Historic debut for Downham ends in FA Cup defeat

Downham Town made their historic debut in the FA Cup at Kirkley and Pakefield on Saturday – the first time since the club was formed in 1881.

On a proud day for the club, Downham were unfortunately knocked out of the competition at the first hurdle in the Extra Preliminary Round.

Town dominated the first half of the encounter but did not take their chances when they came.

The home side advanced in the competition by virtue of their solitary second half goal.

Downham had their first chance in the seventh minute. Magic Smalls shifted the ball on from a throw for James to have a snap shot on the edge of the box, but the Kirkley keeper saved. The resulting corner resulted in a poor header from Miller.

It was a scrappy affair with Downham just having the edge. They had another chance in the 13th minute from a corner, but once again the keeper came to Kirkley’s rescue to get a touch and take the ball off Miller at the back post.

The Kirkley keeper gathered a Downham free kick on the quarter hour mark, but a minute later the home side had their first real opportunity.

Kirkley broke down the left for the 11 to cut in but his effort lacked power and it was an easy save for McAnally.

McQuaid tried his luck from the edge of the box on 17 minutes, bringing a good save from the Kirkley keeper.

Nice build up play in the 21st minute led to a lovely clipped passed from Smalls into Artur, but he was unable to make contact.

Downham had the ball in the net from Smalls on 27 minutes, after some good build up down the right, following up a rebound shot from Artur – but the goal was disallowed.

A 36th minute snap shot from McCain went straight at the Kirkley keeper. And a 45th minute free kick from McQuaid brought a smart save from the keeper once again.

First half added time saw Miller glance wide from a corner and Kirkley bring a save out of Anally from a header.

The home side had the first chance of the second half in the 49th, minute, McAnally saving from a cross-cum-shot at the expense of a corner kick.

And it proved to be a very expensive one with Jake Conway smashing home from it a minute later.

With their tails up, Kirkley then enjoyed a good spell.

Downham appealed when a defender appeared to block a McQuaid strike with his hand in the 69th minute, but nothing was given.

Marty had a free header in the 77th minute but directed it straight at the Kirkley keeper who made no mistake.

And that was pretty much it for a defeated but proud Downham Town.

Heacham were up against higher league opposition in Step 4 side Gorleston and exited the FA Cup in the club’s debut appearance with a 4-1 defeat on the road.

Heavy rainfall put paid to any play at Shoemakers Lane on Saturday, the sensible decision to postpone avoiding the unnecessary journey for Swaffham Town’s Harwich visitors.

A great performance last Tuesday saw Swaffham defeat division newcomers FC Peterborough 4-1.

John Sands scored the opener in the 21st minute, with the visitors levelling five minutes into the second half.

Oli Williams regaining the advantage in the 62nd minute and Gino Livoti put the game to bed six minutes later.

The icing on the cake coming in added time, Josh Doran scoring his first for the Pedlars, a fine drive into the box and smashing into the right hand corner of the net from 10 yards.

This week the Pedlars travel to Parson Drove on Wednesday in the League Challenge Cup and then host Whitton United on Saturday in the league.