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.