Pleasantly mild conditions greeted both Beccles and Thetford for this latest Norfolk Women and Girls League Division One encounter at College Meadow.
The pitch passed a morning inspection but was not in a good condition and both teams were hoping for no rainfall during the match as it would have given the referee a decision to make as to whether we should carry on. Thankfully we got our wish and a cracking game developed.
It was Beccles who came out of the blocks flying and looked like the form team, a close moment early on but a new signing on dual registration from King’s Lynn Town, Ellie Prentice was there to deal with the danger.
Beccles battered the Thetford goal with five corners in as many minutes but couldn’t make any of them count and the score remained level to Thetford relief. Thetford grew into the match slowly and the visitors’ first chance came when Melissa Boulton passed across the keeper but there was nobody to help her and the ball went out of play.
Thetford began to play the football that has seen them go unbeaten to this point and Abbie Corbyn was next to get into a good position but needed more time and was unable to finish.
Beccles then went back on the front foot and were clean through but Chloe Webb was there to track back well and stop the shot on goal.
In the 18th minute, Thetford took the lead thanks to a cool finish from Becky White but this was against the run of play after a good start to the game from Beccles but a clinical finish saw the visitors in front. Chelsea Page was next to go close for the visitors before Lola Barber-King had a further chance for Beccles, but Ellie Prentice was there to deal.
Credit to Prentice who was superb with her goal kicks all afternoon and added an authoritative figure to the already talented visitors as she looked to gain further game time to help with her King’s Lynn match fitness.
Thetford had another let-off when Barber King had a further chance but Beccles again failed to find the required clinical edge.
Thetford regular goalkeeper Lydia Ward was introduced as an outfield player and lit up the game with some thunderbolt set pieces the sort of thing Stoke City would be proud of in their lofty Premier League days.
The rest of the half was stop-start due to a number of injuries but it was noticeable how much Abbie Corbyn was trying to make things happen for Thetford. Just before the break, Beccles half was summed up when they missed an open goal.
Beccles started the half well and equalized with a penalty on 53 minutes through Lola Barber King. This was the wake-up call that Thetford needed as they then took the game by the scruff of the neck. Chelsea Page crashed a chance against the bar and down it came.
Abbie Corbyn then got involved in events, starting with a free kick into the keepers’ hands, she then went close again before a case of third time lucky in the 65th minute – a great finish from the talented youngster to give Thetford the lead again.
The remainder of the game was very scrappy on a pitch that was getting worse. Thetford had the better of the late stages and it was Chelsea Page who put the icing on the cake on 89 minutes with the clinching goal.
This was a very important win for Thetford on an afternoon where three key players were missing, guided brilliantly on the touchline by the management team the girls’ quality came to the fore second half. Fortunately, they had the opportunity to win it as Beccles were not clinical and will be very disappointed they didn’t lead comfortably at halftime. Thetford can be very proud and another vital three points to maintain the unbeaten start to the season in all competitions.
Thetford player of the match: Abbie Corbyn.