Downham footballer suffers double broken leg in semi-final win

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A serious injury to Matty Blackford has taken the edge off Downham Town’s Norfolk Senior Cup semi-final victory over Watton United last night.Blackford, who had just returned from a broken leg injury suffered against Newmarket Town in the FA Vase, suffered the same fate during the first half of Downham’s 3-0 win at the Football Development Centre, where Fletcher Toll helped himself to a hat-trick.He was taken to hospital by ambulance after a delay of almost an hour.Joint Downham Town boss Dale Stokes said: “We’re all gutted for Matty. After just returning from six months out, he will be in the same situation again.”We’ve got to two finals and Matty will miss both of them. We’ll do everything we can as a club to support him. “It’s just desperately cruel. He got the equaliser at Wroxham in the quarter-final and got it going for us and now this has happened.”The players were in two minds whether to carry on. We had a long chat in the changing room during the delay and a couple of the boys were hesitant but we decided to carry on and win the game for Matty.” Blackford took to X this morning to say: “Don’t even know what to say, been a super tough few hours. A double leg break just six months after my last leg break, can’t really put my thoughts into words.”Just want to say thanks to everyone there tonight who helped me out, I really do appreciate it.” The tie itself was decided by the prolific Toll, who scored his third treble in cup competitions this season.Toll, who netted a hat-trick in an earlier round against Wells Town, scored one from the penalty spot as well as capitalising on a couple of errors by the Anglian Combination League Division One side. The 20-year-old now has now scored 30 goals in 29 games in a Downham shirt as the club booked their first appearance at Carrow Road since 2018.”I can’t remember the last time Downham has ever won something as a club,” said Stokes after the game. “We’re now in two cup finals and it gives us another opportunity to win some silverware.”The players deserve it for everything they’ve achieved this season. To make two finals and to almost reach the play-offs is a great effort. “It’s great for people like John (Fysh) who have been involved with the club for years. It will also be a special occasion for the players to play at Carrow Road. From a personal point of view, it will also be great to manage a team there.” Downham will meet the winners of the other semi-final between Gorleston and Norwich City U21s which is being played tonight.On the 3-0 win, Stokes said: “Watton are not a Division One Anglian Combination side and they acquitted themselves very well.”It was a very untidy first half and I think nerves got the better of the players, playing in front of such a big crowd.”In the second half we took control, were a lot more patient and managed our emotions a bit better.”The club have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Matty Blackford. To donate, please click hereOn Saturday, Downham Town host Harleston Town at Memorial Field.

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