Downham Town 2 Swaffham Town 1
Downham Town brought Swaffham Town’s run of 11 consecutive league wins to a frustrating end with victory at the Memorial Field.
The hosts came from behind to take all three points as they continue to be a bogey team for the Pedlars who have failed to beat their rivals in four league and cup meetings this season.
Downham were indebted to goalkeeper Joe Clements for an excellent display in a hard-fought derby clash.
Speaking after the win Neary praised his side’s attitude and character and the efforts of Clements.
Neary said: “I’m really chuffed, it’s a huge win for us and great to win a local derby at home on Boxing Day.”
“Joe (Clements) was caught out by the ball into the box for their goal but really made up for it and was pulled off some superb saves in the second half.
“I thought we showed them too much respect in the first 20 minutes, but they made up for it and I thought after that we were on the front foot for most the game.
“We know they are a good side, you are not in and around the top three for nothing, so to have turned them over - after being behind - shows just how far we have come.”
Swaffham started strongly and Liam Reed made the most of a mistake by Clements between the Downham posts to fire his side ahead after 15 minutes.
Neary’s troops could have easily crumbled against a Swaffham side full of confidence, and looking to regain top spot from Woodbridge, but as the half went on started to create problems for the visitors.
After a bright spell, Downham were level in the fifth minute of first-half injury time, Ben Baxter-Hunt firing past Sam Pishorn in the Swaffham net.
Downham were quickest out of the traps in the second half.
Luke Plumb turned the tables with 68 minutes on the clock, when he finished off a quick counter-attacking move started by a wasted Swaffham corner.
The Pedlars pressed for an equaliser and despite good chances falling to Joe Jackson, Alex Vincent and Blackford in the closing stages, a brave display from Clements ensured the stopper made amends for his earlier mistake.