THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Cornard United 1
Swaffham Town 5
Mark Hoskin feels Cornard have gone backwards over the last couple of weeks, this heavy defeat following a 6-1 loss at AFC Sudbury Reserves.
A pity really as Cornard had, in this difficult season, gone from being almost everyone’s whipping boys to nearly men — not winning many games, but rarely getting battered and at times playing some entertaining and fluid football.
But on Saturday they had a disastrous first half, giving the ball away easily, being caught in possession too often and leaving some alarming gaps for the visitors to surge through.
True, they improved in the second half, but not enough to save the game.
After the match, Hoskin said: “I will be sending a few texts and making a few calls in a bid to rekindle some fires.
“We had a great mix a few weeks ago, but I think some of them have lost their way a little bit.
“We were going in the right direction and it’s important we get back to that as quickly as possible.”
Swaffham went ahead in the 12th minute, Jack Redhead’s free-kick — which looked to be going wide — curling just inside the post.
In the 16th minute, the ball was lost in midfield and Alex Vincent ran clear to square the ball for the unmarked Toby Hilliard to slot in.
In between, Colin Athey had made a couple of good saves and, before the interval, Lee Smith drew an excellent save from Swaffham keeper Lee Brooks, while Billy Skinner was inches wide with a free-kick.
In response, both Redhead and Hilliard squandered gilt-edged chances.
Briefly, at the start of the second half, it looked as if we might have a game as Cornard started well, only for it all to go wrong again in the 56th minute.
Dangerman Vincent broke away and the unmarked Hilliard tapped in.
In the 74th minute, Athey charged out of the area, failed to beat Vincent to the ball, and could only watch as the acute-angled shot went in.
Cornard pulled one back in the 88th minute when Dan Newlove shot across Brooks and into the far side of the net, but it was no consolation.
Two minutes later, Swaffham were awarded a free-kick 30 yards out.
The ball was played into the unmarked Hilliard and Athey’s advance was in vain.
Cornard: Athey; Davis (K Smith 62), Laird, Dowding, Bryant, Chesney, Hart (Newlove 72), Sakal, Drann, L Smith (Beckett 54), Skinner.
n Cornard’s Cameron Ward made sure his unavailability on Saturday was worthwhile as he scored to help Suffolk Under-18s reach the FA County Youth Cup final.
Suffolk featured AFC Sudbury’s twins Tyler and Scott Kemp, as well as James Crisell, against the Amateur Football Alliance at Hadleigh United’s Millfield ground, while Hadleigh goalkeeper Max Planck was an unused substitute .
Ward put Suffolk back into the game three minutes after the break with an equaliser before Needham Market’s Jon Carver’s 87th-minute winner to set up a final against Lancashire at Portman Road on April 26 (2pm).