Angels beat Crabs in derby starter
North Walsham Town 3, Cromer Town 0: The opening encounter of the Anglian Combination Premier Division season brought local rivals and perennial title challengers Cromer Town to Greens Road and, after a determined display, the Angels were in heaven following a well deserved 3-0 success.
North Walsham Town 3, Cromer Town 0
The opening encounter of the Anglian Combination Premier Division season brought local rivals and perennial title challengers Cromer Town to Greens Road and, after a determined display, the Angels were in heaven following a well deserved 3-0 success.
Walsham's line-up was vastly different to last season as the management team have had to deal with a number of defections, four of which lined up in the opposition's squad, and also the unavailability of Wilton and Munday.
Making their Town debuts were Doggett, Bunton and Fisk, whilst Hinton, Fitzgerald and Davies made returns to the club after varying lengths of absence.
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From the opening moments, Town set out their stall to frustrate their more illustrious opponents and looked to get in behind the Cromer backline. This proved fruitful within 15 minutes as Hinton's slide-rule pass allowed Alex Fitzgerald to race clear. Despite his first effort being parried by Kellett, he recomposed himself and fired the rebound home to open his account for the campaign.
Cromer had a chance soon after when Cullington found space in the Town area from a free-kick, but only managed to direct his header over the bar. Town responded and Fitzgerald, who was causing real problems with his pace, was barged off the ball by Davies as he attempted to break clear.
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With the back line largely containing Cromer's attacking threat with disciplined defending, this allowed Hinton and Clifton to influence the game. The second goal came just before the half hour mark when, as Cromer struggled to clear their lines. James Clifton controlled the ball, skipped past his marker and fired into the bottom corner, leaving Kellett helpless.
Town went close to adding to their lead when Grand's effort was cleared off the line and the follow-up was blocked by Kellett.
As the game approached half-time, Cromer began to dominate possession but were unable to breach the Walsham defence and Walsham took a two-goal cushion into the break.
'More of the same' was asked for by the management with the focus being that the next goal would decide the outcome of the match. Within five minutes of the restart, the third goal had arrived and Walsham had increased their lead.
Fitzgerald picked off a loose Landamore pass and released Clarke. His snapshot was palmed away by Kellett, but Adam Bunton showed great bravery to put his head in the line of fire and nod home for a debut goal.
Walsham continued to nullify the Crabs' attack with no-nonsense defending and the opposition were restricted to half-chances. In the Town goal, Fisk had only one save of note to make as he parried a shot which took a massive deflection as it came through a crowded area.
Walsham introduced their substitutes Hanby, Davies and Palmer as time ran down and both Hanby and Davies went close to adding to Town's lead. In the dying embers of the game, as the crowd began cheering every clearance, Hinton nearly grabbed the goal his performance deserved as he skipped clear of two markers and unleashed a half volley which ricocheted off the foot of the post with Kellett rooted to the spot.
The referee's final whistle brought to an end a very satisfying start for the Angels with the tactics of Chase and Lown being vindicated and it is hoped that the lads can maintain this level of commitment and desire in the coming weeks. Within a fine team display Dunlop, Hinton and Clifton deserve special mention for their efforts.