Thetford Town concede six in trip to form-finding Mildenhall Town
Thetford Town player-boss Matt Morton refused to blame Tuesday night’s gusty conditions for his side’s 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Mildenhall Town in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.
A first-half hat-trick for the hosts’ James Hall – alongside goals from Ben Yeomans, Rob Ruddy and Kaine Manels – blew the visiting side apart far more effectively than Storm Brendan, with Mildenhall scoring three goals and missing a penalty in an incredible five-minute spell ahead of the break.
Despite Tanner Call pulling a goal back in the 29th minute and seeing a goal chalked off for offside in the 78th minute – with assist man Bradley Sandell deemed offside – it was a one-sided affair as the home team ran riot.
It followed Mildenhall’s 2-1 win away to basement side Hadleigh United on Saturday – with goals from Hall and Valter Rocha – as they return six points from the last two outings while it was Thetford’s first outing since drawing 5-5 away to Clacton FC the week earlier.
Morton said: “We were poor and didn’t deserve to take anything from it. The wind was against us (in the first half) and it stopped us getting out, which made life difficult.
“But we started with a back three, they started with a front three and, as long as we kept them the right side of us, we felt fairly comfortable but then something happened after about 10 minutes and they started to get on the wrong side of us.
“That pulled us out, their movement was good and we didn’t cope with it very well, and it pulled us apart, messed our shape up and created space for them to score.
“Yes the wind was a factor but it was more than just wind – it was not a particularly strong night for us, and it was a strong night for them.
“They had a mad spell to half-time where we were poor, we couldn’t get out, we couldn’t cope with their movement and we were punished.
“It cost us ultimately. I don’t think the score reflected the 90 minutes but if you have a spell as bad as we did, then that’s going to happen.”
Thetford are due to host Hadleigh on Saturday (3pm) in a match Morton views as winnable.
He said: “I think it’s about finding that same desire that we had when we were in trouble and when I first took over, I think sometimes you can slip into your foot coming off the gas.
“I don’t want to jinx it, but I would say that this is a big game for us to get back to form.
“They’re a team that, in my opinion, we should be beating and the only way we will do that is if we work harder than them and not have a stupidly suicidal spell. If we do those two things, I am confident we can beat Hadleigh.”
Meanwhile, Hall boss Ricky Cornish has high hopes for the second-half of the season. He said: “(A performance like that) has been a long time coming. I don’t want us to get beat until the end of the season now. And I think that’s a realistic goal.”
He wants to see the team’s rich vein of form go on on Saturday, with a visit from 19th-placed Gorleston (3pm). He said: “You don’t know what you’re going to come up against from week to week.
“Gorleston are fighting for their lives and we went to there and got beat by a last minute goal; but we are a very different side now so I don’t expect that to happen again.
“But of course there is a sense of wanting to get payback. And, after a performance like tonight, it should be fairly easy for me to motivate them to go again on Saturday.”
Thetford: Humphrey, Cusack, Smith (c), Clarke (Eastwood 69’), Luke Bailey, Conroy (Campbell 51’), Ross Bailey, Morton, Call, Melanson, Sandell
Mildenhall: Hayhoe, Steel, Asensi, Weavers (c), Chaplin, Steed, Ruddy, Yeomans (Manels 69’), Green (Turner 69’), Hall, Rocha. Attendance: 158
Free Press Man of the Match: James Hall – the hat-trick man could easily have had five or six to his name alone with his constant pressure in the Thetford box.