Newmarket Town were out to make amends for their defeat at Humber Doucy Lane last November in the return fixture at the Ridgeons Stadium on Saturday. The Jockeys were without three members of their regular squad and matters were made worse when the influential Jamie Thurlbourne injured his back in the warm up and withdrew from the match. However the three Under 18 players (Eamon Hatoum, Alistair Conway and Ethan Murphy) who filled the vacant spots did the Club proud in yet another highly entertaining game on the recently maintained 3G pitch at the Ridgeons Stadium.
The visitors started the match with all guns blazing and Ben Nower had to make three awesome saves in the first fifteen minutes from great shots by Danny Thrower (twice) and Kyron Andrews. The Jockeys responded with a powerful shot from Austen Diaper which the defenders just managed to scramble away from the goalmouth. The Ipswich defence could not however prevent Deakan Napier from scoring seconds later when his formidable shot from just outside the box took a very slight deflection off a defender and hit the back of the net. Ben Nower then pulled off another spectacular save from Jack Severy following a good build up involving several of the Ipswich front line.
Seven minutes before the break the Jockeys increased their lead. An intended clearance by the defence only found Deakan Napier who quickly fed the ball to the on rushing Eamon Hatoum. The youngster drove the ball forward and hit a tremendous left foot shot to score his first senior goal for the Jockeys. Just before the break Ipswich pulled a goal back when Jack Severy hit the back of the net with a shot which Ben Nower had little chance of stopping. Half Time Score: Newmarket 2 Ipswich 1
The visitors started the second half in determined style and the vastly experienced Danny Thrower scored from a very tight angle to level the scores. Ten minutes later Austen Diaper received a delightful through ball from Simon Swinton in midfield and his volley rocketed into the top corner of the net to restore the home side’s lead. Mid way through the half Deakan Napier beat a defender with one of his typical weaving runs and his perfect pass found the League’s leading goalscorer, Lewis Whitehead free in front of goal and he made no mistake in scoring his thirty third goal of the season. Final Score: Newmarket 4 Ipswich 2
This win kept the Jockeys firmly in contention for a great end to the season. Fourth placed Gorleston lost away at Hadleigh to virtually end their hopes of a top three finish. The Jockeys remain one point behind second placed Felixstowe & Walton with everything left to play for in the final three fixtures.
Man of the Match : Jointly awarded to Ben Nower and Eamon Hatoum by Manager Kevin Grainger.
Match Report by Graham Edwards