Mulbarton Wanderers 1 Blofield United 0
Home side gain all three points in tight affair
The Beavers were looking to end the year on a high and gain some sort of revenge on the hosts, who inflicted a 4-1 defeat on Blofield back in August.
Manager Didwell kept faith in the same 11 that performed well in the goalless draw away to Harleston with Harty returning to the squad on the bench after his recent ban.
Mulbarton were in good form, having won their last four league games so Blofield knew they were in for a tough afternoon.
BUFC Squad: Ian Stones, Isaac Mace, Lewis Rivett, James Basey Fisher ©, Matt Banham, Jack Robinson, Tom Wright, Dan Stobbart, Will Bennett, Abdul Ferej, Rob Fryers. Subs: Kris Hart, Elliot Gibbs, Nick Budd
The home side were the first to show and with the first 60 seconds, Curtis had warmed Stonesy’s hands with a shot from 20 yards which the keeper turned away.
Mulbarton had certainly started the better and on 10 minutes Guyton’s 25-yard strike was brilliantly saved by Stones. Two minutes later, Stones was again in action, this time scrambling a Self free kick out for a corner.
Finally, the visitors started to get into the game and a flowing passing move on 15 minutes saw Mace Play Fryers through. Regrettably from a narrow angle, the striker could only poke the ball wide of the far post.
The deadlock was broken by the home side on the 25th minute thought not without a great deal controversy. To everyone watching, there appeared a clear foul on Tom Wright as his ankles were taken away from him under a Mulbarton challenge, indeed players from both sides appear to momentarily stop awaiting the referees whistle.
Unbelievably Ref Lewis waved play on and Mulbarton pounced with Thompson despatching the ball past Stones into the net to put the home side 1 up.
Aggrieved at the decision not being given, Blofield almost equalised 10 minutes later. Robinson boke down the right and crossed the ball which just eluded Fryers. However, the on-rushing Bennett toe poked his shot past Wright, who got managed to get his hand on some of the ball, allowing Sutcliffe to get back in time and clear it off the line.
Mulbarton responded with Simpson calling Stones into action once again and then the same player had a great chance just before half but his weak header was easily gather by the Blofield keeper.
H/T: Mulbarton 1 Blofield 0
Hart replaced Basey Fisher at the start of the second half, the skipper succumbing to a niggling groin injury.
The home side were first again to show in the second half as Thompson got down the wing and his cross was met by Simpson whose first-time effort was deflected for a corner.
Ferej replied for Blofield a few minutes as he cut inside Brock but his weak effort was straight at Wright.
Not for the first time Stones had to be alert as Thompson burst though the Blofield defence but was thwarted by a last ditched tackle outside his area by the Blofield keeper.
On the hour mark, the Mulbarton defence were penalised for a back pass just inside the area, though Blofield could not take any advantage as Banham’s shot was straight at the wall.
They came closer a few minutes later as a beautiful in-swinging free kick from Blofield’s Tom Wright was met by Stobbart, only to go straight into Mulbarton’s Tom Wright safe hands!!
Gibbs then replaced Robinson and as the game entered the final third, it looked like the home side had sealed the points with a second goal.
The ball was played high into the box and with Stones, Rivett and Thompson all competing, the ball fell to Simpson who finished well, albeit in an offside position.
The lines man’s flag was then raised and the Ref appeared to disallow the goal, though the home side protested that the last touch was off a Blofield defender. After ensuring the injured Rivett got treatment, the Ref consulted with the linesman and confirmed his original decision would stand, I presume for either a foul or he felt the last touch was actually off Thompson.
This didn’t deter the home side who continued to fashion the better chances. Thompson again was heavily involved in the 70th minute as he shrugged off Hart’s challenge and was poised to finish, only for Mace to make a fantastic last-ditch tackle.
The Mulbarton #9 was denied again a few minutes later as in a carbon copy move of 20 minutes before, keeper Stones came rushing out to thwart Thompson as he raced through the Blofield rear guard.
Blofield had struggled to create a real clear-cut chance all game but almost snatched a draw deep into injury time. The ball found its way over to Gibbs whose first-time shot was arrowing towards the top corner, only for Wright to make a fantastic save.
The two resulting corners which saw Stones enter the opposition penalty box were cleared and the Ref’s whistle sounded to confirm a hard-fought win for the home team.
Summing up, there was very little between the two teams but the home side did seem to have a slightly more cutting edge up front and will argue they created the more clear-cut chances. I couldn’t disagree with that but it was disappointing for the Blofield players to lose a game in the end which was down to a clear mistake by the officials in not awarding a free kick in the lead up to the game’s only goal.
Certainly, manager Didwell is not happy with the club’s current position of 12th and after picking up three wins from three in October, they only have one win from their last six games of 2017.
There’s a two week break now before the beavers are back in action on January 6th with a home game against Beccles.