Dragons sow the seeds of their own destruction against Planters
Norwich United 4 Wivenhoe Town 0
Norwich United: 1) Ben Nower 2) Tom Jeal 3) Shaun Howes 4) Gavin Lemmon 5)Steve Shipley © 6) Adrian Ager 7) Ian Hunter 8) Adam Bennett 9) Jordan Blyth (Jamie George 46) 10) Jordan Rocastle (Nathan Howard 46) 11) Gary Gilmore (Sam Bryant 67). Unused Subs 16) Jon Lovelock 17) Matthew Coote
Wivenhoe Town: 1) Glenn Morrison 2) Liam Dadds 3) Miguel Nydam (Connor Worrow 74) 4)Ben Lampon © 5) Ben Parkin 6) Ryan Brown 7) Michael Schofield 8) Reece Keating 9) Ray Catchpole (Ben Connell 66) 10) Marley Spindler 11) Tim Dennis (Adie Cant 59). Unused Subs: None
Referee: Mr A Wilson. Assts: Messrs T Basker and P Smith
After giving an excellent account of themselves in the first half of this match at The Plantation, Wivenhoe proceeded to gift Norwich United the points in the second half with a procession of appalling defensive blunders.
The Planters kicked off the match in the direction of Great Yarmouth on a bright, but cold afternoon on a bone-dry, dusty pitch. The game started at a brisk pace as both teams pressed and probed and in the first twenty minutes Wivenhoe often dominated, playing neat passing football. After only 8 minutes Mike Schofield should have put them ahead when a quick free kick gave him time and space in front of goal, but his scuffed shot from 18 yards went straight to goal keeper Nower. A minute later Ryan Brown produced a brilliant solo run through the middle before feeding the ball out to Marley Spindler on the right. Marley sent in a cross but it was punched away by Norwich player of the year Nower. Reece Keating had the ball in the net for the Dragons 3 minutes later after he met a Ray Catchpole cross at the near post, but he was flagged offside.
On 15 minutes Wivenhoe won a free kick on the right after a foul on Marley Spindler. Miguel Nydam crossed the ball in and Tim Dennis rose highest amongst a knot of players to direct the ball goal wards, but the ball dropped kindly for Nower. Tim Dennis was cynically tripped by Bennett a minute later as he turned him cleverly by the half way line. This was one of several niggly fouls committed by Norwich players for which free-kicks were awarded, but referee Mr Wilson seemed reluctant to caution or even speak to the perpetrators.
On 19 minutes Norwich were almost handed an undeserved lead as Rocastle missed a golden opportunity when Ben Lampon’s air-kick left him one on one with Glenn Morrison. But Glenn ‘made himself big’ as the TV commentators say and Rocastle clipped his shot past the far post. It was Norwich who won the game’s first corner on 28 minutes, but Reece Keating was fouled as the kick went across the box and nothing came of it. On the half hour Gilmore went on a run down the left which Liam Dadds checked with a fine tackle at the expense of a second corner which was collected confidently by Glenn Morrison. Two minutes later, Rocastle, who had been making a nuisance of himself in and around the box, attempted to lob Glenn Morrison after he was left stranded having come out to hack away a through ball; the lob missed the goal.
With four minutes to go until half time the Dragons had an opportunity to take the lead as Glen Morrison’s kick sailed over everyone and as the Norwich defence stood and watched Ray Catchpole nipped in behind them. But Nower was off his line quickly and blocked Ray’s shot from close range. The final action of the half saw Bennett have Norwich’s only shot on target so far as his effort from 25 yards went straight to Glenn Morrison. It had been a tight and competitive half, but Wivenhoe had at times looked the better team and certainly their passing was neater, even if this meant they were less direct. Ryan Brown had been particularly impressive in midfield and his touch and control were often a level above everyone else’s.
‘The Wiv’ started the second half brightly as Reece Keating immediately went down the right and sent in a cross which Nower had to punch clear. However, just three minutes into the half Norwich won a corner on the left. Ager won the ball in the air for the Planters and although Glen Morrison stretched to keep the ball out, it was not cleared and captain Shipley scrambled the ball into the net to give Norwich an unexpected lead. It was a massive disappointment after what had gone before.
The Dragons won their first corner of the game after 52 minutes but nothing came of it before a minute later Howard provided the game’s first comedy turn as he decided to charge Glen Morrison and literally bounced off him, landing in an undignified heap. The comedy capers weren’t so amusing three minutes later however a terrible mix-up between Ben Parkin, Liam Dadds and Glen left Bennett to roll the ball into an empty net and double the Planters’ lead.
Wivenhoe tried to get back quickly and Tim Dennis produced an ineffectual shot from 25 yards on 58 minutes and on the hour Ryan Brown earned a corner but without profit. With 64 minutes gone Liam Dadds got involved in a girly spat as he wrestled on the ground with a Planter and on another day he might have been booked. The resultant free-kick was crossed in low but easily cleared. Five minutes later a headed clearance from Glen Morrison at the edge of the box after a ball over the top left the Dragons vulnerable to Bryant’s lob. Liam Dadds made amends for his earlier silliness however with a decent headed clearance from in front of the goal. On 67 minutes Norwich Gary Gilmore was substituted, which had at least one old punk rocker in the crowd singing to himself ‘Gary don’t need his legs no more…’ (Google ‘The Adverts’ for an explanation of that).
The Dragons were not looking like getting back into the game despite a few positional changes and substitutions to try and freshen things up. They came closest when on 72 minutes Marley Spindler chipped a clever little pass into the box to substitute Adie Cant, who turned smartly on the edge of the six yard box and tested Nower with a low close range shot. Four minutes later however the Planters were 3-0 up as another similar calamity to the earlier one left George to roll the ball into an unguarded net. Frankly, it was embarrassing.
Wivenhoe were reeling and two minutes later a punt forward by Ian Hunter that might have come all the way from Memphis, saw Howard brush off the challenge of Liam Dadds before hitting a shot, which was only diverted away from goal by the out-stretched leg of Glen Morrison. After a further two minutes Howard blazed over the bar from 20 yards when the Dragons defence failed to deal with another punt forward. A minute after that Bennett side-footed high over the bar after yet another defensive muddle amongst the Dragons. There was then a brief respite as Lemmon went down injured and received treatment; he had perhaps become traumatised by the constant shouts of ‘Squeeze, Squeeze’.
Four minutes from time the Dragons’ misery was compounded when Ben Lampon handled a poorly directed cross and Bennett converted the penalty. Disgusted, Glen Morrison hoofed the ball out of the ground and became the only player to be cautioned. All that remained was for Glen to dive low to save a shot from Hunter and then Mr Wilson put us out of our misery with the final Wilson and not a minute too soon.
There is no doubt the final score flattered Norwich but they can’t really be blamed for taking the chances Wivenhoe presented to them.