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Swaffham Town look to bounce back from FA Vase exit

Swaffham Town boss Paul Hunt is calling on his side to bounce back when they welcome Norwich United Reserves to Shoemakers Lane tonight after crashing out of the FA Vase on Saturday.

The Pedlars suffered a 5-4 defeat at the hands of United Counties First Division outfit Rushden and Higham after extra-time.

But Hunt is backing his side to put the defeat behind them when they return to Thurlow Nunn First Division action tonight (7.45pm).

Hunt told the Lynn News: “I always say to them, the thing that matters most to any team is the league and we want to do well in the league; so, we will be looking to bounce back on Tuesday.

“I have heard it said before, that the cup is a happy distraction and I think that is great way of putting it.

“We made a couple of mistakes which cost us the game against Rushden and now we need to make sure we are 100 per cent on it against Norwich United and put Saturday behind us.”

Despite defeat on Saturday, Swaffham started well and found themselves ahead after nine minutes when Ryan Pearson headed Alex Vincent’s in-swinging corner past Kyle Swailes in the Rushden net.

But the hosts’ lead was shortlived with Ryan Kalla pulling the visitors level ten minutes later when he headed home Jordy Mann’s corner.

The Shoemakers Lane outfit continued to enjoy the better of the first half exchanges and with 11 minutes to go until half-time Vincent made the most of a defensive slip from the Lankies as he latched on to a loose ball in the penalty area before slotting home to restore Swaffham’s lead.

Vincent made it 3-1 just five minutes later with a spectacular solo effort as he rounded Swailes before finding the bottom corner from an acute angle.

Deep into first half stoppage time, Kalla reduced the deficit for the visitors, the striker again heading past Sam Pishorn, between the sticks from Swaffham, from a corner.

The visitors improved as the game went on and with 86 minutes on the clock, Sam Fowler levelled with a scrappy goal to send the game into extra-time.

A Liam Reed own-goal five minutes into the first period of extra-time and a Dylan Wilson long-range strike looked to have finished Swaffham at the interval of the extra 30 minutes.

But a characterful display in the second period of stoppage time saw the hosts’ push Rushden all the way.

Pearson bagged his second of the afternoon with 10 minutes still to play, giving his side hope of a late comeback.

But a physical defensive display was enough to prevent Swaffham from pulling level and earn the Lankies a place in the First Round of the FA Vase.

Elsewhere at the weekend, Fakenham Town were unable to lift themselves off the foot of the Premier Division standings after a 2-0 defeat to Haverhill Borough at Clipbush Park.

In the Thurlow Nunn First Division, Downham Town suffered a 1-0 defeat to Leiston Reserves at Memorial Field.

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