10/12/2011 Wanderers 6 – 1 South Walsham

Starting 11: Clifford, Hare, Robinson, M Sutcliffe, Fisher, Simpson, Dye, C Sutcliffe, Bland, M Appleton, Babb

Subs: N Appleton (55), Newbery (60), D Carter (70)

Goals: Babb (2), Dye, Hare, M Appleton, D Carter

As Wanderers were set to entertain South Walsham, a team who sat a league place behind them, the pre-match talk revolved around a quick start, set piece plays and containing a team who had been on an excellent run at the start of the season.

Pleasingly the management couldn’t have asked for much better as, after only three minutes, Simpson drove a cross into the box and, as Babb rose to put pressure on the oncoming keeper, he reaped the rewards of his presence as the keeper dropped the ball for Babb to stab home. It was also good refereeing, as all too often these days unnecessary free kicks are awarded in such situations.

Not long after Wanderers doubled their advantage with a contender for goal of the season. As the ball was cleared from cross, the sailing ball flew out of the box, only to be met first time on the volley by Matty Dye. An awesome 30 yard strike that breached the side netting after flying in the top corner. This generated even more confidence for the home side and soon two became three. Some tactical changes from corners then paid off, as a ball was nodded down onto the penalty sport for in-form Hare to finish his fourth goal of the season from full back. 3-0 to the Wanderers inside 15mins and the game looked to be sewn up.

The next fifteen minutes a number of clear-cut chances, where complacency and a touch of greed stopped us from heading into the break five or six goals to the good. Then, just before the break, South Walsham cleared from a corner to the big man up front, who, unchallenged, was allowed to turn and run at the two centre halves. Disappointingly, no-one picked up the midfield runner who steamed through the defence, ran onto the despatched through ball and finished neatly in the corner. An impressive counter attacking goal, and a reminder to the Wanderers that we could not take our feet of the pedal.

Half time, Wanderers 3 – 1 South Walsham

At half time, the management were understandably disappointed…not with the first half an hour, but with the fact that the game should be dead and buried, yet we now found ourselves in for a fight in the second half. To add insult to injury, the referee then entered the dressing room and announced that he was retiring from the game, meaning gaffer Gaskin had to take the whistle for the second half, which is always awkward. However, both teams remained very professional and the second half played out without fractious incidents.

The second half was played in a much more professional manner by Wanderers, who controlled the play with some neat passing football and good attacking play. Shortly into the half a great pass found Danny Bland out on the wing, who delivered an outstanding cross to the back post…coolly and calmly, Mark Appleton bought the ball down on his chest and slammed the ball home for 4-1. This enabled the management to make a couple of changes bringing on Nick Appleton in the middle of the park and George Newbery up front.

This changed the style of play a little, as Nick began to buzz around the middle of the park and Newbery was holding the ball up well. It wasn’t long before a fifth hit the score sheet and, after missing some good chances, Babb made atone for his slip ups to score a solo wonder goal. After picking up the ball just inside the South Walsham half, he skinned two defenders down the left wing, hit the by-line, cut back towards the edge of the box inside another defender and drilled the ball home into the far corner for 5-1. The management then made a final change as Wanderers pushed to break their 5 goal cap that had eluded them all season.

After picking up the ball in the right back position, Rudi Hare then strode forward, beat his man and curled a teasing cross into the box for Babb to nod down and see Carter poke home at the back post to make it 6-1.

Final score, Wanderers 6 – 1 South Walsham

Overall this was a good display from the Wanderers, especially in the second half. A couple of great goals, one of which was right out of the top draw from Matty Dye, whilst it was great to finally break the five goal cap we had subconsciously not been able to beat. There are areas for improvement, mainly killing a game early when we had the chance, but the professionalism of the side over the 90mins meant the result was never in doubt. The win takes us up to 3rd in the table and we now look forward to a crunch game against second placed Sheringham Reserves.

Matt Dye - Scored a wonder goal to make it 2-0

Leading Goalscorers

Goalscorers:

Updated 12/12/2011 (including league and cup games only)

1. Ian Babb – 21 (21 First Team)

1. Tom Brown – 19 (19 Reserve Team)

2. Mark Appleton – 14 (14 First Team)

3. Jonny Bailey – 12 (12 Reserve Team)

4. George Newbery – 7 (2 First Team, 5 Reserve Team)

5. Dale Simpson – 5 (5 First Team)

6. Rudi Hare – 4 (4 First Team)

7. Danny Bland – 3 (3 First Team)

8. Nick Appleton – 2 (2 First Team)

9. Matt Dye – 2 (2 First Team)

10. Cameron Mulley – 1 (1 First Team)

03/12/2011 Newton Flotman 0 – 4 Wanderers

Lineup: Clifford, Hare, Fisher, M. Sutcliffe, Robinson, Dye, N. Appleton, Bland, Simpson, Babb, M. Appleton

Subs: C. Sutcliffe, K. Carter, Balicki

Scorers: Babb 2, Hare, N. Appleton

Being our closest neighbours and having so far taken seven players from them since last season we could be forgiven for expecting this derby game to have a fair bit of “bite”. This could not have been further from what occured though as we played out a friendly, good natured game against a bunch of decent, hard-working lads doing their best to keep their team going in difficult circumstances. The pitch was also in better condition than we had expected thanks to a lack of rain and snow so far this season, both teams were able to play the ball on the ground more than is usual for this time of year.

For the first twenty minutes Flotman acquitted themselves well with their striker very active, holding the ball up and bringing others in to play they managed to carve a couple of half chances but failed to trouble Clifford in goal. Robinson soon got to grips with the front man and did a great job at keeping him quiet throughout most of the game from then on. At the other end we had three or four golden opportunities to take the lead but were very wasteful with the chances we were presented with. Frustration was threatening to creep in after forty minutes of stalemate before we managed to take the lead through an Ian Babb tap in after Nick Appleton’s long range effort was palmed into his path by the home side’s keeper.

We began to relax a little and grabbed a quick second thanks to a well taken Rudi Hare penalty, awarded after Simpson (who was being a handful with his skill, strength and direct running) was felled in the box trying to convert a Matt Dye lay off. We continued the pressure, with Flotman seeming to cave in a little, and were awarded a freekick outside the box. Nick Appleton stepped up and, looking like he was going to deliver the ball into the box for a header, bent the ball into the net at the near post with the keeper and defenders stranded at the far post. Nick will say that he meant this… but I have my doubts!

The second half was a slower affair, with Wanderers taking their foot off the pedal we allowed the home side a couple of chances to score. One such effort was destined for the top corner but Clifford saved spectacularly to deny Flotman a way back into the game. We had numerous chances at the other end but a combination of the goalkeeper making one or two good saves (notably one to keep out a Ben Fisher header which was destined to nestle inside the post) and wasteful finishing meant we had to wait for the fourth goal to effectively kill off any hopes of a comeback from the home team. This came about when determined play from the Wanderers front four saw a spot of “pinball” in the box before Babb found a gap in the wall protecting the goal and guided it through. The second half saw all three subs being brought on, with James Balicki making his first appearance for the First Team after missing the start of the season while coaching in America. Kristian Carter perhaps had the biggest impact though, coming on on the left side he got on the end of a cross to power the ball home with his right foot only for it to be ruled out for offside. He then had another glorious chance to score but blazed over the bar from close range with his “good foot”!

The game ended 4-0 and, although we really should have scored more, we maintained our unbeaten run (which now sees us as the only unbeaten team in the Anglian Combination), we scored four goals and conceded none. We also kept a clean sheet in terms of cautions which was particularly pleasing after picking up some senseless bookings in recent weeks. The discipline and professionalism shown by the lads today was excellent although helped by some good officiating by the referee in a game which didn’t see one single bad challenge or even a swear word in anger.

Next week we face one of the former front runners of the division South Walsham, who will be looking to bounce back into the top four with a victory. With the weather turning, the pitches getting boggier and some injuries affecting squad selection everyone will need to dig in deep to keep grinding out results. The squad have so far been very accepting of the slight rotation that we operate and that will need to continue. It is of paramount importance that everybody remains fit to play, therefore despite winning the previous week it will sometimes be necessary to bring someone else into the side in your place to ensure they get a good run out. As I have always said; “It’s a squad game”. In addition to that it is very pleasing that we have been able to work closely with the Reserves this season, with players stepping up and doing themselves proud when called upon, and players who are asked to play for the Reserves doing so with no problems whatsoever. It has resulted in a good start for both teams with the Ressies now finding themselves top of their division. The attitudes at the Club are “spot on” at the moment and that is making it easier to manage so, from a selfish point of view, keep it up!

Man of The Match - Ian Robinson - Dominant!

26/11/2011 – Wanderers 2-1 Caister Reserves

Lineup – Clifford, Hare, K. Carter, Fisher, M. Sutcliffe, Cullum, Bland, C. Sutcliffe, N. Appleton, M. Appleton, Babb

Subs – Robinson, Dye, D. Carter

Goals – M. Appleton 2

Wanderers returned to league action today knowing that earning three points was vital to keep the pressure on the teams above us who have all played more games. Caister had hit a run of form with good wins over South Walsham and Waveney and the information received was that they were a good side who were better than their league position would suggest.

Before the game we held a minute’s silence to remember local lad Michael Grosse who was tragically killed in a motorbike accident four years ago when he was aged just seventeen. Michael was a young player for the Wanderers and since his passing we have awarded the club’s leading goalscorer with ‘The Michael Grosse Trophy’ at the end of each season. It was lovely to speak to Michael’s mum at the game and it was an honour to play a part in remembering him on this difficult day.

When the game kicked off it was clear that Caister were full of confidence and intent on ending our unbeaten run. Their passing and movement was very good and they gave us a tough time for much of the first half as we struggled to clear our lines playing against the wind. This resulted in numerous corners which the visitors were very wasteful with and which our defenders dealt with pretty comfortably. Despite having the better of the play and chances the visitors were undone with a classic counter attack when Babb, released down the right by Rudi Hare, powered past the Caister full back and squared the ball to his strike partner Mark Appleton who took a touch before side-footing the ball into the bottom corner from fifteen yards out.

Caister came back strongly, grabbed an equaliser when we we were guilty of not tracking runners and before the break they had a couple of chances to take the lead. Thankfully they couldn’t find a finish or a way past Clifford in goal who was looking assured today. So we went in at half time level and the management were confident that the second half would present us with more opportunities as we would be able to move the ball out of defence easier with the wind on our backs. We stressed the importance of staying disciplined, tracking the runners as best as possible and passing players over. Communication was key. Caister started with a 4-4-2 lineup but their movement was such that they had no real shape which caused us problems as the midfield was often being over-run with their wingers coming inside.

Still, with the wind blowing against them we believed they would have similar difficulty in clearing their lines and so it proved to be in the first ten minutes of the second half. We quickly set up camp in their half of the pitch and started to win the set pieces that we had had to deal with in the first forty five. The likes of Chris Sutcliffe, Nick Appleton and Danny Bland were delivering some dangerous balls in which were difficult to defend against and we had a few chances but failed to convert. The tide had seemed to have turned but then Caister got to grips with the wind and began playing the ball out from their full backs, along the floor, and they soon came back into the game with their slick passing. The game was more open, chances coming at either end with Babb guilty of missing a guilt-edged chance to put us in front and Clifford making a couple of good stops to deny their striker.

With ten minutes to go we got the goal we believed would come, with another counter attack after a good spell of pressure from the away side, Mark Appleton sprinted past the Caister full back, cut inside and powered a right footed shot into the top corner of the net. We quickly took him off, replacing him with a midfielder to shore things up as Caister threw men forward. It worked, and we held on for a great win in tough conditions.

MoTM – Jake Clifford. Struggled to kick into the wind but didn’t put a foot (or hand) wrong when it came to denying Caister a second goal.

Despite not playing that well, struggling with the conditions and having a couple of players missing we never gave up and battled on to the end. There were a few worried faces in the changing rooms at half time, but this team needs to believe that they are capable of beating anyone, and with a “never-say-die” attitude we displayed today we will go far this season.

Next week we travel the short distance to Newton Flotman for a local derby game with a little added spice due to the fact that several of our players used to play for them. We’re up to fourth in the league now, with games in hand over the teams above us we need to keep fighting for each other and hope that the quality we’ve shown in previous games comes back to us.

Jake Clifford - Made a couple of quality stops

19/11/2011 Wanderers 1-0 Aylsham

Team: Clifford, K Carter, M Sutcliffe, Robinson, Hare, Bridges, C Sutcliffe, Dye, Bland, Simpson, M Appleton

Subs: Babb, D Carter, Fisher

Goals: Hare (Pen)

MOTM: Two schools of thought for this one…the back four played were rarely beaten and reduced opportunities to one or two all game…also Danny Bland had a great first half and showed some excellent wing play down the left

As Wanderers welcomed division two side, and current cup holders Aylsham to Mulberry Park, we knew we would be in for a tough game if we were to progress to the quarter finals. With the competition beginning to reach a serious stage, both teams were fired up for a decent performance that would see them comfortably through.

However, that unfortunately was not the case, as both sides failed to play flowing football, whilst the disappointing display from the man in black, made for a game of heavy challenges, constant niggles and persistent stop-starts.

Wanderers did begin the game positively, knowing that they needed to take the game to Aylsham and created some danger in and around the visitors area. Danny Bland had an exceptional half, giving the Aylsham right back plenty to think about all game with his mazy runs and crossing ability. Indeed, his dead ball deliveries should have caused more concern for the Aylsham defence and, apart from a great bullet header from Matt Dye, the majority of the crosses flew disappointingly unchallenged. However, it was positive to see Wanderers again taking their game to higher opponents, who seemed a little surprised at the onslaught.

It wasn’t long though before they edged back into the game, as some decent training ground free-kicks created some great opportunities that could not be converted. Their right hand side was playing very well, but being matched by the Wanderers defence who ensured Clifford in goal rarely had to make a stop. Dale Simpson then began to get into his stride, but became constantly hindered by some unpunished challenges by the Aylsham defenders, which unfortunately took the game to boiling point.

As a great pass out of the back line found Simpson in the hole, he laid off first time to Mark Appleton, and took yet another awful challenge from behind. However, the referee played an excellent advantage as Appleton used his pace and beat the last defender…after being taken down outside the box, he pulled himself to his feet and rounded the keeper, only for the man between the sticks to grab both of Appleton’s legs and pull him down as he was about to despatch a certain goal. A stone cold penalty was awarded, but surprisingly the keeper made away with a yellow card and telling off, whilst the centre half who crumpled Simpson had been completely forgotten about.

After a long wait, Rudi Hare stepped confidently up and drilled home from 12 yards into the bottom corner. A cracking penalty under a lot of pressure. This now could be the chance for Wanderers to push on a grab a second, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be as the game slipped back into its scrappy state, as both sides continued to be denied by the stop-start momentum of the game.

Half time, Wanderers 1 – 0 Aylsham

The second half was played out in a similar vein to the first, with both sides struggling to get hold of the ball consistently. Despite this, the match did become more stretched and both sides seized great opportunities, but failed to convert. Early in the second half Bridges and Simpson were subbed after repeated heavy challenges had left them injured and frustrated respectively. The changes seemed to provide a little momentum to Aylsham, as their wingers came more into the game and they began to dominate possession, win free kicks and create some decent play in and around the box.

However, despite a couple of decent efforts that Clifford neatly collected, Aylsham had only one real golden chance to draw level as a mix up between the Wanderers midfield and defence laid through the Aylsham forward free on goal. With all the time in the world and inside the 18 yard box, the forward lashed at the ball and stuck well wide…a massive get of jail free card had been dealt to the Wanderers and the renewed front line of Babb and Appleton started to ooze too much pace for the visitors. Running at the reshuffled Aylsham defence they began to create some opportunities for themselves, with both engineering a couple of goal scoring chances from nothing, but unfortunately failing to hit the back of the net.

As the game reached the final minutes, the energy and positivity seemed to escape out of the visitors grasp, and Wanderers managed to close the game out for a win.

Full time, Wanderers 1 – 0 Aylsham

Possibly one of the most frustrating games for the management to watch from the sidelines, but this is a results business and today Wanderers delivered the result. It would have been great to play some nice football, not get involved with the decisions and deliver a performance at the level we have seen in recent weeks. But from this we must take many positives…everyone has come out of a really tough physical game with no major injuries, we continue to match and exceed levels set two divisions higher, and we find our name in the hat for the quarter finals of the cup, in which we will face Division 3 side UEA for a place in the semi final. We now look forward to returning to league action, where we must remain unbeaten to keep pace with the front runners.

D. Carter

Saturday 12/11/2011 Wanderers 3-0 Hoveton Wherrymen

Line Up: Clifford, Hare, L. Appleton, M. Sutcliffe, Fisher, Simpson, Bland, N. Appleton, C. Sutcliffe, M. Appleton, Babb

Subs: Robinson, Bridges, Dye

Goals: Simpson, M. Appleton, Babb

The only team with a 100% record, Hoveton Wherrymen, arrived at Mulberry Park today looking for another win to cement their place at the top of the table. We, on the other hand, had other ideas and knew that a win would put us firmly in and amongst the front runners. The first chance fell to the visitors, when Ed hesitated to clear and the big, skillful Wherrymen striker got free of Fisher to fire in on goal only for Clifford to beat the ball away with his legs. An early warning for the Wanderers but that was Hoveton’s only real chance in the first half as we dominated the remaining forty minutes with quick passages of play and using our attacking four to get at the Hoveton back line and beyond them. Indeed they were given a torrid time, with Mark Appleton, Babb, Simpson and Bland running at them at pace, beating them in the air and chasing down every first touch it must have been a very difficult afternoon for them and one which almost got the better of their centre half who should have been sent off for persistant late challenges and stepping on Simpson’s head after he had taken him down with a thigh high, studs up lunge. Still, despite our free-flowing football we actually took the lead through a set piece. A free kick was won thirty five yards out, Chris Sutcliffe delivered a deft curling in-swinger and Simpson arrived at the penalty spot completely unmarked to glance the ball into the bottom corner past a helpless keeper. We doubled our advantage when Nick Appleton lobbed a ball into his brother Mark who, with his back to goal, turned sharply to elude his defender then feinted to shoot and touched it past another before slotting the ball home. It was probably his best goal of the season so far.

It could have been three towards the end of the half when Mark found Babb unmarked at the back post with a cross from the byline but the linesman’s flag went up to adjudge that the ball had crossed the line when the lino was on about level with the eighteen yard line and on the other side of the pitch. This caused a bit of frustration for our lads on the pitch and our discipline went a bit, with skipper Rudi Hare receiving a yellow card for saying something out of turn.

The half time team talk focussed on regaining our discipline and not allowing ourselves to be dragged into a scrappy game. The lads were warned against the fact that the Wherrymen would come at us in the opening exchanges and that they might throw men forwards. We therefore needed to make sure we hit them on the break and took our chance when it came to kill the game off. That is what happened. Good football again from the Wanderers, attacking on the break with the Wherrymen pushed forward, Mark found Babb with a cross and he turned inside his defender and curled one past the advancing goalkeeper.

The keeper then went on to make a wonder save to deny us a fourth, and we were guilty of missing another three or four good opportunities to give us a scoreline that would have reflected our dominance on the day but as the final whistle blew we can be very happy with the three nil scoreline. A clean sheet, three good goals and a very encouraging display from everyone involved. Apart from a mistake in the opening minutes our back line looked very assured, Sutty and Nick Appleton especially won absolutely everything in the air and our front four were almost unplayable at times.

Unfortunately only a couple of Wherrymen bothered to have a drink in the bar afterwards. Angie wasn’t best pleased having spent so long preparing sandwiches for fourteen players plus managers etc. Maybe they all had somewhere to go right after. Maybe they’re just not very good at losing graciously but it is usually the done thing, win or lose, to have a drink in the opposition’s bar after the game. Especially if they’re putting food on for you.

In the next few weeks we have tough games against Caister, Sheringham and South Walsham as well as a local derby match against Newton Flotman. We’ve done very well since we drew our first two games but we must not get complacent and over-confident as some teams do. As Chris Carter said in the changing rooms after the game; we’ve set a benchmark to which we must always look to perform to and improve on. If we can do that then we have every opportunity to achieve our goals this season.

Mulbarton Wanderers 5-1 Mattishall Reserves

Lineup: Clifford, Fisher, Hare, Robinson, K. Carter, Bridges, N. Appleton, C. Sutcliffe, Bland, M. Appleton, Babb
Subs: Dye, Cullum, Dyson

After the disappointment of defeat in the Junior Cup last week there may have been some nerves before today’s league game, knowing that we must return to form and return to winning ways. Those nerves were not necessary as the lads put in a wonderful display of attacking football for much of the first half and we went in 4-0 up thanks to goals from Bland, Babb and two from Mark Appleton. It was an attacking masterclass from those lads as all three were involved in all of the goals, linking up well and showing a good understanding to provide the passes and then get on the end of them to finish.

The second half was a different affair entirely, with Mattishall deciding to go for it and making a game of it they threw men forward, put us under pressure and were rewarded with a goal when their forward caught us flat footed and slotted home. We introduced some fresh legs in the form of young Reserve Team prospects Danny Cullum and Jim Dyson and these helped us assert a bit more control on the game. Mark Appleton then grabbed his hattrick and killed off any hopes of a comeback from the visitors by making the score 5-1.

This was a decent performance but by no means our best. We now have some tough games coming up, starting with Hoveton Wherrymen next Saturday at Mulberry Park. The Wherrymen are top of the league and haven’t dropped a point yet this season. If we want to achieve promotion this season then we must change that next week!

Saturday 08/10/2011 – Wanderers 2 – 0 Dereham Town Reserves

Saturday 8th October 2011 – Wanderers 2 – 0 Dereham Town Reserves

Line Up – Clifford, Fisher, Robinson, L. Appleton, Steward, N. Appleton, Newbery, Bland, Simpson, Babb, M. Appleton

Subs – Dye, K. Carter, Hare

Goals – Simpson, Bland

Our first Cup game of the season was a second round tie at home to Dereham Town Reserves of the Ridgeons Reserve League. Having received a bye through the first round I guess it was only fair we’d get such a tough fixture in this one and there were many people who I had spoken with over the weeks who weren’t holding out much hope for us.  We were in a strong position though, having players returning from holiday and to fitness, and being able to afford to rest a couple too.
We opened the game strongly, creating a couple of half chances and moving the ball around well. It was clear that we were up for the game and we took the lead when Babb intercepted the ball from a Town defender who had dwelled on it too long, fed Mark Appleton who in return delivered a square ball to Simpson to fire home. There were a couple more chances for us and we should have had a penalty when Simpson was fouled in the box as he was about to pull the trigger, but going a goal behind clearly spurred the visitors on as they began to put some moves together and attack our goal. We defended very well though and limited mostly to long range efforts, although some of these were top notch. One such shot rattled the crossbar but the second strike was palmed against the post by Jake Clifford in goal. As soon as the ball had left the player’s foot it had seemed destined to fly into the top corner but Jake somehow got his fingertips to it, tipped it onto the post and then showed more great speed and agility to get himself back up to block the rebound effort from the onrushing striker and ensure we maintained the lead. The crowd of 40 people (this season’s record attendance) cheered and applauded what must have been one of the greatest saves Mulberry Park has ever seen!

 

Half time arrived and we were a goal to the good, but we were no long playing as well as we had started the game. Dereham were forcing themselves back into it and some of their players were threatening to cause us damage every time they got the ball. A wake up call was needed and we went back out with renewed focus and a little bit more aggression than we’d finished the first half with. This helped because, as predicted, Town began to throw everything at us but we stood strong, defended magnificently and looked to hit the visitors on the break. With nerves frayed and only 2 minutes remaining on the clock Danny Bland put the game to bed when Simpson found him in space with a delicate chip over the head of the defender and Bland wrong footed the keeper and slotted home to give us a great win and send us through to the third round.

 

All in all this was an excellent performance by everyone involved against the strongest team we’ve played this season. Normally our game is heavily reliant on attack but today, against very good opposition, we were forced to adapt our game and defend. This was done from the front to the back with the strikers chasing down full backs, the midfielders closing down and tracking runners and the defenders blocking, tackling, winning headers and marking their men well. Of course our keeper also played a massive part in the win with his fantastic saves too.
Man of the Match – Jake Clifford. Back to somewhere near his best, his distribution was good and his shot stopping was excellent. Special mention to new signing Matt Steward who played the holding role perfectly until his game was cut short with cramp… “Time to get fit, Matty!”

 

We’ve been drawn away to Division 2 team Mundford in the third round to take place on October 29th, 13:45 kick off. This will be another tough game… just how we like them!

 

Danny Gaskin

Saturday 15/10/2011 – Wanderers 5 – 1 St Andrews Reserves

Saturday 15/10/2011 – Wanderers 5 – 1 St Andrews Reserves
Lineup: Clifford, Robinson, L. Appleton, Hare, Fisher, N. Appleton, Bland, Steward, Dye, Simpson, Babb
Subs: M. Appleton, Newbery, Bridges
Scorers: Bland, Babb, Hare, M. Appleton, Simpson
Mulbarton Wanderers extended their unbeaten run of competitive games to 24 with a 5-1 victory over St Andrews at Mulberry Park on Saturday. The goals were shared out between Bland, Babb, Hare, Mark Appleton and Simpson. Despite some resistance from St Andrews we were ultimately too strong and were well deserving of our win. We played some excellent football in patches but were guilty of almost allowing the visitors back into the game in the first half when we took the foot off after taking the lead.

We must continue this form throughout the coming weeks to ensure we are challenging to be where we want to be.

Saturday 22/10/2011 – Wanderers 5 – 1 Attleborough Town

Saturday 22/10/2011 – Wanderers 5 – 1 Attleborough Town
Line Up: Clifford, Robinson, Fisher, M. Sutcliffe, Bridges, Bland, Dye, N. Appleton, Simpson, Babb, M. Appleton
Subs: K. Carter, C. Sutcliffe, Cullum

Wanderers were drawn to face Attleborough Town in the 2nd round of the Cyril Ballyn cup having received a bye through the 1st. Town currently sit 4th in the Anglian Combination Division 2 so we expected an extremely tough match today. Strangely, that didn’t happen. We were without Steward, Hare, Luke Appleton and Newbery but welcomed back the Sutcliffe brothers from injury. Cullum was called up from the Reserves and there was a recall for Kristian Carter. The warm up was carried out before the starting eleven was announced as there were 2 or 3 who had been carrying knocks. Other than that, we were strong and confident and eager to prove our quality to a team from a higher division.

With Mark Appleton, Ian Babb and Dale Simpson proving to be too strong, quick and skilful for the Boro players we went in at half time 3-0 up, with Clifford barely having to touch the ball. Nick Appleton gave us the lead early on, picking his place and curling the ball around the wall to find the bottom right corner. The second was scored by Babb, continuing his fine run of form. His strike partner then grabbed the third to give us a comfortable lead. We had played some good football but more importantly we had stifled our opposition, snuffing out any of their attacks and forcing them to make errors that returned us possession. At half time we emphasised that the next goal would be key and that the visitors would come out of the blocks looking to get their way back in, but  to our surprise that didn’t happen and Town already seemed resigned to the fact that they would lose the game and we confirmed that when Mark Appleton got his second of the day after 60 minutes . There was a consolation goal for Attleborough before Mark grabbed his first hat trick of the season after an unselfish lay off by Babb to play him in on goal.

The only disappointing thing about this game was the goal conceded when we switched off. Apart from that we had defended very well throughout, all over the pitch and limited our opponents to a handful of half chances. We have tried out a couple of formations recently and both have worked and with the number of good players we have in the squad and the Reserves we have plenty of options to change things if needed, which is important when we are often faced with a number of absences through injury and “other”. With competition so strong it is motivating the players to improve their performances, turn up to training and to show they have a good club-spirit… and that is making for a very enjoyable season so far, long may it continue!

Man of the Match – Special mention to Nick Appleton who scored his first goal for the club and put in his best performance of the season so far but the honour must go to his brother Mark for scoring his first competitive hat trick for the club. Due to the great form of the other attackers and Mark being unavailable for some games he has found starts rather limited so far this season but he did well this week, linking up with Babb and Simpson well and showing some great finishing when presented with opportunities.

Next week we are away to Mundford in the Junior Cup, kicking off at 1:45pm.