Stale Mate at Wivenhoe
Report Courtesy of Wivenhoe FC
It was hard to know what to feel at the end of this game. It was disappointing that the Dragons hadn’t won but on the other hand they had mainly played well enough and on the Royals’ manager’s own admission Wivenhoe had been the better team; although I sensed that he was very pleased with the result despite that. Kirkley & Pakefield who, for the sake of brevity shall from hereon be known as KnP or The Royals kicked off towards the clubhouse and university end of the ground. But it the Wiv’ who had the first attempt on goal, Luke Payne hooking a half volley over the bar from 12 yards after just two minutes. Otherwise the opening stages were a bit dull as the teams jousted in midfield a lot. On 8 minutes Ben Parkin was extremely harshly penalised for a very hard, but successful tackle as he clearly won the ball with time to spare. Four minutes later KnP had their first decent effort which Richie Robins fell on bravely.
Generally KnP were happy to hoof long balls up the field whereas Wivenhoe were trying to put together a passing game and this was illustrated on 16 minutes as Luke Payne dinked the most subtle, delicate, little pass down the line for Reece Keating to run onto. Sadly Reece mithe the cross a bit and it looped up high into the air before being caught by Rogers in the KnP goal. A minute later Ray Catchpole sent Reece down the left and his low cross won the game’s first corner. Although the corner kick was easily cleared by a Royal’s head it was crossed back in superbly and Ben Parkin rose well only to head the ball over the cross bar, albeit powerfully and majestically. KnP had a rare shot on 22 minutes as Manning blasted over from an acute angle, but on 29 minutes the Dragons produced the move of the half. Ryan Brown delivered a delightfully weighted through ball for Ray Catchpole who ran on before finding Mike Schofield about 13 yards out with a low cross. Mike had a bit of time and space, but side footed wide of the target; it was a bad miss. Ryan Brown was looking very tidy in midfield and beat two or three players with a mazy dribble on the half hour before being fouled. But at the other end Ben Lampon almost got the Dragons in trouble as he lost possession on the edge of the box and the Royal’s captain, aptly named King, forced Richie Robins into a fine diving save at the expense of a corner. The corner kick reached King again who crowned an unsuccessful couple of minutes by heading over the bar. The final shot of the half came with two minutes to go as KnP’s Woodcock hit a feeble effort wide of the goal.
The first half had been short on clear cut chances, apart from Mike Schofield’s miss, but Wivenhoe looked reasonably comfortable and had played the better football. The start of the second half started in a similar vein but the Dragons dominated the first ten minutes or so and for the first time applied some persistent pressure. Within a minute of the restart a flowing passing move ended with Mike Schofield smacking a shot from 20 yards against a post. Two minutes later a ball over the top was run onto by Ray Catchpole, but his second touch let him down after he had initially brought the ball down well. On 54 minutes Tim Dennis ran through to get behind a static defence and deftly flicked the ball over Rogers as he ran from goal. The ball cleared Rogers, but frustratingly cleared the cross bar too before landing on the roof of the goal net. KnP had their first shot of the half eleven minutes after the re-start, but Richie Robins didn’t have to move to collect Bedingfield’s tame effort. On the hour KnP won their second corner of the game and were then awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. The kick cleared the defensive wall but was booted away by Tim Dennis. The game was now ‘end to end’ and with 63 minutes gone Luke Payne earned a corner as his shot from the left was deflected away. Back at the other end Ben Lampon made an excellent tackle inside the box on 66 minutes and then KnP won another corner, but the kick was easily cleared at the near post. A good passing move between Luke Payne and Mike Schofield on 69 minutes produced another Wivenhoe corner which had to be headed off the goal line by Roberts who had a particularly good game at the back for KnP. Although the ball was won back and crossed in to the box again Luke Payne was only able to stab it past the post. Luke Payne linked up with Reece Keating in the 72 minute to earn yet another corner but yet again it was cleared.
As a result of having most of the play Wivenhoe were susceptible to counter attacks and on 76 minutes Richie Robins had to make a brilliant close range diving save after a swift break down the right. From the resultant corner the ball went through Richie’s hands and was the ineffectively cleared before a shot from the edge of the box went past the post. For the first time in the game the Wivenhoe defence had looked a bit shaky and there was another escape on 83 minutes when KnP’s Catchpole shot high over the bar when well placed.
With just three minutes of normal time remaining Tim Dennis was substituted and Ben Connell made a welcome and eagerly awaited return to first team action. Within seconds of coming on Ben received a long throw on the edge of the six yards from where he turned smartly, but his shot was blocked. Ben came close again soon afterwards as he met a cross on the edge of the six yard box but he was surrounded by defenders and couldn’t direct the ball goal wards. With full time looming a bit of a muddle on the half way line saw the Royals win the ball and Catchpole race away towards goal on his own. He made it into the box, but before he could shoot it was as if a Ninja had appeared as Mike Schofield made a spectacular last ditch tackle in the box. That was a heck of a tackle, and seemingly inspired by pressure of time added on Mike then put through a brilliant through ball for Ben Connell. Ben was about to get a toe to the ball and would surely have scored, but Roberts arrived to foil him and leave the Dragons groaning in disappointment again. With a bit under 49 minutes on the clock referee Mr Smith decided enough was enough and blew for time. It had been an entertaining second half, but at times the players looked a bit tired and the traditionally dry, hard pitch that comes with the end of the season didn’t help this.
The Dragons probably deserved to win because they did play the better football and created more chances, but the Royals played well in defence and could be said to be worth their point because of that. That’s balance for you.
Kirkley & Pakefield FC Team