Saturday 2 October 2021

Ground #356 - Memorial Playing Field

Date: 4th September 2021
Ground: Memorial Playing Field
Location: Downham Market, Norfolk

My sixth new ground of 2021 was on Saturday 4th September at Memorial Playing Field in Downham Market, Norfolk. The game was Downham Town vs. Diss Town in Eastern Counties League Division One North.

The Memorial Playing Field lies in the north of the town and is a dual purpose venue as a football and cricket ground. The pitches sit adjacent to one another with only erected fencing on the southern side of the pitch separating the two. The area has two full-size pitches to the north with housing to the east and west as well as the south on the opposite side of the road. The venue is one mile north-east of Downham Market railway station.

The club building outside the ground is shared with the cricket club and has the dressing rooms and a bar. All the other structures run along the northern side of the pitch. The main stand in the middle is two rows of covered benching and there are two other flat covered standing areas either side with the two dugouts positioned between them respectively. All these take up the middle half of this side with the rest uncovered standing.

The eastern and western ends both have a strip of concrete with grass behind. The eastern end is set back some way from the goal and then has fencing separating it from a cage pitch and cricket nets. The western end is more restricted space wise. The ground is a three-sided one with the temporary fencing in place to separate the southern side from the cricket field.

Both sides came into the game in the top-half of the table early in the season with Diss a few places above Downham. It was the hosts though who took an early lead in the 9th minute as a good cross from DaVillian Katabana on the right found Jack Prentice who rose above a couple of defenders to head home from six yards. Katabana almost made it two shortly after when he cut inside and unleashed an excellent dipping curler which came back off the underside of the bar. Diss started to create opportunities as the game headed towards the quarter-hour mark - first there was a scramble in the box from a corner where Owen French had two bites of the cherry only to see both efforts saved on the line. Later on a good run down the right wing by Ryan Gibbs culminated in him holding off a defender into the area and seeing his shot across goal well saved. The second half proved fairly uneventful - Downham notched up their second in the 66th minute when a long ball up field saw Davillian Katabana in a race with the Diss keeper for the ball. The latter got there first but spilled it allowing Katabana to tap into an empty net. After this Downham never really looked under threat - with a good goalkeeper and a toothless Diss attack the game fizzled out to a solid Downham victory.

Result: Downham Town 2-0 Diss Town
Division: Eastern Counties League Division One North
Attendance: 54

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