Brantham Athletic overcome Whitton United in Thurlow Nunn Premier

Robbie Knott goes full length to head clear

Robbie Knott goes full length to head clear - Credit: Archant

Christmas came early for Paul Skingley’s Brantham Athletic on Saturday afternoon.

Brantham's Sean Gunn opens the scoring in the first minute

Brantham's Sean Gunn opens the scoring in the first minute - Credit: Archant

Gifts a plenty from their congenial visitors, Whitton United, the Blue Imps were three-up within 23 minutes – points secured and a third win in four for Athletic.

There was barely a minute on the clock when Santa, disguised as the Whitton defence, first appeared.

A complete mix-up from the Greens at the back, as they tried to pass the ball about, saw Sean Bartlett nip in and poke the ball goalwards, where strike-partner Sean Gunn tapped home.

Simon Mann should have made it two, minutes later, as he shrugged off a Lewis Pemberton challenge but fired across the goal.

Aerial challenge between Sean Gunn and Scott Marjoram

Aerial challenge between Sean Gunn and Scott Marjoram - Credit: Archant

It mattered not.

The Whitton defence were in a very festive mood, Bartlett this time stroking home as the Greens defence parted politely.

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Just 15 minutes were gone and eight minutes later the game was up for Whitton.

A beautifully chipped ball over the top by Matt Stace saw Gunn react first as the visiting defence stood still.

He pulled it back and Josh Merritt tapped home, easy as you like.

Quite what Whitton were playing at, goodness only knows, because they are a far better side than that opening 23 minutes suggested.

However, this result saw the Greens drop to the bottom of the table after wins for Walsham and Fakenham.

Yet, if they had started even half awake on Saturday, they may just have got something out of this game. Not that we will ever know.

The only concern on the Brantham fans’ faces was a floodlight failure on the half-hour mark, with their team in the ascendency.

Fortunatley it was only a temporary blip and Glenn Snell’s Whitton were set to get no reprieve.

Brantham could have made it four just before the break but Vincent saved on the edge of his area as Gunn went through. The half-time team talk in the Whitton dressing room was no doubt short, sweet and rather sharp, while Brantham, with Bartlett and Gunn busy up front, Kieron Lawler and Stace offering solidity, and Mann an excellent outlet on the right, just needed more of the same.

Indeed, that was the way it panned out, Brantham never looking likely to lose the points in a second half that wasn’t as pleasing on the eye as the first.

Bartlett’s outrageous attempted chip from 40 yards almost caught Vincent out in the visitors’ goal before the ever-busy Bartlett saw his header crash off the bar.

Whitton, however, did at least put up a fight even though they were fighting a lost cause.

Three corners in two minutes saw them press the home defence and pacey substitute Valdo Tavares produced flashes of excitement, setting up James Crissell for a shot that went over.

Tavares’ poor back pass almost let in Gunn and then Jordan Heath had a chance to make it four, but Vincent saved.

Brantham saw the game out easily enough and were well worth the three points.

And while manager Skingley will be hoping for more of the same in the coming weeks, Whitton will rue their poor start to this game – and hope they can knuckle down from the kick-off this Saturday, as they face a basement clash with Fakenham Town at King George V.

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