Swaffham Town boss Paul Hunt was full of praise for Pedlars striker Matthew Blackford after the teenager bagged his third goal of the season on Tuesday night.
The 18-year-old has risen through the ranks at Shoemakers Lane and looked completely at home in the Swaffham starting team as the Pedlars came from behind to beat a physically-testing Diss outfit.
Hunt told the Lynn News: “Mattie is a top lad and I am thrilled for him.
“He first joined the club as part of our under-18s and had two really good seasons with them and was top scorer in the side that won the league last season.
“I’m really proud of the way he has come into adult football.
“It always takes a little time to settle but he has done really well going from playing in our under-18s to playing at step six.
“I thought he was outstanding tonight and he got his rewards in the dressing room afterwards, which he really deserved.
“It is really pleasing when young lads come through our under-18s, go through our reserves and then show that they are good enough to threaten in the first team and Mattie has done exactly that.”
Blackford’s 41st minute goal was the start of Swaffham’s fightback after Diss raced into a two-goal lead inside 20 minutes.
Virgilio Leiato opened the visitors’ account after six minutes and Charlie Lambe latched on to a similar long ball over the top to double their advantage 14 minutes later. After the in-form Swaffham youngster pulled a goal-back from close range, Alex Vincent levelled the scores on the stroke of half-time.
He received a helping hand from Tangerines’ keeper Jake Hayhoe who turned Vincent’s cross-cum-shot in at his near post.
Six minutes into the second half, Joe Jackson volleyed Swaffham ahead in impressive fashion, finding the back of the net from a central position from 40-yards out.
Two minutes later,Jackson secured his brace to make it 4-2 and Swaffham defended solidly when they needed to in the closing stages to ensure that was how the scoring finished.
The victory lifts the Shoemakers Lane outfit to fourth in the Division One standings.
Tomorrow, they travel to third-placed Whitton United – a game which the Swaffham chief is looking forward to.
“Whitton are doing really well and we have always had really good games against them,” said Hunt.
“Whenever we have played them we have had tough games and it is going to be a tough game over there Saturday but we can’t wait and are really looking forward to it.”
Elsewhere in Division One, Paul Neary’s Downham Town side welcome Team Bury to Memorial Field.
Neary’s side go into the game looking to stretch their unbeaten run to seven matches in all competitions.
They will be hoping to ensure Team Bury don’t enjoy their return to action having not played competitively since suffering a 4-1 defeat at Swaffham on October 10.
King’s Lynn Town Reserves are without a fixture this weekend.
In the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division, Fakenham Town make the trip to Gorleston tonight.
The Ghosts will be looking to capitalise on Gorleston’s poor form of late.
The Emerald Park side are without a win in six matches in all competitions and have lost three of their last four league outings.
Victory for Alex Walpole’s side will ensure they move off the foot of the Premier Division table.