Swaffham Town’s win at Stowmarket sets up Thetford derby

Stowmarket Town 0 Swaffham Town 2

GOALS from top scorer Joe Jackson and substitute Jamie Buhlemann gave Swaffham a win which sends them into Saturday’s derby at Thetford in a confident frame of mind.

Both team made a tentative start, not helped by the condition of the pitch, but Swaffham quickly settled into their form from previous games.

Alex Vincent was unlucky not to score in the 15th minute. Charging to catch a through ball, the keeper’s clearance rebounded off him to pass just wide of an upright.

Will O’Brien also went close two minutes later when his flighted free-kick was cleared for a corner, from which captain Matthew Parkinson was unable to keep his header down.

The breakthrough came in the 24th minute when O’Brien’s pass was collected by Jackson, whose volley from 20 yards looped over the keeper to the top left hand corner of the net for his 12th Division One goal of the season.

Stowmarket threatened before half time with a couple of drives forward, but good defending by Parkinson Nathan Cross and the Hockton brothers, Dwayne and Daren, put paid to any conversions.

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Further pressure was absorbed at the start of the second half, including an heroic headed block of a thunderbolt shot which left Parkinson on the ground and dazed.

Toby Hilliard and Jamie Buhlemann came from the bench to replace Shane Twaite-Smith and Robbie Howling – and the changes paid dividends when a great run by Jackson set Buhlemann free to knock past the keeper from 18 yards.

The goal came just three minutes after Buhlemann’s arrival – so obviously an inspired call by Town boss Paul Hunt.

The Pedlars almost made it three in the dying minutes when Vincent and Jackson combined well before the former shot narowly wide.

Saturday’s test will be a big one for the Pedlars as Thetford are league leaders, ahead of Godmanchester Rovers on goal difference.

The two teams have already met three times this season in league and cup, all at Shoemaker’s Lane. Each time Thetford were the the victors, but on the first two occasions there was little between the teams with. Kick-off is 3pm.

Swaffham Reserves, who were unlucky to lose by a single goal to North Walsham Reserves on Saturday, are away to UEA at the weekend (2.30pm). The A team continued their run in the Dick Davey Ambulance Cup with a 4-3 victory over Rockland United. On Saturday they travel to Shipdham (kick off 2pm).