|A heavy pitch left Stowmarket in a mud-dle.|
Stowmarket Town 0 Thetford Town 3
Hopes of an end to Stowmarket's losing run were quashed after only four minutes of this afternoon's Ridgeons League First Division match at Greens Meadow.
That was how long it took Matt Blake to latch on to a loose ball and fire it past home keeper Kevin Bugg.
Town never recovered from that set-back on a heavy surface and had Bugg to thank for keeping down the score with a string of fine saves.
The match survived an earlier inspection after heavy rain and Thetford made the most of the opportunity with some fine flowing moves to tear apart the home ranks with ease.
By contrast, Stow's passes continually fell short and the final ball was lacking with the forwards struggling to create any worthwhile opportunities.
|Dean Pleasence came close|
Dean Pleasence had Stow's best chance of a first-half goal when he beat the offside trap and rounded goalkeeper Ian Fancett but his shot from a tight angle hit the near post.
Bugg then pulled off a pair of superb one-on-one saves on the edge of the penalty area but needed a fine saving tackle from James Horsfall to save him when Dave Richards went clean through on his goal.
Bugg then blocked from Blake at close range before home captain James Graham sent a half chance whistling wide of the Thetford goal just before the break.
The second half had only been going for a minute when play was held up while one of the assistant referees was replaced. He suffered an Achilles injury and a 15-minute interval was taken while his replacement was found and kitted up.
Pleasence sent another effort over the bar before Thetford doubled their advantage when Simon Mann burst through the middle to fire home.
Liam Bolton's 15-yard effort took a wicked deflection to wrong-foot Bugg but bounced narrowly wide and after 59 minutes Dan Jones' 30-yard drive took an even bigger deflection to loop over Bugg and on to the top of the bar.
|Stowmarket failed to find a way past the Thetford defence|
That escape was short-lived though with Bugg parrying an effort from Jones but unable to keep out the follow-up shot in a scramble that saw Blake claiming his second goal.
Stow came close to pulling a goal back two minutes later when Pleasence's free-kick hit a defender and bounced onto a post. The rebound fell between two defenders but they combined to clear off the line via a fortunate deflection.
Substitute Ben Licence then won a tackle in his own half, outpaced two defenders and pulled the ball back for Marc Wake but Fancett blocked superbly at point-blank range to preserve his clean sheet.
Bugg did well to deny Matt Dixon and the last chance of the match fell to Graham but his 18-yard free-kick beat the wall but not Fancett.
Stowmarket: Bugg, McConnell (Hall 68), Luxford, D Smith, Birch, Horsfall, Drummond (Licence 64), Graham, Wake, Tournay-Godfrey, Pleasence.
Substitutes (not used): C Smith, Simpson.
Booked: Tournay-Godfrey (dissent 41), Horsfall (foul 56)
Thetford: Fancett, Joseph, Bailey, Richards, Howard, Bolton, Jones (Haynes 90+3), O'Donnell, Blake (Tavares 80), Dixon, Mann (Clayton 85).
Substitutes, not used: Carter.
Goals: Blake (2) 4, 64; Mann 56.
Booked: Joseph (foul 75).