Newmarket Town put to the sword during hefty home defeat to Lakenheath
If Lakenheath manager Ben Cowling could have hand crafted a performance from his side, it would have almost certainly looked like the one they produced during tonight's 6-0 victory at Newmarket Town.
The visitors made the short trip down the A11 winless in their last eight outings in all competitions, five of which they had tasted defeat.
Yet, there was no sign of any lack of confidence or self pity as they ran riot at the Tristel Stadium, scoring three times in either half to wrap up a memorable win against a Newmarket team that had only lost for the first time in the league this this season at the weekend.
With Dean Grogan and captain Sam Hawley orchestrating proceedings at the back, Lakenheath were stubborn, resolute and willing to throw their bodies on the line.
And crucially, they had the desire and the killer touch at the other end, starting in the 13th minute when former Newmarket youngster Brandon Morris smarty darted towards the near post to cleverly turn in Tom Thulborn’s low right-wing cross.
That lead was duly doubled in the 31st minute as Grogan was given time in the right-back area to send a long lofted pass forward for an advancing Lee Hammond. The right-back continued on towards the byline, from where he cut the ball back for an unmarked Nick Castellan to steer home.
And within 60 seconds the away side were three goals to the good. There appeared to be some hesitancy in the Newmarket defence and an alert Thulborn pounced, beating Newmarket goalkeeper Alex Archer to the loose ball and then showing good composure with his finish from the edge of the box.
It was safe to say Newmarket, who had offered very little as an attacking force up to this point, were looking a little shell shocked.
The half-time introduction of player-manager Michael Shinn got them in possession a bit more after the restart, with Newmarket winning second balls higher up the pitch. And they almost made the perfect start when less than a minute in Jordan Lake hit the cleanest of shots from the edge of the area, only to see the ball cannon to safety off the upright.
Dangerous crosses began to rain in on the Lakenheath box, and from one of those goalkeeper Charlie Beckwith had to race off his line to bravely dive at the feet of the hosts’ main marksman James Hall.
Yet, any hope of a miraculous comeback were extinguished on the hour mark when Archer had a moment he will not look back on with great fondness. Newmarket’s number one scuffed his clearance from just outside of his area and while Hammond’s first touch narrowed the angle, he was still able to hammer the ball into the top corner.
And to their credit, Lakenheath didn’t stop there. It could – and probably should – have been five in the 68th minute as Archer kept out Thulborn and when the rebound was eventually worked to Alex McIntosh, he dragged his shot wide from 10 yards out.
Up the other end, Newmarket’s frustrating evening was summed up when they hit the woodwork for a second time in the 74th minute. Some direct running from Ben Robinson took him deep into Lakenheath territory, but while his rising shot beat Beckwith, the crossbar thwarted him.
Then, it got even worse as Lakenheath – for the second time on the night – scored twice within the space of a minute to ice an already impressive cake. There was 88 minutes on the clock when substitute Shaun Avis slid in to divert McIntosh's driven cross beyond Archer and then with their very next attack, Teddy Webber headed Reece Clarke's cross into the path of Thulborn, who smartly flicked in from close range.
Newmarket: Archer, Chivers, Whiting, J Robinson, Seymour, Carver, B Robinson, Lake, Hall, Maybanks (Shinn 46’), Whitehead
Lakenheath: Beckwith, Hammond (Webber 67’), Peters, Hawley, Grogan, Underwood, McIntosh, Walters, Morris (Avis 51’), Thulborn, Castellan (Clarke 78’)
Suffolk News Man of the Match – Dean Grogan (Lakenheath): It may seem strange handing the award to a defender given that Lakenheath scored six goals, but Grogan – along with his defensive partner Hawley – gave his side the platform. He made countless blocks, won numerous headers and played a key role in the second goal.
* For reaction from both managers, see this week's Newmarket Journal print edition.