Hapless Dragons Slain In Royals Reign of Terror
Wivenhoe Town 1 Kirkley & Pakefield 6
Wivenhoe Town : 1) Adam Wilding ( Ritchie Robins 73) 2) Ben Lampon 3) Marley Spindler 4) Ryan Brown 5) Tom Cutts 6) Bryan Turner 7 TJ Amass (Aaron Peck 73) 8) Tim Dennis (Marcus Spindler 59) 9) Ben Parkin 10) Ben Connell 11) Tom Moore. Unused Sub: 12 Michael Schofield
Kirkley & Pakefield: 1) Jordan Smith 2) Tarren Grint 3) Joe Bell 4) Craig Roberts 5) Ryan Decoteau 6) Max Kirkby 7) Kyle Bacon (Ross Catchpole 73) 8) Dominic Smith 9) Russell Stock ( Michael Tacon 73) 10) Ryan Crisp 11) Scott Manning (Danny Brock 73). Unused Subs: 12) Gabriel Mansbridge
Wivenhoe suffered their worst home defeat of the season at Broad Lane in this game as they failed to compete sufficiently with a physically powerful and wily Kirkley & Pakefield side. As has happened all too frequently this season The Dragons fell behind after only a couple of minutes. Wivenhoe had actually won the first corner of the game in the third minute after a J Amass throw was headed behind. But Kirkley cleared the danger easily and won their own corner on the right within sixty seconds. Wivenhoe failed to defend as well as Kirkley had however, and left Stock free to head past Adam Wilding, although Adam got his finger tips to the ball.
After the early goal neither side dominated and play was very scrappy. Adam Wilding had the easy task of gathering a tame shot from Manning after eleven minutes and a minute later Wivenhoe won a second corner after Ben Parkin chased a ball over the top by TJ Amass and forced Decoteau, who could have been Ben’s twin judging by his build, to boot the ball behind. Tom Moore’s corner kick was poor however and easily cleared. Tom almost made amends three minutes later however with a raking pass to Marley Spindler on the right. Marley did well to control the ball and touch it on to TJ Amass, but his control wasn’t quite as precise as he burst in to the box and the ball went out for a goal kick. At this stage Wivenhoe were enjoying some possession around the penalty area and from a long throw the ball fell to Tim Dennis who had two shots in quick succession, the second of which was diverted narrowly past the post by Ben Connell from about seven yards; this was probably Wivenhoe’s best effort of the half. Ben looked to shoot again two minutes after a long throw from TJ Amass came to him, but he could not find room to turn and a minute later TJ headed wide from the edge of the box after a cross from the left. A minute after that Marley Spindler controlled a through ball and shrugged off a couple of challenges before sending a bobbling shot past the near post.
At the other end Stock sent a low cross or possibly a shot across the face of the Dragons’ goal on twenty five minutes before on twenty eight minutes Bryan Turner picked out a run on the right by Marley Spindler with a superb long pass that cut out the full-back. Marley pulled his cross back to the edge of the penalty area but there were no Wivenhoe players to be seen and The Royals were able to clear their lines again. Back at the other end again Manning laid the ball back for Smith who blazed his shot high over the bar. With half an hour gone Crisp then avoided what might have been a couple of crunching tackles to get in a low cross to the near post, but the Dragons’ defence were equal to it, although Smith latched on to the clearance about twenty yards out and fired in a shot that Adam Wilding kept out with a diving save . From the resultant corner Roberts got in a header that Adam again had to save, this time reacting well with his feet.
With ten minutes to go until half time Marley Spindler was again troubling the Royal’s defence and won a free-kick after being held back. Ben Connell managed to win a corner as his shot was deflected and after Jordan Smith failed to hold the ball it fell to Tim Dennis who fired a shot over the bar from 12 yards. A minute later however Wivenhoe were lucky not to be two goals behind as Bacon streaked away down the right and crossed for Stock, who contrived to head past the far post when well placed. Kirkley & Pakefield were enjoying a good spell of pressure as the half drew to a close and Crisp provided the crowd with a flavour of his abilities with a skilful run to the by-line, which he then ruined with a most theatrical dive, for which a less tolerant referee might have issued a yellow card.
Wivenhoe briefly struck back as Marley Spindler again darted in to the box on the right and was sent sprawling on the goal line by the heavies in the Royals’ back four. Within ninety seconds however the Dragons were two goals down as Stock was again left free in the penalty area as the ball fell to him from a clutch of players and he shot across the goal, placing the ball just inside the far post. The last action of the half saw Adam Wilding making another save, this time after Bacon’s corner was sent goal wards with a low shot from Smith.
The second half began quietly but suddenly and unexpectedly produced a wave of optimism around the ground as Tom Moore won a free-kick on the left, which TJ Amass lofted deep in to the penalty area and Tom Cutts ghosted in past a static Royals defence to head unchallenged past Smith. The Dragons were back in the game! Well they were, for all of two minutes. The next action saw Tim Dennis become the first player to be booked by referee Mr Cooper as he produced a scything motion to dispossess Tarren Grint, whose name sounds like he could have been a character in Blake’s Seven. The resultant free-kick saw Crisp restore The Royals two-goal lead with a goal virtually identical to Tom Cutts’s just a few minutes before.
Tom Moore tried to respond for Wivenhoe within a minute, sending a shot wide form thirty yards, but Kirkley & Pakefield had shots of their own as Bell pressed Adam Wilding into a simple save from a free-kick and then Bryan Turner deflected a cross from Manning out for a corner. From the corner kick Smith made the crowd wonder about the shape of his head as he directed a header hopelessly wide. A minute past the hour however the Royals did extend their lead as Manning ran down the left and crossed the ball to Bacon on the right. Bacon crossed the ball back in and Smith flicked it on unchallenged before Stock dived headlong to send the ball into the net.
The game was now truly lost, if it wasn’t before, but Wivenhoe still had occasional forays forward. Two minutes after the Royals’ fourth goal Marcus Spindler, on for Tim Dennis, earned a corner after turning and shooting, but though Tom Cutts met the corner at the far post he could only head high and wide. Two minutes later TJ Amass took a knock after colliding with his opposite number and Grint sent in a free-kick which Adam Wilding saved at the near post. Crisp met the corner on the volley at the near post, but his effort was anything but crisp as he sent the ball into orbit to begin a repeating pattern of Kirkley & Pakefield seemingly hoofing the ball out of the ground whenever the opportunity arose.
With twenty minutes to go Grint was deservedly booked for first grabbing Marcus Spindler’s shirt and then shoving him over to win the ball, rather than trying a conventional tackle. Tom Moore took the free-kick which Ben Connell met with a header that failed to trouble Jordan Smith as it spun out for a throw in. The 73rd minute witnessed a mass exodus of players as Kirkley & Pakefield made three substitutions in one go and Wivenhoe replaced the injured TJ Amass and Adam Wilding with Aaron Peck and Ritchie Robins. As the game entered the last fifteen minutes Wivenhoe continued to look for a way back in and Marley Spindler made it all the way to the goal line before sending in a cross that Jordan Smith claimed well before, with nine minutes left, another cross form the right fell to Ben Connell just six yards from goal. Ben struggled to get a shot in quickly and Jordan Smith made a good reaction save to his left to concede a corner. The corner kick was met with a meaty header from Ben Parkin which rattled the Royals’ woodwork. Two minutes later Ben Parkin was involved again as his cross to the back of the box was met by Ben Lampon who turned but shot over the cross-bar.
Ben’s shot was the last effort of any note from Wivenhoe and the remainder of the match belonged to The Royals who scored a fifth goal on eighty four minutes when a through ball was placed in front of substitute Tacon who lofted his shot over the on-rushing Ritchie Robins. In the final minute Tacon crowned the Royals’ performance with a sixth goal, sweeping home a side-footed shot from a Crisp cross on the left.
It might be said that the six goals flattered Kirkley & Pakefield a little because they did not play a particularly attractive or attacking brand of football. However, this was a poor performance from Wivenhoe who frequently failed to mark Royals’ players and they can have few complaints that they were so heavily beaten. Kirkley & Pakefield were a physically large and strong team and this superiority allied to good organisation on the field was enough to stop Wivenhoe from playing.
Even in a defeat like this there are some positives however and for the Dragons Marley Spindler was always a threat on the right and Bryan Turner’s distribution was good also. Happily there is another game on Monday so it is possible to learn what lessons can be learned and quickly move on.