THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Hadleigh United 1
FC Clacton 0
Danny Thrower’s spot kick seven minutes from time gave Hadleigh United a hard-earned victory in Saturday’s entertaining game against FC Clacton.
It left manager Ian Brown reflecting on the progress his side has made this season, and looking ahead with confidence.
“I think it was a really good battling performance. We were positive and we got a result because we took them on. So it augurs well for the future in terms of attitude, effort and commitment,” he said.
Despite the wind and driving rain both teams looked to attack, but both keepers had to be constantly alert as the ball frequently skidded off the wet pitch.
The first half saw several chances – Hadleigh keeper Ben Nower made excellent saves from Aaron Condon, twice, and Chris Ribchester.
At the other end Joe Fowler twice denied David Lorimer with reflex stops and beat away a powerful strike from Thrower.
But Clacton, who were the slightly more menacing in the first half, were less of a threat in the second as Hadleigh improved.
Lorimer was thwarted by Fowler once again and Thrower and Marley Spindler also went close, Karl Andrade producing the only real response from the visitors.
With the game looking to be heading for a goalless draw, Spindler battled for the ball in the box and was sent sprawling by Wayne Chapman.
There were no protests from Clacton and Thrower stepped up with his powerfully-struck penalty to give Fowler no chance.
Three minutes later Kevin Coyle was allowed to run almost unchallenged from his own half, his shot taking a wicked deflection, Nower’s fingertip save put the ball over the bar to preserve Hadleigh’s lead.
“Maybe I’m biased,” said Brown, “but I think he’s the best keeper in this league.”
Brown, who took over as manager after the resignation of Stuart Crawford at the beginning of the year, acknowledges that Hadleigh are a team in transition.
“People move on, you bring your own players in, they have to gel, and that takes time. We are a work in progress, and it’s about getting consistency,” he said.
“It’s not always about quality. It’s about the quality of application, and today we applied ourselves well, worked hard, and got a result.”
Hadleigh: Nower; Stafford, Clarke, Downey (Churchyard 59), Jennings, Rose, Chaplin (Garnham 84), Spindler, Lorimer, Scopes, Thrower.