Mattishall stunned after shock defeat

Mattishall 2, Hempnall 3

Leaders Mattishall saw their points advantage at the top of the Premier Division wiped out after a shock defeat at home to struggling Hempnall.

The slip-up allowed Cromer to draw level with Mattishall as they won their coastal derby against Sheringham 3-0.

Mattishall, who had picked up 28 points out of a possible 30, entertained a Hempnall side who themselves had only one win in their corresponding ten fixtures and a home win seemed a formality.

The hosts started very brightly and an early long ball saw Delaney go past Ling and his cross led to a Fulcher header hitting the side netting. The visitors then saw a shot from Haynes go just wide and then Catchpole had a similar effort for the hosts.

However it was the visitors who, in their second attack, went in front when Haynes' excellent in-swinging corner saw Player's unchallenged header fly into the net.

Mattishall poured forward in search of the equaliser and following a series of corners, Gary Harbour's cross was headed wide by Sommerfield. The home side's pressure finally paid off and they scored the equaliser when Harbour supplied an in-swinging corner and Fulcher provided the headed finish.

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A cross field shot from Gary Harbour saw Bunn tip clear and from the corner the keeper punched clear as the sides went into the break level.

The visitors started the second half strongly and Powley in the home goal made two unbelievable saves, but a poor clearance fell to Ramsey 30 yards out and his shot flew into the back of the net to give Hempnall the lead again.

Mattishall continued to push forward but were guilty of trying to score the spectacular goal rather than playing the simple ball and began to get frustrated as the visitors belied their lowly position and began to believe they could take the spoils.

However in the 70th minute an excellent corner from Gillies, who was one of the few home players enjoying a good game, saw Sommerfield force the ball home from close range.

Parity was shortlived as minutes later a free-kick from the visitors saw another excellent delivery from Haynes find Player again and he headed the visitors into the lead.

Again Mattishall had to go in search of another equaliser and Gillies saw his long distance drive clip the top of the bar.

Substitutes McCann, Christian Harbour and Kinsley were introduced in an attempt to salvage a point for Mattishall. McCann caused problems down the left and one of his runs ended with the keeper making a last ditch save. Kinsley then charged down a clearance and the rebound crashed against the upright.

With everybody camped in the visitors' half, Slalek burst clear for the visitors and but for a last gasp tackle by Lewis, Hempnall may have increased their lead.

The final whistle was greeted with the visitors celebrating as though they had won the league as their unlikely victory handed them the perfect Christmas present.