Yesterday I went to see Thetford play Halstead in Divsion 1 of the Eastern Counties League. Going into the game Thetford had played 8 and won 8 in the league and are also still in the FA Vase having beaten Premier League high-flyers Dereham 3-0 away in the last round. Considering that they have gone on this run without centre forward Matt Blake or winger Bruno Tavares playing much of a role is even more impressive. Both Blake and Tavares were back for the game, but as Halstead themselves had a record in the league of won 5 drawn 2 and lost 1 it didn't look like it was going to be a pushover.
The game started off with both teams appearing to be fairly equal, although Thetford had the best of the early chances. A speculative shot by Bruno Tavares on 7 minutes nearly went in over the keepers head and Matt Blake had the ball in the net on 11 minutes, but was offside. Matt Dixon, who in Blakes absence has scored 7 league goals and 7 cup goals came close 26 minutes and hit the crossbar.
Just 1 minute later Thetford took the lead. As Blake got onto the end of a long pass from Tom Cusack to beat the keeper. What made the goal even more special was that Blakey had a broken stud when he scored and had been about to change his boots before running on to score. As soon as he did score he changed his boots got back up got on the end of a ball through by Tavares and it was 2-0 just before the half hour mark.
On 36 minutes Bruno Tavares ran through the Halstead defence and could have crossed to give Blake a hat-trick, but instead slotted the ball in the bottom corner to give Thetford a comfortable 3-0 lead.
You felt that Halstead might have got back in the game in the second half, but just 3 minutes in and Matt Blake crossed from the right, it looked like the ball had eluded everyone, but Tom Cusack was galloping in from midfield and connected with it to go 4-0 ahead.
Thetford weren't finished yet though as on 63 minutes Blake somehow got the ball in the back of the net to make it 5-0 and to make his personal record for the season so far played 2 scored 5.
That was it as far as the goal scoring went, but in true Eastern Counties League Fashion Thetford continued to try to score. Sean O'Donnell had the ball in the backl of the goal on 79, but was offside. Not a lot happened in the last 10 minutes, but who can blame them for sitting back a bit.