Swaffham Town see off Thetford Town on penalties in League Cup after 2-2 draw


- Credit: Archant

There will be no repeat of last season’s League Cup heroics for Thetford Town after they were eliminated on penalties by Swaffham Town in a midweek derby match.

A fine run last season saw Town reach the final but defeat leaves them with only the Norfolk Senior Cup as a chance for cup success.

After finishing 2-2 at full-time it took a penalty shoot-out to decide the game’s outcome, with Luis Duarte striking home the winning penalty and Swaffham prevailing 6-5 on spot-kicks.

A shoot-out was ultimately a fair way to decide the tie’s outcome after an uninspiring, but evenly matched game.

All four goals came in the first half. Matthew Prudence stoked home a seventh minute penalty to put the visitors in front after Duarte’s break into the box was brought to a halt by a mistimed Telmo Rocha challenge.

Two moments of skill from Bradley Sandell turned the game in Thetford’s favour. A cute reverse pass from the youngster released Quevin Castro who fired a low drive last Aaron Watson. Sandell then produced a perfect deep cross, leaving Valter Rocha with a simple nodded finish at the back post. Rocha, one of four brothers in the Brecklanderers’ starting team, with Carlos Rocha making his debut for the club.

Swaffham drew level on the stroke of half-time. Duarte, given too much time by the Thetford defence, produced an accurate low strike from the edge of the area into the bottom right hand corner.

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The second half was a drab affair, with neither team passing the ball with any pace or conviction and with temperatures dropping, penalties could not come soon enough.

As the half progressed it was Swaffham who looked more likely to nick the game. At the death it took Will Viner’s outstretched hand to deny Aaron Smith’s goal bound header.

And so to penalties at the cricket ground end of Mundford Road. Both sides missed one penalty from their first five. In sudden death Matt Morton fired over the bar for Thetford, leaving Duarte to strike convincingly down the middle of the goal to send a joyous Swaffham into round three.

Thetford: Viner, Carver, Morton, Smith (c), Sandell, C Rocha, T Rocha (Wells), Tavares, Castro, Priddle (Davies), V Rocha.

Swaffham: Watson, Weaver-Pipe (Castellan), Gilchrist (c), Tindall, Lee, Prudence, Trundle (Pearson), Porter (Carter), Duarte, Smith, Willis. Ref: Mr T Hancock.

Thetford’s poor run of form continued on Saturday with a 2-1 home defeat to Haverhill Rovers.

After conceding five goals in each of their last two league games Town would have been hoping to pick up form against a team who started the day third bottom of the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division.

They started brightly and from Ross Bailey’s floated cross Elliot Smith had a header well saved by Mitchell Ware and Valter Rocha was peppering the Haverhill goal with efforts from a variety of angles.

However, Haverhill took the lead in the 22nd minute against the run of play. Town failed to deal with a long ball forward and Luke Haines broke clear on the left hand side of the box, with his low cross turned into his own goal by an unfortunate Jon Carver.

The pivotal moment in the game came three minutes later. Valter Rocha was deemed to have been held in the penalty area and stepped up to take the penalty but Ware read Rocha’s intentions, diving low to his left and keeping the ball out with his leg.

Rocha almost made amends soon after when, after a delightful drag back, his effort was brilliantly saved by Ware low to his right.

The second period began with Thetford on the front foot and they soon came close to drawing level. Ware failed to claim a cross but Bailey was twice denied by last ditch Haverhill defending.

The visitors doubled their from with a quick break down the left hand side from Ben Tait, joined by full-back Mickey Davis, who arrowed a left foot drive from 20 yards into the bottom right hand corner.

For the last 25 minutes Thetford were excellent. Rocha pulled a goal back with a neat dink over Ware and from then on the hosts played with an collective attacking intent seen too infrequently so far this campaign.

Town were denied by more good goalkeeping and resolute defending. Rocha shot just over the bar from the edge of the area,and then forced a smart save from Ware with a fierce cross shot. Bradley Sandell, breaking in from the right, had an effort saved by Ware and lively substitute Quevin Castro was denied by a goalline clearance and then saw a deflected effort spin just wide of the post.

A third successive league defeat left Town sitting 14th in the table ahead of another home game on Saturday against Whitton United (3pm).

Team: Viner, Stead, Morton, Carver, L Bailey, Smith (c), R Bailey (T Rocha), Sandell, V Rocha, Tavares (Castro), Priddle.

Swaffham Town were twice pegged back in Friday evening’s derby encounter at Downham Town, eventually having to settle for a 2-2 draw.

In a game played at pace and in the spirit of a local encounter, the Pedlars took the lead on four minutes, Ryan Pearson striking home a loose ball from 14 yards.

The home side equalised 13 minutes later before Alex Vincent restored the Swaffham lead in the 36th minute, running onto a through ball and smashing into the right hand top corner.

The Pedlars retained their lead until the 79th minute when Downham equalised again to ensure the teams would go away with a point apiece.

The Pedlars hit the road at the weekend to take on May and Baker from Dagenham in the second round of the Buildbase FA Vase. The game will be played on Sunday due to a ground-sharing arrangement May & Baker have with Barking Rugby Club.

The following Tuesday, the Pedlars are at home in cup action again, taking on Lakenheath in the First Division Knock Out Cup.

The Reserves were without a game at the weekend due to Norwich CEYMS Reserves being unable to field a team. On Saturday they are away to Acle United Reserves.

The Under-18s fought out a 2-2 draw away to Aylsham last Thursday, Thomas Wagg and Nico Pates getting the goals. This Thursday they are at home to FDL Rangers.

The Veterans suffered a 3-1 defeat to East Harling at the weekend in an entertaining game, the Pedlars deserving to take something from the fixture but luck being against them. Ray Harrison got the goal. On Sunday they are in action again, with Cringleford Veterans the visitors to Shoemakers Lane in the Norfolk County Veterans’ Cup.