West Norfolk non-league round-up: Bad luck hurting promotion dream, says Swaffham Town boss Hunt
Paul Hunt believes his Swaffham side have a real chance of winning promotion – as long as they get a break.
Hunt has seen his side decimated by unavoidable absences – a look at their results is clear evidence of when the bad luck kicks in. The Pedlars followed a four-game winning run with a four-game losing run in September and since then have been unbeaten in three, winning the last two.
They thumped Debenham LC 6-1 at Shoemakers Lane on Saturday to sit eighth in the Thurlow Nunn First Division table, a dozen points behind leaders Cambridge University Press, leaving Hunt to rue what might have been.
Town were without Lee Woolmore and Toby Hilliard, who were on county duty, striker Rory Harper, who had work commitments, the suspended Dean Miller – while Matt Parkinson left his sick bed to help out.
'It's not our fault that we keep losing players and, yes, I think promotion is something we can aim for,' said Hunt. 'If we can get our squad fit and playing there wouldn't be anyone we would worry about in our league – and some of the league above as well.'
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The deadlock on Saturday was broken after just nine minutes, Jamie Buhlemann powering in to head in a perfectly-weighted Alex Vincent corner. Vincent made it 2-0 in the 26th minute, Jack Redhead providing the through ball.
Richard Cornwall headed home after a goalmouth scramble before the visitors pulled one back on the stroke of half-time.
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Debenham started the second half strongly, but had the wind taken from their sails when Joe Jackson scored in the 54th minute.
Swaffham keeper Scott Cruickshank made a string of top-drawer saves as the visitors rallied, but Jackson bagged his second in the 69th minute.
Jackson collected another match ball with eight minutes to go, Redhead providing a great through ball.
Downham went down 4-1 at Halstead Town, while in the Premier Division, 16-year-old debutant Jack Friend became Wisbech's youngest ever goalscorer as he put the icing on the cake in the Fenmen's 4-1 win at home to Thetford.
Chris Bacon (2) and Neal Spafford had given Town a 3-0 lead, before Thetford pulled one back on 80 minutes, but Friend had the final word as Wisbech remained three points behind leaders Mildenhall.