Thetford Town suffer ninth defeat on trot after keeper’s early red card

Sunday Football League results

Sunday Football League results - Credit: Archant

A 2-1 home defeat to Kirkley and Pakefield brought a disappointing week to an end for Thetford Town.

The result followed a 3-2 midweek loss to Norwich United and extended Town's run of consecutive defeats to nine games.

On Saturday, Thetford's chances of getting a win to kick-start their season were dealt a big early blow when goalkeeper Will Viner was sent off after 15 minutes.

Goldspink ran on to a Baldwin pass towards the right hand side of Town's penalty area and as Viner rushed out, Goldspink knocked the ball past him and fell as he hurdled the keeper's outstretched leg. A free-kick on the edge of the penalty area was awarded but left referee, Stuart Cheek with a tough decision as to whether a goalscoring chance was prevented. After consulting with his assistant a red card was shown to Viner.

With no substitute goalkeeper at this level, it represented a double punishment as an outfield player has to be the replacement.

With Thetford reduced to 10 men and the visitors struggling to take advantage it made for a drab first half, and the quality of the opening goal on the stroke of half-time epitomised this. A scuffed, weak, 20 yard shot from Goldspink crept in to the bottom corner of Town's goal.

It caught stand-in goalkeeper Elliot Gibson out, but no blame can be attributed to someone who, having started the game in central midfield, volunteered to take on the goalkeeper's jersey.

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After seeing the visitors offer little in attack, Town came out with renewed vigour after the restart. Michael Campbell's brilliantly struck 25 yard shot struck the inside of the post and bounced out before Max Melanson drew Town level with a fine 20 yard finish.

Melanson had a golden opportunity to put Town in front but unmarked 10 yards out his shot was too close to visiting goalkeeper Smith, who saved low to his left.

It was Thetford's desire to collect their first points since the opening day that ultimately cost them. They had overcommitted players in attack and a swift, simple attack left Haylock with a clear run at goal from the halfway line. A low finish past Gibson gave Kirkley and Pakefield all three points.

Thetford start their FA Vase campaign on Saturday with a home game against Peterborough Northern Star (3pm).

Thetford: Viner, Bond, Morton, Smith (C), L Bailey (Sanders), R Bailey (Conroy), Gibson, Sandell (White), Melanson, Hutt, Campbell.