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Downham Town beat Gorleston 4-2 to become Senior Cup Champions at Carrow Road.

Gorleston vs Downham Town – The Norfolk Hire Senior Cup Final

Carrow Road, Norwich City FC, 14.05.24, KO 7.30pm

Final Score: Gorleston 2 – 4 Downham Town


An entertaining evening at Carrow Road saw Downham Town cause an upset as they ran out 4-2 winners in the Norfolk Hire Senior Cup Final.

A first half goal from Fletcher Toll separated the sides at the break. Gorleston then responded in the second half through George Keys only for long range effort to deflect off Toll only moments later and restore the advantage.

Joe Jackson then got on the scoresheet to extend the lead before Joe Jefford was sent off for the denying of a goal scoring opportunity.

The Greens thought they were back in the game after a late own goal, only for Downham to win a penalty on the counterattack which saw Toll complete his hattrick in stoppage time.

Gorleston controlled proceedings in the opening exchanges, with Ismael Fatadjo looking to pull strings. The left winger was responsible for the first chance of the game when he cut inside and played a ball through to Lewis Johnson, but the strike was straight at Duncan McAnally in the Downham goal. Moments later Henry Pollock had a good chance to take the lead, but McAnally made a smart stop from close range.

Downham’s Fletcher Toll almost gave his side the lead against the run of play when the ball landed at his feet after a muffed clearance. The number nine struck the ball sweetly, leaving a stranded Jake Jessup watching as the ball sailed over him and nestled on the top of the net.

By the midway point of the first half Downham had grown into the game, winning a free kick 35 yards out which George Watts-Sturrock floated toward the back host, only for a Town head to sail the ball over the bar.

Moments later Joe Jackson found himself in a good position to cross into a dangerous area, only for Eoin McQuaid to miss making contact by inches. Magic Smalls then found Miller on the right of the box as Town grew in confidence, and the fullback cut back to put a good cross into a congested area only for nobody in red to get on the end of it.

Downham took a deserved lead on the half and hour mark after more positive play from Jackson. The number 11 exploited the right pocket once again and this time found Toll with a drilled cross that the forward showed good composure to direct into the bottom left corner first time.

Gorleston’s response was positive, exerting pressure on the Downham back line and dominating possession once again, but Downham were happy to sit back and ensure they protected their lead in the immediate moments after going ahead.

As the end of the half approached Gorleston probed to find a way to equalise before the break, with Fatadjo striking low and forcing the goalkeeper to save and concede a corner, only for the delivery to see the ball sail out of play before making the box. Johnson then had a strike fly just wide of the top corner as the fourth official held up the board for stoppage time with nothing to report in the two minutes after.

Half Time: Gorleston 0 – 1 Downham Town

Gorleston started on the front foot winning a flurry of free kicks and were rewarded for their initiative only three minutes after the restart. Jacek Zielonka swung in the free kick into a dangerous area and George Keys rose highest to head home from close range.

The response was instant from Town who started to push forward and play on the edge of the Greens’ box. They took the lead once again rather fortuitously when a speculative shot from distance cannoned of Toll on the way toward goal, leaving Jessup wrong footed and watching as the ball hit the back of the net.

Downham extended their lead only two minutes later when Smalls won the ball brilliantly in the middle of the park, beating a player before driving forward into the final third. He squared the ball to McQuaid who flicked the ball out to Jackson before being tackled, and the right winger made no mistake with an emphatic first-time finish.

Things went from bad to worse for Gorleston on 65 minutes when Downham looked to break away through Toll, only for Joe Jefford to bring down the striker as the last man, getting sent for an early shower for his troubles. Toll stepped up to take the free kick but blazed his effort over the bar.  

As the game entered the latter stages Gorleston pushed forward looking to find a way back into the game, but Downham were happy to be compact and play on the counter.

The Greens got the lifeline they were looking for with only three minutes of normal time remaining, when substitute Christy Finch lofted a ball into the six-yard box that caused confusion among the Downham defenders, one misjudging his header and sending it backwards past the stranded McAnally.

Gorleston continued to pile on the pressure and thought they had an equaliser when some neat play saw the ball fall to Johnson just inside the area only for McAnally to make an excellent save. Harrison Hall then had a shot blocked from the corner and then forced a corner of his own which was diligently cleared by a stoic Downham defence.

After defending cross after cross and making block after block, Downham got their fairytale ending in stoppage time. Taking the opportunity to counter, some good play from Toll saw him set away Luke Reed into the area. The substitute nipped in to touch the ball before Jessup could save, with the keeper clattering into the player and the Referee wasting no time in pointing to the spot.

Toll stepped up, smashing the ball to the left of Jessup and sending the crowd wild as the forward completed his hattrick and sealed the game for his team. The final minute ticked by and Downham were able to secure the Senior Cup Trophy for the first time since 1966.  

Final Score: Gorleston 2 – 4 Downham Town


Line ups:

Gorleston: Jake Jessup ©, Lewis Johnson, Kyle Ingram, Dion Frary, Joe Jefford, Luke Johnson, Ismael Fatadjo, George Keys, Henry Pollock, Jacek Zielonka, Craig Parker.

Subs: Adam Tann, Harrison Hall, Alby Matthews, Christy Finch, Thomas Ashman.


Downham Town: Duncan McAnally, Jake Miller, George Watts-Sturrock, Patrick Yates ©, Matthew Castellan, Magic Smalls, Matthew Franks, Fletcher Toll, Eoin McQuaid, Joe Jackson, Simon Bird.

Subs: Jacob White, Alex Oughton Jack Gould, Luke Reed, Matthew Prudence.


Referee: Tom Harvey

Assistant Referees: Mark Chalkley and Cameron Saunders

Fourth Official: Ricky Owen

Attendance: 715

Player of the Match: Fletcher Toll

Photography: Matt Usher