Dragons Squash Tangerines
Wivenhoe Town 4 Diss Town 1
Wivenhoe Town: 1) Louis Hawes 2) Ben Lampon 3)Andy Schofield (Oliver O’Hare 82) 4)Callum Rogers 5)Tim Dennis 6) Dan Homeward (Luke Goldie-McSorley 67) 7)Peter Maina (Miguel Nydam 73) 8) Marley Spindler 9) Ben Parkin 10) Ben Connell© 11) Tyler Rogers Unused Subs: None
Diss Town: 1) Kavi Luchowa 2) Ashley Mitchell 3) Luke Goreham 4) Keiron Patel 5) Mark Shadrack© 6) Roscoe Hipperson 7) Jacob Brown 9) Chris Holmes 10) Matthew Dixon 11) Daniel Easlea Unused Subs: 15) David Coyle
Referee: Mr N West
The Dragons picked up where they left off at Newmarket last week to produce another entertaining performance and end the season with a comfortable win.
On a cool, but dry and bright afternoon at the Maple Tree Cars Stadium, the Dragons kicked off the match towards the tennis court end of the ground. With the exception of Andy Schofield replacing Miguel Nydam, it was the same line-up that had started the game at Newmarket the week before.
Wivenhoe attacked more or less from the start and went ahead after just three minutes when a long throw on the right from Ben Lampon was nodded on by Tim Dennis and Ben Connell headed firmly past a static Luchowa in the Tangerines’ goal. Two minutes later Ben Connell came close again as he headed an angled cross into the side-netting. The Dragons continued to press, getting forward particularly well down the right flank. On 12 minutes Ben Lampon put in a deep cross which Luchowa, wearing a lime green kit to complement the visitors’ citrus theme, just managed to grab off the head of Ben Parkin. But the Dragons were unstoppable and two minutes later Ben Connell sent a ball out wide to Peter Maina on the right. Pete advanced before putting in a low cross to the near post. Luchowa only parried the ball and Marley Spindler followed up to regained possession for Wivenhoe just inside the 6 yard area; then as Marley went to turn back inside the penalty box the full-back Goreham knocked him over; referee Mr West had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. Pete Maina hit the penalty to Luchowa’s right as the ‘keeper dived to his left. Two-nil up within fifteen minutes! It was almost too good to be true, but amazingly it was true.
Diss had their first proper shot of the game on 16 minutes after a deep cross was met on the volley by Holmes; Louis Hawes dived to his left and held on to the ball well but it had not been struck with great force. The first corner of the game to went Wivenhoe in the 19th minute; Ben Parkin got his head to Tyler Rogers’ kick, directing the ball towards the goal, but Marley Spindler was penalised for a foul on the goalkeeper. Wivenhoe quickly won possession back and Andy Schofield strode forward with the ball from the halfway line; Andy slipped past a couple of challenges and then, finding himself in plenty of space, swept a glorious 30 yard shot into the top left-hand corner of the Diss goal to put the Dragons three-nil up. It was the first time the Dragons had scored three goals in a match since their 5-3 defeat in the Essex Senior Cup at Barking back in the late summer.
With a half an hour gone, Wivenhoe won their second corner of the match, and as with the first corner it was Ben Parkin who got his head to the kick, sending it on for Callum Rogers to head over the crossbar. The Tangerines had a corner of their own two minutes later, but it was over hit and although they retained possession for a little while they failed to threaten the Wivenhoe goal. Soon afterwards the Diss captain Shadrack was booked by referee Mr West for tugging at Marley Spindler. It was a good piece of refereeing as Mr West played the advantage, but then called Shadrack over to caution him once the passage of play had broken down.
Diss came a little more into the game in the final 15 minutes of the half and Patel looked a danger down their right flank. With 10 minutes to go until the break Dixon hit a shot from 25 yards, but it deflected off Wivenhoe defender and was easily gathered by Louis Hawes. Diss then won another corner which came to nothing. Inside the final five minutes of the half Diss earned another corner , which again produced no danger to the Dragons clean sheet, but Andy Schofield also had another strike at goal, driving forward once more on the left and beating two players before unfortunately scuffing a 30 yard shot a couple of yards wide of Luchowa’s right-hand post.
Having been comprehensively squeezed out of the game in the first half, the Tangerines presumably received a good talking to at half-time, which immediately bore fruit as the Dragons went to sleep at the back and left Patel in plenty of space to sweep home a low cross and pull a goal back with a 60 seconds of the restart. Inevitably the goal gave encouragement to Diss who enjoyed more possession in the next segment of the game, although Wivenhoe were seldom seriously troubled at the back. On 54 minutes Louis Hawes did well to hold onto a good-looking cross from the left and the visitors won another corner soon afterwards. In the 64th minute a low cross from Goreham was met at the near post by Dixon, but from a dangerous position he smacked his shot high into the air and wide of the goal. The Tangerines then won another corner from which they headed the ball wide again.
Diss had shaded the first 20 minutes of the second half but on 67 minutes Luke Goldie-McSorley replaced Dan Homeward and the Wivenhoe attack was reinvigorated. In the 69th minute a ball down the right hand side was chased by Luke to the right-hand corner of the penalty area. Luchowa came out of his goal and got to the ball but was lucky to get away with a bizarre overhead kick towards his own goal; understandably, the unexpected flight of the ball confused Luke and he was unable to take advantage. Just a minute later however, the Dragons re-established their three-goal lead. The ball was hit out wide to Ben Parkin on the left; Ben cut in- field and then unleashed a shot from fully 30 yards which arced over Luchowa and thundered against the underside of the crossbar and out. There was a moment’s uncertainty, but referee’s assistant Mr Tate signalled that the ball had crossed the goal-line, in a scene reminiscent of the 1966 World Cup final…well sort of. You don’t need goal-line technology if you’ve got a Mr Tate. 4-1. Nobody knows when the Dragons last scored four goals.
Revelling in the luxury of their lavishly upholstered three-goal cushion, the Dragons pushed on looking for the fifth goal that the home crowd were now demanding. In the 73rd minute a deep, angled cross from Luke Goldie- McSorley sailed straight into the top corner of the goal and it looked like the Dragons had gone nap, but our joy was punctured by the raised flag of Mr Tate , who had spotted an offside. A minute later Luke popped up on the other flank and was fouled. Andy Schofield whipped in the free-kick, which rocketed across the box and beyond the far post before anyone could get a touch on it. Wivenhoe then won a corner which was cleared by Goreham, before Diss also earned a corner which was well claimed by Louis Hawes , who climbed high to catch the ball at the near post.
With the game entering final 10 minutes, Tyler Rogers did well as he chased a ball out to the left flank and then put in a low cross which was cleared before he dropped in a second cross which Ben Parkin headed over the bar. Diss had a brief flurry with four minutes left, as they earned a corner from which the ball dropped inside the box and was smacked across the face of goal from close range before being cleared by the Wivenhoe defence. It was the Dragons who finished the match once again on the attack however, as substitute Ollie O’Hare made progress down the right, exchanging passes with Ben Parkin before slipping the ball through for Luke Goldie-McSorley, but the pass was just a little too strong and the ball ran through to Luchowa. Then, in the final minute Ben Parkin chased a ball over the top; he reached the ball ahead of Goreham and got in a shot which forced Luchowa into a diving save to his left to hold the ball in mid-air.
As the score line amply demonstrates this was a fine performance from the Dragons. In common with last week’s game at Newmarket Wivenhoe retained their shape with Ben Connell and Dan Homeward holding the midfield in front of the back four, Peter Maina and Tyler Rogers providing pace and mobility on the wings and Marley Spindler linking the midfield together whilst also supporting Ben Parkin up front. It is a formation which is further strengthened by the excellent running from full- back of Andy Schofield and Ben Lampon, whilst Callum Rogers and Tim Dennis are rocks at the centre of defence, capable of playing the ball to the midfield rather than just hoofing it.
It is a little baffling that after a good pre-season, which showed much promise, it has taken until the last two matches of the season to truly rediscover this good form, albeit with a couple of changes in personnel. It is likely that having already been assured of 19th spot in the league table, the pressure was off and as in pre-season the players felt more relaxed, which allowed them to play to their capabilities without fear of making mistakes. The team clearly has the ability; they just need confidence and belief in that ability. They need to believe in Dragons; Wivvy exists, you’ve all seen him.