Both sides failed to convert several good scoring opportunities into goals in Newmarket’s final home game of the season and the teams had to settle for a share of the spoils. The Jockeys had two early chances to score but Eamon Hatoum’s shots were both cleared away for a corner. Following the second of these corners Jordan Haverson broke down field for the visitors and his shot was only cleared by the defence to Jack Herbert. His low shot went through a crowd of players in the home goalmouth to give the visitors an early lead. However the Jockeys levelled the scores in the 28th minute when Jamie Thurlbourne weaved his way past a defender. His shot was parried away by Luis Tibbles but only to Charlie Bowen who headed the ball firmly into the net. With just minutes remaining in the half Nathan Stone broke through the defence and despite having four attackers against just two defenders he chose to shoot himself from long range. Fortunately for the home side his shot went well wide of the goal! Half Time Score: Newmarket 1 Kirkley & Pakefield 1
Mid way through the second half Lewis Whitehead set up great chances for both Deakan Napier and Charlie Bowen but sadly neither could hit the back of the net. In an attempt to break the deadlock Kevin Grainger moved Jamie Thurlbourne from full back into the attack and this move helped create several more chances. With ten minutes remaining Thurlbourne found Deakan Napier who took the ball to the line and pulled it back to skipper Jack Watson but his tremendous shot was just saved by Luis Tibbles. Napier then had a shot from just six yards out which was again saved by the visiting keeper who was in fine form. In the final minute of the game a great passing move involving several of the home side ended when Jack Watson fired the ball over the bar. Full Time Score Newmarket 1 Kirkley & Pakefield 1
This result leaves the Jockeys in third place in the league. They now need to win their final game at second placed Felixstowe & Walton next Saturday by four clear goals if they are to overtake the Seasiders and claim second place for the first time in 50 years. It is a tough ask but with this group of determined players anything is possible. It’s certainly going to be a tough and exciting end the to season next weekend with the League Cup Final against Mildenhall also taking place on Bank Holiday Monday.
Match Report by Graham Edwards