Thetford Town smiling as Clarke’s late double turns defeat into a win

Thetford Town celebrate Nathan Clarke's dramatic late winner against Ely City on Saturday Picture: C

Thetford Town celebrate Nathan Clarke's dramatic late winner against Ely City on Saturday Picture: CLUB - Credit: Archant

Two late goals from centre-back Nathan Clarke earned Thetford Town a dramatic 2-1 win against Ely City at Mundford Road.

Town had trailed to a 55th minute Sam Reed goal but Clarke struck in the 85th and 91st minutes to secure an important three points in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.

Clarke rejoined Town in January having left the club at the end of last season to move to Newmarket Town and after the game expressed his delight to be back.

“I wasn’t enjoying myself or my football at the time but I am happy here as I have a lot of mates at the club who I have known for a long time, with a great team off the pitch running the club and especially with the recent wins we have had,” Clarke said.

Town deserved more than a single point from their previous two games against Histon and Newmarket but here managed to grind out three points with their weakest performance of the last trio of games as Clarke admitted.

“To be honest we were poor, especially in the final third,” he said. “We didn’t create a lot of chances and that nearly cost us. The three points are vital as we wanted to give ourselves a bit of breathing space from the relegation zone.”

Town had the best of the first period, moving the ball neatly at times but their attacking play was uninspiring.

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The second half carried on in much the same way until Ely broke the deadlock from a corner which was whipped in viciously from the right by Jamie Alsopp and after Tom Williams’ effort was blocked, Reed tapped in from close range.

It took a smart save by Will Viner from Chris Lewis’ fierce effort to keep Thetford in the game but the home side struggled to create clear-cut chances, with the visitors dealing well with the threat of the division’s top goalscorer Valter Rocha.

However as the game approached its conclusion Thetford turned a potential loss into a win. Rocha’s in-swinging corner was met by Clarke’s head to draw Town level before Clarke found himself in the right place to fire home at the back post after Elliot Smith’s header was blocked on the line.

Next up for Town is a trip to Gorleston on Saturday (3pm).

Team: Viner, Morton, Clarke, Carver, L Bailey, Smith, C Rocha (Gibson), Sandell (Hutt), Castro, V Rocha, Priddle (Piggott).