THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Newmarket Town 1
Diss Town 1
Kyle Downes believes Diss Town’s new found belief is clear to see after the 10-men Tangerines held high-flying Newmarket Town to a draw.
The strugglers find themselves bottom of the league, nine points adrift of safety, after Adam Dalby’s late free-kick denied Mark Reeve’s men all three points after Downes had headed the visitors in front moments before the break.
But after battling against the third-placed hosts for 70 minutes with 10 men after Stefan Gilding was dismissed for two bookable offences, Downes , signed from Dereham Town, believes the club’s new-found confidence, which has seen them remain unbeaten in the previous five games, with four consecutive league draws, will see them clear of the drop zone.
“The boys dug in really well with 10 men and we were happy with the performance overall,” he said.
“We put ourselves under the cosh with the sending off early on and it is a massive shame we conceded late on.
“However that shows the spirit we have now being disappointed at getting a draw at one of the top sides in the league with 10 men.
“I think we are starting to build a team now and things are looking good for the rest of the season.
“This just proves we can compete with the teams at the top but we need to start winning games.
“Everyone is working hard and if we can get that win it will give us huge confidence to get out of trouble.”
The visitors started brightly and had the home side on the back foot in the opening stages.
After 13 minutes, Diss created their first chance but Danny Self could only curl his free-kick from the edge of the area narrowly over George Lowton’s crossbar.
That momentum continued with a another opening in the 19th minute as Downes raced onto a through ball but failed to test Lowton as his right-foot first time effort under pressure from Darren Coe whistled wide.
However, the visitors’ task was made harder just a minute later as they were dismissed to 10 men.
Having been booked a couple of minutes earlier following a series of fouls, centre-half Stefan Gilding needlessly jumped through the back of Ross Patterson leaving the referee with no choice but to brandish a second yellow card.
The sending off saw momentum switch to the hosts who began to find a foothold and control proceedings.
Their first real chance came after 31 minutes when a corner from the right-hand side was only cleared as far as Richard Chadwick on the edge of the area but his first time effort flew harmlessly wide of Matt Powley’s post.
Another chance followed three minutes later again from a corner from the right-hand side but Coe could only head wide of the mark at the front post.
That pressure continued in the closing stages of the first half as Newmarket continued to pour forward.
And they came close to breaking the deadlock in the 37th minute as Ross Patterson broke down the left-hand side but after cutting in he could only fire a right-foot shot 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.
A quick counter attack saw Jason Cole released down the right-hand side with his cross finding Downes to glance a header beyond the reach of Lowton and into the bottom left corner.
Newmarket attempted to respond immediately to the setback after the interval and came close to levelling four minutes after the restart but Scott Wilby could only fire wide after seizing on a poor punched clearance from Powley.
The home side continued to enjoy the greater share of possession and came close again in the 56th minute but Coe could only fire a left foot effort into the side netting from a tight angle and race clear down the left-hand side.
The home were getting a lot of joy from the wings and their good width created another opening in the 65th minute but Scott Patterson’s header from Dalby’s cross proved a simple save for Powley.
The visitors responded by introducing striker Matt Dixon and Sam Newton into proceedings for Jordan Attree and goal scorer Downes respectively.
And the move changes almost paid off immediately as Dixon came close to doubling Diss’ advantage in the 73rd minute as he raced onto a ball down the right channel before cutting in and calling Lowton into action to tip his powerful effort over the bar.
At the other end substitute Luke Parkinson came agonisingly close to levelling the scores, firing a left foot shot narrowly wide of the mark.
Diss could have wrapped up proceedings with 10 minutes remaining but captain Brown failed to beat Lowtoon from close range.
And he was made to rue his miss with just five minutes remaining as Dalby curled home an exquisite free-kick to snatch a share of the spoils .