First-half performance proves costly as Newmarket suffer a home defeat
THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Newmarket Town 2
Brantham Athletic 4
Manager Michael Shinn feels Saturday’s home defeat to Brantham Athletic perfectly encapsulated Newmarket Town’s season.
It was a first half to forget for the Jockeys at their Bloorie.com Stadium base, where visiting Brantham rattled in four goals, with skipper Jack Watson netting from the spot for the hosts.
A much improved second-half performance — and a goal for new signing Rhys Thorpe — followed, but ultimately the damage had long been done as Newmarket slipped to their 13th defeat of the campaign to date.
“The first half is the worst we have defended for a long time,” said Shinn.
“We were flat defensively and there was no tempo to the way we defended in terms of putting pressure on the opposition.
“We were always a threat going forward and in the second half it was much better, but there was far too much to do by that point.
“It is really frustrating and in a way the whole match sums up the season.
“We have been brilliant in spells and then rubbish in other parts of games.
“We have some good players and should be performing a lot better than we did on Saturday.
“It is down to myself and the players to get it right.”
Visiting Brantham broke the deadlock inside the opening 10 minutes when Sam Newson teed up joint-player manager Michael Brothers to fire in from the edge of the box.
It was 2-0 after 17 minutes when George Clarke slotted in a penalty he had won, before Newson turned the ball in from close range for Brantham’s third.
Watson kept his cool from 12 yards out to provide Newmarket with some brief hope of mounting an unlikely comeback, but this was extinguished before the interval as Clarke claimed his second goal of proceedings after a breakaway.
Hosting Newmarket claimed the ball had not crossed the line, but the referee’s assistant thought otherwise.
Thorpe, who joined earlier this month from Eaton Socon, gave the home supporters something to cheer in the second half by picking out the top corner and reducing the arrears to 4-2.
Shinn’s men continued to push for further goals as the half progressed, while up the other end Brothers drew a couple of smart stops from Alex Archer in the Newmarket goal.
Newmarket return to action on Saturday with a trip to relegation-threatened Walsham-le-Willows (3pm), with Great Yarmouth Town set to be their visitors on Tuesday (7.45pm).