Dragons Teach College Boys a Lesson
Wivenhoe Town 1 Cambridge Regional College (CRC) 0
Wivenhoe Town: 1) Richie Robins 2) Tola Odedoyin 3) Marley Spindler 4) Ben Lampon 5) Tom Cutts 6) Bryan Turner (Tom Moore 84) 7)TJ Amass 8) Ryan Brown 9) Markel Greenidge (Tim Dennis 87) 10) Ben Connell 11) Marcus Spindler ( Ray Catchpole 62).
CRC: 1) Ryan Dunn 2) Kieran Westwood 3) George Coy 4) Sam Hope 5) MaCauleigh Richards 6) Nathan Heath 7) James Akintunde 8) Luke Allen (Ryan Horne 67) 9) Sean Latimer 10) Jamell Howell (Ben Pring 56) 11) Bobby Joe Taylor Unused Subs: 12) Mark Bunner 15) Jack North 17) Mitchell Hancock
It was a bright afternoon of April sunshine at Broad Lane and although the massing of grey clouds suggested a threat of seasonal showers they never came. With a bit of artistic licence it was a game that reflected the weather as a bright and shiny performance from the Dragons produced a goal lead that was threatened by the cloud of a CRC equaliser late on, but happily that levelling goal never arrived.
Wivenhoe kicked off towards the tennis court end of the ground and within two minutes had had their first attempt on goal as Marley Spindler sent a shot beyond the far post from a position on the left. CRC quickly responded as the probable son of Country & Western fans Bobby Joe Taylor shot over a minute later.
With five minutes gone Markel Greenidge went on a good solo run forward to the edge of the box before laying off a fine pass to Tola Odedoyin, who was pushing up on the left. Tola took a side footed shot but it lacked a bit of conviction and went wide of the near post. CRC provided the first moment of comedy two minutes later as Taylor swung a foot at a low cross, missed the ball and fell over.
On nine minutes Markel Greenidge made a good run along the edge of the penalty area before slipping through a short pass for Ben Connell, but Ben could not quite reach it before CRC ‘keeper Dunn. The Dragons regained possession quickly and Heath conceded the first corner of the game after ten minutes under pressure from Markel. Markel jumped well to send a header towards goal from the corner, but the ball went straight to Dunn. A minute later Markel appeared to be obstructed as he burst into the box from the right and had the supporters behind the goal baying for at least an indirect free-kick. Referee Mr Franklin had a completely different interpretation of the incident however, and played on.
On fifteen minutes a TJ Amass free kick from near the half way line was superbly headed down by Tom Cutts, but there was no one on hand to apply a finishing touch. Taylor was the only CRC player who was having any attempts on goal and he shot again after 19 minutes, but this was blocked by what some reports would call Marley Spindler’s ‘upper thigh area’, but I’m going to say testicles. Very gallantly Mr Franklin allowed time for Marley to recover without having to call on physio’ Paulene, for what would have been one of her more awkward treatments.
On 23 minutes Wivenhoe produced an excellent move; Tola Odendoyin sent over a deep cross beyond the penalty area that TJ Amass headed back in to the danger area where Markel Greenidge slid in to hit a first time shot wide of the near post. Soon afterwards Ryan Brown, playing in midfield, blocked a shot to concede a corner, which he then cleared, but CRC came back and Latimer turned and shot, though the best view of his effort was probably from the upper floors of the tower blocks on the university campus.
As the half hour mark approached Tola Odedoyin made a good run down the left before slipping the ball inside to Markel Greenidge who shot wide. TJ Amass was then fouled on the right of the box; Bryan Turner sent in a hanging cross which Tom Cutts reached ahead of Dunn, but Mr Franklin controversially awarded a free kick against Tom. The crowd certainly felt Tom was the victim of ‘heightism’ from the diminutive Mr Franklin.
With ten minutes to go until half time, Richie Robins conceded a corner as he failed to hold a cross, but then made amends claiming the resultant corner kick with aplomb. Another good run from Markel Greenidge, this time on the right, saw him pull the ball back to TJ Amass who teed up a shot for Ryan Brown; but hitting the ball with the outside of his foot Ryan's shot spun out for a throw.
Wivenhoe had dominated the half and it ended with Ben Connell heading a cross past the post and then threading a ball through to Marley Spindler that he narrowly failed to keep in play.
The second half started with Wivenhoe continuing in attacking mode and Dunn quickly conceded an unnecessary corner as he hacked away a back pass. The corner kick went across the face of the goal but bounced up awkwardly and Bryan Turner could only head over the bar. With the half just four minutes old however, The Dragons at last gained some reward for their domination. Bryan Turner took a free kick half way in to the CRC half, lofting the ball toward the far post where Ryan Brown rose majestically to plan a firm header just inside the post and well beyond the grasp of Dunn. It was a fine goal and Ryan’s fourth of the season.
The goal seemed to sting CRC into action and from then on they played much better, closing down Wivenhoe more quickly and getting forward more frequently. Within a minute of the goal Coy was anything but as he crossed for Latimer to force Richie Robins into a save at his near post; Westwood then curled over a dangerous looking cross from the right before Hope hit a hopeful shot that was deflected for a corner on fifty-six minutes. The ball was cleared, but only as far as Hope again; he swung a foot at the ball without connecting.
The College boys were now much more competitive and Taylor and Latimer combined well on the edge of the box before Ryan Brown intercepted and cleared well. Wivenhoe attacks were increasingly in the form of breakaways and on sixty-nine minutes Markel Greenidge intercepted a loose pass and ran at the CRC defence down the right; he cut inside well but his shot spun off the outside of his boot and out for a throw. At the other end four minutes later, Akintunde went on an even better run and after a one-two on the edge of the box found himself in a great position, but placed his shot beyond the far post. This was easily CRC’s best effort of the game so far and Akintunde knew it as he pulled his shirt up over his head to create a passable impression of ET…the bit on the bike, when he had the blanket wrapped around him. Moments later Akintunde had another shot on goal and then Taylor produced a short dribble before hitting the ball over the bar again. This was a concerted spell of CRC pressure and Akintunde went on another good run before producing what looked like a good through ball, but none of his team mates had anticipated it. It was unusual that no one from CRC was making a forward run because otherwise they were being caught off-side frequently as Wivenhoe kept an effective line at the back.
The final five minutes of normal time saw CRC come the closest yet to scoring as once again Taylor had the goal in his sights. This time he hit a dipping effort from 20 yards or more, which struck the cross bar and bounced down on the goal line with Richie Robins motionless. This was almost CRC’s final goal attempt however, their final effort being from substitute Pring who shot wide from twenty yards after collecting a loose pass from Tom Moore. Indeed, as the game entered injury time it was Wivenhoe who were on the front foot as Ben Connell was fouled and TJ Amass sent in a free kick which Tom Cutts again got to ahead of Dunn, but his back header went over the cross bar. With ninety four minutes on the clock, Mr Franklin finally called time.
It had been an entertaining match played in a good spirit, as evidenced by the fact that there were no bookings. Both teams tried to play a passing game, and with predominantly young players on the field the match was significant for the absence of the more physical approach that some of the more grizzled players bring to some Eastern Counties League matches. For The Dragons everyone played well and Ryan Brown’s move into midfield was particularly successful. To beat CRC, the footballing version of Hogwarts, as I like to think of them, was a fine achievement and revenge for the pasting they dealt The Dragons back in November.
Hopefully, despite a bottom three finish, relegation will be avoided again. The team certainly deserve this because they have developed a lot this season and but for losing their first six games of the season they would have been in the mix with the likes of Kirkley & Pakefield, Walsham le Willows, Gorleston, Diss and Felixstowe & Walton who sit just above them in the table.