Godmanchester Rovers boss Ollie Drake praised the response of his players as they climbed to the top of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division last night.
Rovers triumphed 2-0 at Thetford Town in a Friday fixture to leapfrog Histon at the summit by a point - and they stayed there after their title rivals’ Saturday fixture at Clacton was postponed.
Drake’s men struck in both halves in Norfolk thanks to an early Chris Hyem opener – his first goal of the campaign – and a smart second-half finish from Matty Allan. Both goals arrived from Buster Harradine corners.
Harradine and Ross Munro were both denied further goals by the woodwork on a night when Rovers could have won far more emphatically.
“We were disappointed to let a couple of points slip at home to Whitton in our previous game,” said Drake, whose men lead the way by a point from Histon, but have played three more matches.
“There was a big of negativity flying around going into the game at Thetford, but I couldn’t have asked for a better reaction from the lads on a night when we were without some important players.
“It was a little bit quieter than usual in the dressing room beforehand, but getting the early goal was ideal.
“We created a lot of chances and took another of them in the second half, while the clean sheet and the way we managed the game are added bonuses against a Thetford side who have a bit about them going forward.
“It’s great to be top at Christmas and we have a lot to look forward to going into the new year.”
Drake was forced to name himself among the Rovers substitutes along with reserve team player Louie Medwynter and young goalkeeper Harry Walker.
They were without defenders Charlie Bowen and Joe Furness, and attacking talent Jack Chandler.
The latter player is also due to miss a home clash against Ely City on Boxing Day, 11am, before Rovers go to Norwich United this Saturday.
New recruit Leon Fuliantly – a left-back drafted in on dual registration terms from St Neots Town – earned high praise from Drake for an accomplished debut display at Thetford.
Drake also hopes to welcome defender Arran Mackay back into the Rovers fold in the coming weeks following a spell out of the game, but midfielder Simon Unwin will play no further part in their title challenge. He has taken a two-level drop to go to Cambridgeshire County League side Cambridge University Press.