Swaffham Town 3
Downham Town 1
Swaffham Town moved to the top of the table – albeit for just 24 hours – following their Friday night derby victory over near-neighbours Downham in front of a bumper gate of 244.
The Pedlars were good value for the three points over a much-improved Downham outfit who made the hosts work extremely hard for their latest success.
Downham’s previous two visits to Shoemakers Lane had ended in hammerings and, despite conceding two early goals, there never looked like being a repeat this time around.
Delighted Swaffham boss Paul Hunt, whose side dropped back to second in the standings after Long Melford’s narrow win over Leiston Reserves on Saturday, said: “My players were really disciplined and controlled the game well.
“We moved the ball about quickly. Getting a couple of early goals took the sting out of the game and it settled us down.
“I expected Downham to come at us a bit in the second half and you can see with the players they’ve got why they have done so well this season.”
Downham boss Bob Warby said: “We sat off Swaffham too much in the first half. We gave them too much time and space and they are not second in the league for no reason.
“They know what they are doing and you can’t take away from their front three. They have phenomenal pace and that gets you out of this league.
“In the second half we marked the space behind us rather than the man. We starved Swaffham’s supply and dominated the midfield, which I thought we did.
“As soon as we played football and trusted ourselves in the second half, and I know Hunty (Paul Hunt) will probably disagree with me, I thought we were the better side.”
Swaffham’s young talent Aaron Porter came in for the ill Jake Platten at left-back.
“The youngsters have done really well when they’ve come into the team,” admitted Hunt.
“Young Aaron had an excellent game for us and he is another example of how the youngsters have added to our squad.
“Not so long back we had to bring in 17-year-old goalkeeper Joshua Barnes for Brooksey (Lee Brooks) and he was magnificent for us for five games.”
Swaffham opened the scoring in the 12th minute when a brilliant turn of pace by Alex Vincent saw him lose his marker and force Joe Clements into an excellent save.
But the loose ball found its way to the outstanding Vincent, who made no mistake second time around.
Two minutes later it was 2-0 when Joe Jackson applied an emphatic finish after being picked out by Liam Reed.
There were chances at either end, with Clements the far busier of the two keepers, but Downham refused to cave in.
The visitors reduced the arrears in the 61st minute when Dale Stokes netted direct from a free-kick.
Downham were enjoying their best spell of the game, but five minutes from time Pat Yates was sent-off for bringing down Vincent inside the box before the striker picked himself up to dispatch the resulting spot-kick.