THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Newmarket Town 1
Diss Town 1
by Sam Murley
at the Town Ground
Newmarket Town boss Kevin Grainger conceded his high-flyers were fortunate to gain a point against the 10 men of Diss Town.
The third-placed Jockeys went into the encounter 16 places and 29 points ahead of the visiting Tangerines, but needed a stunning late Adam Dalby free-kick to rescue a share of the spoils against Diss, who took the lead through Kyle Downes’ 45th-minute header despite having Stefan Gilding sent off in the 20th minute.
And after seeing his side outplayed for large periods by the struggling visitors, Grainger was left to admit his side deserved nothing from the game as he was left content with a second successive draw.
“In all honesty I was happy to get a point in the end,” he admitted. “We had a few missing and a young squad out there but we didn’t play well at all.
“I knew it was going to be a difficult match, they have a host of new players and they showed what they are capable of.
“We have drawn far too many games and that is something we have to address.”
The visitors started brightly with Danny Self curling a free-kick narrowly over and Downes firing a first-time strike under pressure from Darren Coe narrowly wide in the opening 19 minutes.
However, the visitors’ task was made harder just a minute later as they were dismissed to 10 men when centre-half Stefan Gilding received his second yellow card in as many minutes following a series of needless fouls.
The sending off saw momentum switch to the hosts, who created their first real chance after 31 minutes with Richard Chadwick firing harmlessly wide from the edge of the area.
That pressure continued and they went close to breaking the deadlock in the 37th minute as Ross Patterson broke down the left-hand side, but he could only fire wide of the far post.
And the home side were left to rue their wastefulness as the 10 men opened the scoring moments before half-time as Downes rose highest to glance in Jason Cole’s cross from the right.
The visitors introduced Matt Dixon and Sam Newton to proceedings and the former came went to doubling Diss’ advantage in the 73rd minute as he forced George Lowton into a smart save to tip his powerful effort over the bar.
And, with just five minutes remaining, Dalby broke Diss’ hearts, curling home an exquisite free-kick to snatch a share of the spoils.
n Premier Division strugglers Ely City secured their first win in nine games, beating Brantham Athletic 2-1 to lift themselves off the foot of the table.
They will now be aiming to build on momentum when they host Haverhill Rovers on Saturday (3pm) before welcoming Great Shelford in the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup on Tuesday (7.45pm).
Mildenhall Town remain winless in their last three matches after slipping to a 3-0 defeat at Whitton United.
They will be hoping to bounce back when they host Stanway Rovers on Saturday (3pm).
In Ryman League Division One North, Soham Town Rangers slumped to a second successive defeat as they lost 1-0 at home to table-topping Harlow Town. A visit from Aveley waits for Rangers on Saturday (3pm) before they host Over Sports on Tuesday (7.45pm) in the Cambridgeshire InvitationCup.