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Thurlow Nunn League preview: Norwich United must be wary of a big response from Godmanchester Rovers

07:30 05 December 2015

Action from when Norwich United,  yellow, took on Godmanchester earlier this year. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Action from when Norwich United, yellow, took on Godmanchester earlier this year. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Two unbeaten records will be put on the line when the Premier Division champions visit one of their main title rivals.

Godmanchester Rovers, 2014/15 runners-up, may have finished a huge 26 points behind Norwich United last season but that still doesn’t take away from the fact they were the Planters’ main challengers for much of the campaign. It looks like it may be the same story this term with Goddy sitting third, a point behind Felixstowe & Walton United, and United having already opened up a 13-point gap at the summit.

So this afternoon’s face-off is as close to a championship showdown as you’re likely to get in the Eastern Counties League’s top-flight while Damian Hilton’s men continue to dominate it. Norwich are yet to taste defeat this season but Rovers have not lost on their own turf – even though their form of late has been erratic.

Goddy boss and former King’s Lynn player Matt Clements, whose side were thumped 5-0 at Kirkley & Pakefield last time out – the heaviest reverse of his managerial career, said: “I take a lot of the responsibility as the hunger and enthusiasm appears to have gone from the squad in recent weeks. It’s my job to do whatever needs to be done to rejuvenate it.

“Facing the top team in the division might just be the best thing for us in this situation. It’s a big game although it would have been even bigger had our results been better of late. Plenty of people will see us as being big underdogs and we need to prove them wrong by coming up with a good response to the defeat last weekend.”

The Planters – who have submitted their application for promotion, despite not taking the chance to go up in the summer – edged Harleston Town 1-0 on Saturday to keep their Norfolk Senior Cup hopes alive. Striker Matty Blake did not find the net but will score his 100th goal if he registers in today’s crunch clash.

Elsewhere, Fakenham Town host Long Melford, Gorleston welcome Haverhill Rovers, Kirkley travel to Stanway Rovers, out-of-sorts Swaffham Town host Mildenhall Town and Thetford Town are at home to Ipswich Wanderers.

In the First Division, King’s Lynn Town Reserves open their doors to Dereham Town’s second-string, Downham Town travel to Needham Market Reserves, Great Yarmouth Town are away to Team Bury and Diss Town visit league leaders Wivenhoe Town.

Joint-Yarmouth boss Martyn Sinclair said: “Football’s a funny game. We went to Halstead and won there comfortably. We beat Ely, who we thought were an excellent side, 5-2 at home but then we’ve lost to Debenham, Cornard and Sudbury who are nearer the bottom of the table.

“They had that little bit more than us on the day which we’ve got to make sure doesn’t happen. The league table is starting to map out and we’re in and around it.”

UCL Premier Division Wisbech, 10th after back-to-back defeats, host table-topping Leicester Nirvarna in the league cup second round. The winners will host Olney Town in the quarter-finals.

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