Blofield travelled to Allendale Road for their opening game of the 2018/19 season with three players making their debut. Andrew Fulcher & Darren Critchlow took their position in a three-man defence alongside veteran Darren Cox. Adam Bellingham was the third debutant, taking his place at wing-back.
Host Caister boasted some new signings with Thurlow Nunn experience and will be looking to present a serious challenge for the title under new boss Ricci Butler.
Blofield Starting XI: Ian Stones, Andrew Fulcher, Darren Critchlow, Darren Cox, Isaac Mace, Jack Robinson, Will Bennett, Ryan Frankland, Adam Bellingham, Ben Morgan, Rob Fryers
Stalham Starting XI: Molloy, Willetts, Anderson, Clark, Barnden H, Nichols, Ingram, Barnden G, Forbes, King, Ward
Straight from the kick off, Blofield found themselves under pressure. A long thrown found King and his effort was tipped over the bar by Stones. From the resulting corner skipper Barnden volleyed just wide.
A minute later Forbes fired over following a knock down. Blofield responded and Fulcher’s long ball almost found Morgan but Molloy cleared for the hosts.
Caister generally were controlling play and following a few close calls, finally opened the scoring through Forbes who finished from close range.
A few minutes later it was almost two as Anderson’s glorious cross was met by Ward whose header thumped against the far post with Stones well beaten.
A few minutes later it was 2-0 though as Ingram’s cross found Forbes unmarked and he planted his header past Stones.
This was fully deserved for the hosts who were well on top and they soon made it three on 37 minutes as the impressive Ingram fired home from 20 yards.
Didwell decided to make use of the ‘rolling subs’ rule in force this year and decided to make two early changes, Frankland and Bellingham making way for Calum Cox & Alex Niescierowicz.
In a rare Blofield attack to end the half Niescierowicz won the ball deep in Caister territory and his cross was met by Morgan whose shot was well wide.
Half Time: Caister FC 3 Blofield Utd 0
Caister continued where they left off and Forbes’s almost completed his hat-trick after 47 minutes, Stones tipping his effort round the post.
Caister should have increased their lead 3 minutes later as Darren Cox’s weak back header found King, but the Caister number 10 shot straight at Stones when clean through.
Blofield were making more of a game of it though with Morgan at the heart of their best work. His audacious effort from the halfway line on the hour mark was all they had to show for the efforts though and sure enough a minute later, normal service was resumed as King’s shot was parried by Stones straight into the path of Ingram who made no mistake for his second and Caister’s fourth.
In the 68th minute Ingram missed the chance to claim his hat-trick shooting straight at Stones whilst up the other end a long throw found Critchlow whose turn and shot went well over.
The game began to get slightly disjointed as the rolling subs rule was used in full effect from both managers. One of the subs, Ryan Pye (for Caister) only lasted a few minutes as in the 83rd minute, he received his marching orders, presumably for something he said to the linesman.
A minute late and out of nothing, Blofield gained a consolation as some neat play between Mace and Bennett saw the latter’s 20-yard shot squeeze past Molloy’s outstretched hand into the far corner.
There was still time for Stones to deny King and Ingram(twice) as the Ref blew the full-time whistle giving the hosts a fully deserved three points.
F/T: Caister FC 4 Blofield Utd 1
Even at this very early stage, the hosts look a very capable side of mounting a serious challenge for the Sterry Cup as they completely dominated a new-look Blofield side. Manager Didwell will expect improvements but was encouraged that his team never dropped their heads and did keep going, getting some reward with Mace’s goal towards the end.
Next up for the first team is a home game against Bradenham next Saturday, note the early kick off time of 1.30pm.
Updated 21:56 - 17 Aug 2018 by Paul Warman