Thetford fall to first loss of 2017 as rivals Watton take surprise victory


- Credit: Archant

Thetford suffered their first loss of the year against local derby side Watton at Breckland Sports Centre on Saturday in Division Five NE of the East Men’s League.

This keenly-fought battle was entertaining and played in a good spirit. Thetford were hoping to strengthen their second place challenge for the top spot but Watton had other ideas.

The sides were evenly matched for much of the first half with both defences well organised and able to snuff out promising attacks. Alastair Smith and Keith Squires were particularly strong in central defence for Thetford.

The home side had the better chances to go ahead with several penalty corners awarded.

However, their talisman Reece Laffar was unusually off target from the top of the D and failed to convert the advantages. It was in fact the visitors who broke the stalemate after 15 minutes to lead at half-time.

A rather poor first half performance by Thetford was much improved on at the start of the second.

James Burt leant extra pace in midfield and worked well with Josh Laffar and front man Shane Laws.

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Thetford’s man of the match, Andrew Smith, made a number of incisive runs on and off the ball and was equally strong in his tackling back. He showed great skill in creating space and linked well with his brother Alastair on the left.

The equaliser came after 10 minutes when Josh Harper made a strong run into Watton’s D and fired a shot which the keeper saved.

The rebound however was snapped up by Reece Laffar.

The visitors always looked threatening on the break and 10 minutes later a lively Simon Jones scored Watton’s second.

The response from the home side was swift and after a strong run forward by Joe Clarke, Laffar got free of his markers and scored a stunning reverse hit strike from the top of the D to level it once again.

Thetford restarted with their tails up looking for the win but were disappointed when Watton took advantage of some weak defending and scored late on to seal the win.

Despite the defeat Thetford remain well placed in second spot whilst Watton moved up to fourth thanks to their surprise victory.