I was desperate to get to a game yesterday, but it was one of those Winter days when half of the local pitches were waterlogged and the other half were frozen. The day started with a constant refreshing of Twitter as the games started to be called off. Amongst the bad news was the Downham Town feed. They were confident that their game was on and they also seemed friendly and want people to attend. Ely Reserves were silent and King's Lynn looked on, but I wasn't in the mood for them, so we decided to start the New Year with a trip to a new ground and get along to the Memorial Playing Fields in Downham Market.
It all looked straight forward on the map, but obviously when we reached the town I bore left instead of turning left and we ended up going around in a circle before being put on the right path at a local pub.
The ground was quite unassuming and in marked contrast to the fallen glory feel that surrounds the visitor's - Great Yarmouth's ground - it didn't look much. However, at £5 for entry and a programme, a warm welcome and decent prices in the clubhouse there wasn't much to complain about.
Last time we went to Great Yarmouth they were in the relegation zone and there had been more Ely fans there than home fans, but there was a decent away support at the ground for a game that could have been easily called off and despite being in the same county was a real distance.
The game started off brightly for the home team, who were defending a good home record going into the game and they took the lead on 6 minutes and had the ball in the net a minute later, only for the goal to be ruled offside. However, this was one of the problems in the early attacks as they continued to wander offside. As the half progressed Yarmouth also settled into the game and on 19 minutes they came close with a shot that really tested the Downham keeper. It came as no surprise really when Yarmouth grabbed an equaliser 5 minutes later.
After this the Bloaters thought that they could take the lead and continued to put the home team under pressure. on 35 minutes the Downham keeper was forced to make another decent save. Downham weren't going to be able to hold out until half time though as on 37 minutes the visitors had a shot from just outside of their own half that sizzled past the keeper and could be goal of the season at any level.
After a Newcastle Brown in the bar we were back out for the second half and it was clear that the visitors were going to continue to press. Downham also needed to score and it was a frantic and end to end start to the second half. It was the visitors though who drew first blood and they took a 3-1 lead from a cleverly worked short free kick when the home team probably expected a shot from range, Downham were galvanised into action and on 67 minutes they looked close to pulling a goal back. Despite their efforts they got caught on the break though and it was soon 4-1 to Yarmouth.
Downham pulled one back on 81 minutes, which set up a grandstand and frantic finish to the match as Downham didn'g give up and fought to get back in the game. You have to admire their never say die attitude, but it wasn't to be today and the visitors secured a 4-2 victory.