Thetford Town start season with win thanks to touch of class from Sandell

Swaffham Town striker Joe Jackson rounding the full back during his side's 2-1 win over Godmancheste

Swaffham Town striker Joe Jackson rounding the full back during his side's 2-1 win over Godmanchester Rovers in Saturday's Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division opener Picture: EDDIE DEANE - Credit: Archant

Thetford Town got their season off to a perfect start with a 2-1 victory against Walsham-Le-Willows on Friday evening as Mundford Road hosted the opening Thurlow Nunn League game of the new campaign.

A moment of genuine quality settled a highly competitive game in Thetford's favour. Up until the 44th minute Bradley Sandell had been on the periphery of the game, but when the ball dropped to him on the edge of the penalty area, the 18-year-old expertly adjusted his body shape to produce a controlled scissor-kick finish which nestled in the top left hand corner of the Walsham net.

Up to that point the game had swung from end to end, with both teams, and especially the visitors, committed to moving the ball around swiftly on a lush surface.

After an early scare when Ryan Clark broke clear of the Town defence only to fire weakly at Will Viner in the home goal, the home side took the lead in the 12th minute through debutant Liam Hemming.

The winger, a threat all night cutting in from the left hand side, was given freedom to work his way across the visitors' 18 yard box unchallenged before coolly placing his finish past out of position Walsham keeper Steve Fenner.

Walsham drew level in the 23rd minute, Craig Nurse scoring with a well struck 20 yard strike which flew into the top corner.

As is typical at this level, the second half didn't match the first as bodies and minds tired. Chances were at a premium until the last 10 minutes when Town had to withstand a sustained spell of pressure.

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Viner made a couple of smart saves and Nurse was inches away from connecting with a low cross which whizzed across the six yard box.

It was a game which in previous seasons Town may have dropped points late on but on this occasion Viner was well supported by the back four, all seasoned defenders who showed their defensive nous when they needed to keep the visitors at bay.

This Saturday Town host Rothwell Corinthians from Northamptonshire in an FA Cup preliminary round tie. This is an evening kick-off, with the tie getting under way at 7.30pm. The following Tuesday evening Town are back in league action at Haverhill Rovers.

Team: Viner, Morton, Smith (c), L.Bailey, Cusack, R.Bailey (Hutt), Melanson, Gibson (Bond), Sandell, Edge (Priddle), Hemming. Attendance: 205.