On Saturday we went to see Thetford take on Hadleigh United in the Eastern Counties Premier. It almost looked like a foregone conclusion before we got there with Hadleigh having scored 82 goals in 27 games and having only lost 2 games all season. They are 12 points clear at the top and although Brightlingsea, who have had a terrific run in the vase have 6 games in hand Hadleigh were 16 points ahead going into the game. Thetford have improved and should avoid relegation, but with only 21 points in 25 games, Hadleigh were always going to be the favourites.
Hadleigh certainly started the more brightly of the two teams and on 5 minutes Thetford's Martin Carter pulled down Hadleigh's Tes Bramble in a dangerous position. Duane Wright stepped up for the visitors and gave Scott Cruikshank no chance in the Thetford goal and the visitors were already 1-0 up. Thetford unlike a lot of teams against Hadleigh weren't looking to throw the towel in and just 6 minutes later they had a free kick in an identical position to the one Hadleigh had scored from. Fred Howe did well to save a well struck free kick from Ian Fancett, but the ball was just parried out to Jordan Rocastle who made sure of the equaliser.
The rest of the half was fairly evenly balanced with both sides creating good chances and it seemed fair that they went in at the break on an equal footing.
After the break Hadleigh started to turn the screw and on 54 minutes they took the lead when the slightest of touches from Bramble after a corner took the ball into Thetford's goal.
There was still plenty of action with Thetford having a chance cleared off the line on 72 minutes; Paul Donnelly of Hadleigh hitting the bar on 78 and a late goal line scramble that Hadleigh were unlucky to score from. The match though ended 2-1 and Thetford can be proud of the fight they put up against the team that are probably the champions elect.