Lewis Whitehead's brace helps to inspire Newmarket Town to victory over Stowmarket Town in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division
As far as weeks go, they do not get much better than the one Newmarket Town have just enjoyed.
After putting Gorleston to the sword on Saturday with seven unanswered goals, they pleased the Bloorie.com Stadium faithful once again on Tuesday evening with a 4-1 victory at the expense of high-flying Stowmarket Town.
Lewis Whitehead was particularly prominent in both of those high-scoring wins, finding the net once at the weekend and twice in the slaying of the Old Gold & Blacks.
And as far as Whitehead is concerned, those are two performances that point to a potentially bright 2019/20 campaign for the Jockeys.
Speaking after the triumph over Stowmarket, the striker said: “We are playing with confidence. Everyone knows they can try things out there and if does not go right nobody is going to dig you out for it.
“We have got a good group here and it is only a case of adding two or three players in the summer to push us on.
“We do not need to mix it up too much in pre-season. If the right players come in I see no reason why we cannot compete for the top three.
“The last few games are all about building for next year and getting in the right frame of mind.
“I am really enjoying it. The manager is playing me up top – where I want to play – and the goals have started to flow.”
Whitehead broke the deadlock on Tuesday with Newmarket’s first meaningful attempt at goal in the 10th minute.
His blossoming partnership with Ben Robinson came to fruition once again as the winger cushioned a header perfectly into Whitehead’s path and Newmarket’s number nine did the rest with a composed finish from 12 yards out.
Prepared for the fact that Stowmarket like to play out from the back, the trio of Whitehead, Robinson and player-manager Michael Shinn pressed high and it was a tactic that almost worked in the 23rd minute.
Shinn robbed a dallying Luke Read of possession on the edge of his own box and he drove forward, only to send his shot wide of the near post.
It would prove to be a frustrating night in front of goal for Shinn, who five minutes later struck the crossbar twice within 60 seconds. The first was direct from a corner, while his second was a powerful 30-yard effort that beat Stowmarket goalkeeper Craig Brand all ends up, but grazed the woodwork on its way over.
Newmarket’s play was deserving of another goal before the break and they got their reward in the 39th minute. Whitehead turned provider on this occasion, slotting a pass through for an onrushing Jack Whiting.
The angle appeared to be against the left wing-back, but he managed to fire a low shot across Brand and in off the far post.
With the quality of players that fourth-placed Stowmarket possess, a second-half reaction was always on the cards and it took them just four minutes after the restart to deliver it.
Josh Mayhew crossed from the left for Ollie Canfer – on as a substitute just 60 seconds earlier – and he neatly guided the ball beyond Alex Archer in the Newmarket goal.
The visitors had their tails up now and went in search of an equaliser as they started to pass the ball with more purpose, and swing dangerous crosses into the Newmarket box.
But, the hosts weathered that mini storm impressively and slowly but surely managed to gain a foothold back in proceedings.
In the 69th minute Robinson tried a clever chipped effort that Brand managed to paw to safety, but the Stow ‘keeper was powerless to prevent Whitehead from notching his second goal of the game three minutes later.
The forward was alive to Robinson’s flick on from Archer’s long clearance and his pace took him away from defender Sam Nunn and into the clear.
Brand started to race off his line in a bid to mop up the danger, but before he could get anywhere near, Whitehead went for the lob which drifted over the advancing ‘keeper and underneath the crossbar for his 10th goal since returning to Newmarket from Cambridge City earlier this year.
For good measure, Whitehead made it a brace of assists as well eight minutes from time when he threaded a pass through for captain Jacob Partridge, who beat Brand to the ball and rolled into an empty net.
Manager Shinn, who hit the bar for a third time in the closing stages, said of the win: “We showed a lot of character tonight. The boys have run through brick walls for each other.
“There was a lot of heart and a lot of togetherness and you need that to win games like this because they are a good side.
“We have just got to keep building and keep growing what we have got. Who knows how long it will take us to get to where we want to be, but I do not feel we need major work.”
Newmarket: Archer, Murphy, Whiting, Gomarsall, Partridge (Watson 90), Phillips (Martin), Robinson, Bennett Whitehead, Shinn, Kicks
Journal Man of the Match – Lewis Whitehead: Two goals and two assists – a good night’s work overall