give Lynn their biggest win of the season and the first time they reached double figures since 2013.
Great Yarmouth handed the captain's armband to Connor Deeks, who is joining National League neighbours Lowestoft Town, and he went out with a bang at the Unwin Ground.
Great Yarmouth kicked off playing with the strong cross-wind at their backs, and Declan McAvoy, normally so accurate at dead-ball situations, was struggling taking flag-kicks into the home penalty area due to the conditions.
It was honours even at the break, with few chances and neither side able to gain the initiative, but the Bloaters fared better playing into the breeze and Deeks was beginning to exert his influence on the game, displaying a good range of passing and ball retention.
The Bloaters took control and a 30-yard McAvoy free-kick whistled narrowly past the post.
But on 75 minutes a McAvoy corner curled in towards the goal, the keeper was wrong-footed and the ball sailed into the back of the net.
The match ended in controversy as, not long after the goal, the Bloaters' joint-manager Adam Mason clashed with a member of the home bench, resulting in both being banished to the stands as tempers began to fray.
There were also a few tasty challenges on the field as referee Middlemas, attempted to regain control.
The win leaves Yarmouth 12 points behind Wivenhoe, level with Ely and one ahead of Lynn Reserves in a race that is likely to go all the way.
Downham Town were 2-1 winners at AFC Sudbury, goals from Craig Dickson and Mark Smith giving manager Pav Guziejko his first win at the seventh time of asking.
Diss Town ended visiting Stowmarket Town's four-match unbeaten run with a 2-1 win, thanks to goals from Danny Self and Ben Fowkes, while Dereham Town Reserves were beaten 5-2 at March Town United.