Away cup match played on 05 February 2023.
Kicked off at 10:15 AM

I do not often relish the Sunday afternoon match report job. Firstly because my English has always been appalling and then add in the pressures of being read by the likes of David Barrett and Dave Gooderham! Secondly, because I’m so absorbed in the game I struggle to remember all the passages of play. However this has been helped recently by the superb match editing video skills of Wojtek.

Today is not one of those afternoons, as today was a game I’ll probably never forget. Nor I believe will anyone who was lucky enough to attend.

On the back of our injury woes we welcomed David Pospisil back into the team and new signing Callum Clarke started on the bench. Amazing to think that we started with more u11 players than u12s.

Our start was less than pleasing, conceding a soft goal after 1 minute and immediately gave Haverhill plenty of encouragement. We always say before the game “Do not give them any encouragement”, but this went out the window as we missed three good opportunities to win the ball.

We dusted ourselves down and started to take control on the game. The introduction of debutant Callum Clarke was felt and his through ball to Finn Everard saw the Raiders draw level midway through the half.

We went in to half time level, but felt a little unlucky not to have more to show for our possession. A very determined Haverhill came out fired up for the second half and started to pressure us more. Their pressure paid off with the referee awarding them a pen for a trip in the box. I have no idea if it was or wasn’t a penalty, but it soon saw the ball hit the back of the Raiders net to make it 2-1 to Haverhill.

It was starting to feel like it wasn’t going to be our day, with every decision going against us, and our final ball/shot just not being good enough. Then Haverhill made a mistake, a huge mistake that would change the entire direction of the game. They put in a nasty tackle on our Tay after the ball had gone, cutting and bruising his thigh. It didn’t result in a freekick but it did give us that extra bit of motivation we needed. I asked every single Raider if they were going to let Haverhill get away with doing that to one of our own. Or… shall we do what we do best, get stuck in and put the ball in the back of their net and celebrate like we mean it!

I think the last 10 mins was the most Thetford like performance I’ve ever seen from the boys. What I mean by that was the togetherness of the team, the passion, the connection to our supporters and the hardness of the tackles!

The equaliser came moments after with a long ball from Horler which dropped over the shoulder of Hugo Andrews who turned and fired a left footed volley from outside the area passed the keeper making a massive KLUNK as it hit the back stanchion. 2-2 and GAME ON!

Straight after this goal a bruised Taylor asked to come back on. I knew as soon as he re entered the pitch that if he was presented with an opportunity he wasn’t going to miss. Que our first awarded freekick of the game. I didn’t even see it hit the back of the net because as soon as Tay hit it… I was already in the arms of Dave celebrating!!! What I didn’t account for was Tay celebrating in front of the home fans showing off his bruised leg!!! They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree… don’t they Brad!!

We had the lead for the first time in the game with minutes left, but we were not done. There was salt to be added to their wounds. Following a very long goal kick from Horler the ever present Everard rounded the keeper for his second of the game and 5th this weekend. I believe this is called a Raiders mic drop. 2-4 job done.

Special mentions to Callum Clarke for a SUPERB debut. His calmness on the ball was matched by his ability to find a pass to feet and his heading ability. Wonderful… more selection headaches for me!!!

Oscar and David Barrett for coming and once again supporting the Raiders. Hugos “Depay” goal celebration mirrored by David was even more special!!!

Zach Horler for two assists from between the sticks! We embrace and celebrate it Zach.

Lastly to our MOTM Taylor Parker, who got knocked down but got back up again… and knocked them out the cup. I’ve never been more proud.

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