Dragons and Stanway Stalemate
Wivenhoe Town 1 Stanway Rovers 1
Wivenhoe Town: 1) Peter Haxell 2) Ben Lampon 3) Miguel Nydam (Peter Maina 46) 4) Callum Rogers 5) Tim Dennis 6) Ryan Brown (Ray Catchpole 82) 7) Andy Schofield 8) Dan Homeward 9) Ben Parkin 10) Ben Connell © 11) Tyler Rogers (Joe Heron 88) Unused Subs: 14)Oliver O’Hara 15) Ben Fowler
Stanway Rovers: 1) Dan Heath 2) Mark Gaisford 3) Ryan Ince 4) Charlie Goodlake © 5)Lee Cullen 6) Chris Ribchester 7) Jordan Heath (Jamie Beecham 65) 8) Daniel Slatter 9) Craig Hughes 10) Karl Fondop Talom 11) Adam Hampson Unused Subs: 12) Charlie Pleace 14) Billy Coe 16) Charlie Hayes 17) Angelo Harrop
Referee: Mr O Saliy Assistants: Mr C Horsman & Mr D Gainsford
A keenly contested, but ultimately rather dull and poor quality derby at the Maple Tree Cars Stadium in Broad Lane ended with honours even and both teams should be happy with their point.
On a bright, warm breezy afternoon, the Dragons kicked off towards the car park end of the ground. The opening minutes set the pattern for the whole game, which was that there wasn’t much of a pattern really. Stanway had the first shot on goal after five minutes when full-back Ince sent a 20 yard effort curling wide of the far post. The visitors had the second goal attempt as well, as on nine minutes a free-kick was crossed into the box and headed wide of the goal, very wide. A minute later, the Dragons had their first proper attack as Ben Parkin chased a clever through pass from Andy Schofield. Ben knocked two defenders off the ball, but lost control and it was cleared.
Stanway were the first to come close to a goal when on 15 minutes the Cameroonian Fondop-Talom’s effort was cleared off the line by Ben Lampon. Rovers then won the first corner of the game off Tim Dennis and Gaisford rose highest to head the ball beyond the far post. Around the 20 minute mark the Dragons had a spell of a coherent pressure around the Stanway goal. Andy Schofield took a free-kick on the left, which found Ben Connell about 8 yards from goal, but he headed the ball up in the air before the danger was cleared. Two minutes later at the other end Ben Lampon missed his kick as a cross came in from the right, but whoever was behind him shot tamely and the ball was easily cleared.
Wivenhoe won their first corner of the game after 27 minutes when Ribchester got in front of Ben Parkin to head the ball out. Tim Dennis rose to head the ball at the near post and Ryan Brown won the second ball at the far post, but neither could head the ball conclusively and the rangy, long haired Cullen, who a section of the home crowd had touchingly christened Twiglet, cleared it.
For a good 10 minutes not much happened at all of any note and then former Dragon Hampson hit a speculative shot very, very, very wide from the corner of the penalty area. How the home supporters jeered. With five minutes to go until half-time Andy Schofield broke forward down the right and pulled the ball back from the by-line to Ben Connell at the near post, no more than 7 yards from goal. Ben was unmarked, but seemed totally surprised to have received the ball and failed to even produce a shot on goal as he struggled to gain control on the dusty and hard surface. But he needn’t have worried; within 60 seconds Wivenhoe won a corner and Tyler Rogers’ deliciously whipped in corner was headed home powerfully by Tim Dennis and the Dragons were ahead.
In the closing minutes of the half Stanway won a corner after a decent move down the right hand side and then Hughes was put through on goal, he poked the ball past Peter Haxell, but Ben Lampon was following up to clear the ball for a corner, which Tim Dennis headed away before referee Mr Saliy blew for half time.
Peter Maina replaced Miguel Nydam at the start of the second half, which began with Stanway sending two outrageously inaccurate shots way off into the car park and possibly Wivenhoe Park. Stanway won a corner on 52 minutes, which they generously hit behind the goal instead of into the more traditional target of the penalty area, but then Fondop-Talom was not quite as charitable as he rifled a vicious 25 yard shot at goal, which was brilliantly held at the near post by Peter Haxell. Tim Dennis then headed the ball out for another corner to Stanway, but that to came to nothing.
Wivenhoe’s first decent attack of the second half came on 57 minutes as Pete Maina and Ben Connell broke forward down the right with some eye-catching interplay, but the move ended with Pete volleying the ball lamely onto the roof of the stand from 25 yards. The hour mark brought perhaps the most exciting and controversial moment of the match. A through ball was chased by Ben Parkin accompanied by Stanway’s Cullen (Twiglet to the SOBS); as the pair reached a point 2 or 3 yards from the penalty area Cullen hauled Ben down. Ukrainian referee Mr Saliy inevitably awarded Ben a free-kick, but only booked Cullen when it looked like he could have been sent off because Ben was through on goal. Mr Saliy explained that he had allowed play to continue when Ben had hold of Cullen’s shirt, and this was why he was lenient towards Cullen when seconds later he fouled Ben. To be fair to Mr Saliy his priority all afternoon was clearly to let the game flow as much as possible and he was prepared to allow some minor infringements to pass. Overall this policy worked for the good of the game and besides, he is a personal friend of Sergei Baltacha the former Ipswich Town and USSR sweeper, and he was prepared to call him on his phone and let me speak to him. Tyler Rogers took the resultant free-kick, but although it cleared the defensive wall it didn’t trouble ‘keeper Heath(D).
Two minutes later Ben Parkin chased another through ball, this time closely attended by Ribchester, who headed the ball away. Ben considered that he’d been impeded again and this time, by way of getting Ben to shut up with his whinging, Mr Saliy booked him; it was for his own good. Soon afterwards a throw in on the right produced a flicked header from Ben Parkin, but Cullen was on hand to put the ball out for another corner to the Dragons, which came to nowt. Although they were enjoying quite a lot of possession, Stanway didn’t really look like scoring, but then on 68 minutes they did. A free-kick was given on the left-hand edge of the penalty area, captain Charlie Goodlake, one of three Charlies in the Stanway match day squad, stepped up to send a low shot round the wall and just inside the far post.
After the goal, not a lot worth remembering happened for a good 10 minutes or so; Stanway won a corner with 10 minutes left, which was headed away, and three minutes later Ben Parkin was tripped by Goodlake, who then cleared the resultant free-kick by Tyler Rogers. With five minutes of normal time remaining, Ben Connell won a corner for the Dragons on the right. Tyler Rogers' kick carried over to the far post and was crossed back in by Ray Catchpole and headed over the crossbar by Ben Connell. Back at the other end a minute later, Goodlake hit a particularly weak shot from 20 yards which bobbled harmlessly wide of the target. With the game now into time added-on Stanway thought they had scored when Fondop-Talom’s close range shot hit the inside of the post and ran along the goal line where Hughes scrambled it into the net, but he had been flagged offside. The last notable action of the match saw Cullen leaning over Joe Heron to concede a foul some 30 yards from goal. Andy Schofield took the free-kick, hitting a low shot along the ground and into the arms of Heath (D).
The match had given little away about why football is known as the beautiful game; Stanway’s greater physical presence meant they had the best of the possession, such as it was, but they often over hit passes or shot wildly and missed. For their part, the Dragons never really got going and too often gave the ball away rather than building from the back. Although Ben Parkin chased down everything, Wivenhoe didn’t seriously threaten the Stanway goal except from corners. Overall a draw was a fair result.