Downham boss wants to use cup final loss as motivation for Norfolk Senior Cup date

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Dale Stokes hopes to use the pain of Monday’s Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup final defeat to Harlow Town as motivation for next Tuesday’s Norfolk Senior Cup showpiece against Gorleston.Downham’s cup dreams were cruelly ended by an 87th-minute winner from Harlow’s Ishaq Ameen in a tight affair at Brewers Green Lane.It was a tough one to take for Downham, who were cheered on by a good contingent of travelling supporters.Stokes said: “It was great to see so many people come and support us, we can’t thank them enough for that, we just wish we could have given them something to celebrate.”The work rate and effort were there but on the day we just didn’t do enough, so well done to Harlow on the win. “We now have another big one to prepare for on Tuesday and hopefully we can finish on a high.”The joint Downham boss felt his side was not quite at their best against their First Division South opponents. “It was a difficult game against a side who were very direct throughout,” admitted Stokes.”They hit areas at every opportunity and had two quick lads up top who ran the channels to good effect to be fair. They were relentless with it as well so we have to give them credit for that. “We dealt with it pretty well for the majority of the game but it eventually caught us out. A long one over the top on the break and played into the box for a tap-in.”Stokes felt his side had the upper hand before the Hawks’ late winner. “It was a really poor goal to concede and at such a crucial time with four minutes remaining,” he said.”I felt at that stage if anyone was going to score it would be us, but it wasn’t to be. The way they play and their intensity, it was hard to find any sort of rhythm, especially with the poor surface not allowing us to play our usual football. “It meant they could squeeze high, as they knew it was a risk to try and pass it out on that pitch and they were comfortable knowing we didn’t have the raw pace option to threaten in behind and force them back.”We still got into good enough positions throughout, but we made the wrong choice too many times, the right one would have put us in on goal.”That happened about six or seven times, so that was frustrating, as you only need to get a couple of those right and it’s a different game.”Downham now turn their attention to the clash against Gorleston, at Carrow Road, next Tuesday as they look to end a fine season with something to show for their efforts.

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