Wivenhoe Town’s return to the FA Vase after a year away was played out in front of a good crowd on a sunny afternoon at Broad Lane. It was Halstead that applied the first pressure with a couple of early corner swung in to test Matt Grove
in the Wivenhoe goal but each was defended well and cleared out of the danger zone. Ray Catchpole
making his home debut had Wivenhoe’s first chance, cutting in from the right wing he beat a man before shooting from just outside the box, the effort was blocked by a defender and the rebound could not be forced toward goal.
Halstead took the lead through a superb bit of individual skill, a bouncing ball from the right was flicked up and volleyed on the turn and into the top left hand corner from 25 yards. Following the opening goal the game became tight with lots of heavy challenges flying in from both sides and little joined up football being played. Ben Licence
began to get more involved running down the left wing and taking on defenders. One of these runs saw the Dragons wide man cut inside towards the penalty box before being brought down. TJ Amass lined up the resulting free kick from 30 yards and curled it beautifully into the top left corner.
The goal gave the Dragons impetus and they started to get on top, Craig Minter
made a powerful run from full back down the right flank and beat a defender who cynically pulled Minter down. The resulting whipped in Amass free kick was then headed over by Minter. Halstead responded with a run through midfield from former Dragon James Raby
, the ball was fed wide and then pulled back for a short from a couple of yards that was blocked by a defender and then cleared. Wivenhoe’s set pieces were testing Halstead’s defence with Tom Cutts
getting on the end of one and heading over. A corner from the right was flicked on and fell to Ben Licence
at the back post for a shot that was deflected out for another corner. Licence took the corner himself and put in another dangerous cross that was headed in by Ryan Brown
to give Wivenhoe the lead. The half finished with a series of heavy tackles and a flurry of cards for both sides.
The second period started evenly but things soon began to unravel for Wivenhoe. The Dragons tried to dribble their way out of defence but instead gave the ball away, play was shifted wide to the right and a low cross was flicked up and over Matt Grove
and forced into the back of the net for the equaliser. The visitors took the lead almost immediately a lofted ball was allowed to bounce about 30 yards out and was half volleyed by a Halstead player into the Wivenhoe goal past a static Matt Grove
to making it 2 - 3.
Wivenhoe tried to get back into the game with a series of long balls but failed to create any clear chances in contrast to Halstead who somehow managed to put a shot over the bar when unmarked from almost point blank range.
Wivenhoe’s direct style was being dealt with by Halstead with the only clear chance a shot wide of the post from Craig Minter
having been fed by Licence. Halstead increased their lead with a cross from the right that was headed in by an attacker who had made a great unmarked run from the left by-line to get into the box. Wivenhoe responded with a lot of pressure on the Halstead defence and a flurry of crosses into the box but a TJ Amass miss kick in front of goal was the closest the Dragons came to getting one back.
Halstead’s fifth came from a free kick that was headed into the bar and bounced back helpfully to an attacker to guide into the back of the net. Looking for what would now be a consolation Markel Greenidge
got on the ball in midfield dribbled past several defenders and unleashed a shot at the keeper. An aimless lofted Halstead ball forward was met by a weak Matt Grove
header well outside of his area, the ball was picked up by Halstead and lobbed back over the Wivenhoe keeper for the sixth. The Dragons closed the game with a lot of pressure and balls into the area but without any real threat on goal. The final whistle signalled that Wivenhoe had crashed out of the Vase in a disastrous manner.
Wivenhoe Town - Matt Grove
, Tom Cutts
, Ben Connell
(sub Jake Hearn
), TJ Amass, Craig Minter
, Ben Licence
, Ryan Brown
, Bryan Turner (sub - Ben Millard
), Jonathan Carr
(sub - Markel Greenidge
), Luke Rogers
, Ray Catchpole