Semi-Final Joy for Thetford
By Jackie Skipp
Thetford Town 2 - 0 Stanway Rovers
Thetford Town have a Thurlow Nunn Cup final to look forward to following a splendid semi-final win over Stanway Rovers. Brantham Athletic await in a 7th May final. Brantham currently sit 5th in the Thurlow Nunn Premier League and Thetford go into the game as clear underdogs. A repeat of this performance though, and Thetford stand every chance of lifting the trophy at Diss Town's Brewer Lane ground.
Thetford controlled the first half without making their dominance count on the scoresheet. Robbie Priddle and Valter Rocha playing either side of Andrew Wood were lively and swapping flanks to good effect. Ross Bailey in midfield, was bright and inventive looking to set the rhythm for the home side.
Rocha missed a golden chance to put Town in front, a long kick forward by Thetford goalkeeper Will Viner was misjudged by the Stanway defender, Rocha free on goal had his powerful shot beaten away by goalkeeper Andrew Plummer. From the rebound, the Thetford striker shot high over the crossbar.
Thetford finally made their advantage count in the 49th minute. From a free kick on the right hand side of the penalty area Rocha whipped a cross into the box that was calling out for a Town player to touch it into the net. As it was, no touch was forthcoming, and the ball found it's way into the bottom left hand corner of the goal.
Thetford remained on top, a lovely passing move saw Priddle tee up Max Melanson whose half volley from the edge of the area flew just wide. Priddle himself was denied soon after. Arriving from the right, his flicked effort from Rocha's cross struck the crossbar. The Town forward immediately turned and sprinted back into position on the right flank, a clear example of the discipline that him and his team mates so well.
With the margin of one goal, there was the fear of a Stanway equaliser potentially sending the semi-final into the lottery of penalties. However, the town back four remained resilient and organised, reducing the visitors to only a few have chances.
Town put the game beyond Stanway in the final 10 minutes. Andrew Wood broke clear and one-on-one with the goalkeeper had time to pick his spot, his low drive secured Thetford's place in the final.
At the final whistle, Town's Chairman Nigel Armes, raced onto the pitch, his arms outstretched a warm and deserved embrace for each member of the team and coaching staff.