Pedlars bow out of county competition at semi-final stage
Swaffham Town manager Paul Hunt believes his players can be proud of what they achieved in the Norfolk Senior Cup this season after bowing out at the semi-final stage on Wednesday evening.
The brave Pedlars, who have been hit by illness and injuries just of late, suffered a 6-1 defeat at the Football Development Centre against Dereham Town.
The Magpies apply their trade two steps above Swaffham in the Non-League pyramid and, despite the defeat, Hunt said his side should be proud of their run in the county’s oldest cup competition this season.
Hunt said: “I am proud of the lads and they should be proud of themselves, we have lost the semi-final 6-1 which doesn’t do us justice but I want us all to be proud of what we have achieved.
“Getting to the last four of this competition is not an easy achievement.
"It has been a great journey and we have shown by getting to the semi-finals how well we have battled throughout the competition.
“A semi-final at a neutral ground is a good experience, it's something you can’t teach on the training ground to the younger players and a game to relish for the more experienced players.
“It’s a shame it’s over but we won’t be feeling sorry for ourselves.”
Underdogs Swaffham raced into an early lead thanks to Dean Miller’s strike.
But two Dereham goals in the closing stages of the first half from Adam Smith and Joe Gatting saw the Magpies get their noses in front going into the interval.
The Pedlars’ struggle with injuries continued in the second half.
Rhys Logan added Dereham’s third shortly after the restart before Gatting’s second of the game made it 4-1 just before the hour-mark.
Hunt’s side continued to press Dereham and were caught on the break when Gatting completed his hat-trick before Forshaw added Dereham’s sixth in added time.
The Pedlars preparation for the match were hit by injuries and illness, something Hunt admitted afterwards was a huge frustration.
“Everyone wants to be involved in games like these," said Hunt.
"You work hard to make them happen and then when you have four or five players unable to play it’s a tough one to swallow.
“We couldn’t really prepare properly with so many injuries and players struggling for recovery time and that showed in the second half.
“Take nothing away from Dereham, they played very well but it’s frustrating when you go into a cup semi-final unable to name your strongest team.”
Swaffham return to Thurlow Nunn First Division North action tomorrow when they travel to Lakenheath.
Fakenham Town travel to Harleston Town, Downham Town travel to basement boys Needham Reserves, while King’s Lynn Reserves have an important game at Felixstowe and Walton United Reserves.