Aylsham quick on the draw
HAVING overlooked 1B action so far, it was high time I righted a wrong. So, for my last game of the season, it was a visit to Barker's Lane where Sprowston Wanderers were out to stop Aylsham Sunday from reaching the Division One play-off final.
Evening News Norwich Sunday League Division 1B:
Sprowston Wanderers 1, Aylsham Sunday 1
HAVING overlooked 1B action so far, it was high time I righted a wrong.
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So, for my last game of the season, it was a visit to Barker's Lane where Sprowston Wanderers were out to stop Aylsham Sunday from reaching the Division One play-off final.
Needing just one point from their remaining game to overtake Saxlingham and claim second spot, Aylsham were well on their way within the first seven minutes. Sprowston goalkeeper Nathan Kidd saved the initial shot from a good ball in by Tom Bryant, but couldn't prevent Eddie Botwright from tucking away the follow-up.
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Despite the fact that Sprowston could potentially only finish fourth in the league even if they won their last three games, they were not going to let Aylsham dominate proceedings. James Moy's header was cleared off the line from a Lee Carrigan corner, before Keith Evans scored a Beckham-style Sprowston equaliser.
Evans beat Aylsham 'keeper William Minns with a long-range lob from inside his own half to put the home side back on level terms. I'm sure they didn't intend to take away any of Evans's glory, but his team-mates were very quick to point out that the Sprowston pitch is a bit on the small side.
The 66-strong crowd wasn't just made up of supporters of the two teams involved. An Eaton Beehive contingent was also present as they would be crowned champions unless Aylsham won by 11 clear goals, a feat that was looking unlikely with the half-time score at 1-1.
A nervy second half saw Aylsham waste several good chances to make the game safe. An Anton Rogers far-post cross was flicked back into the area but Botwright directed his header straight at Kidd. Kidd was then called into action to tip a Jamie McCann strike on to the bar for an Aylsham corner.
As the minutes ticked away, every Sprowston attack was a threat to Aylsham's promotion hopes, but the solid Aylsham defence restricted Sprowston to just a couple of long-range efforts. Much of the rest of the second-half action centred around the confusion caused at throw-ins by the multiple lines painted on the pitch.
The last chance of note fell to Aylsham substitute Sam Bunn, who narrowly failed to connect with a great cross by Botwright. But the miss was forgotten as Aylsham held on for the draw and will face Norwich Busmen for a place in the top flight.
t Sprowston Wanderers 1: Evans 20;
Aylsham Sunday 1: Botwright 7
t Sprowston Wanderers: 1 Nathan Kidd 8, 3 Michael Bailey 7, 11 Ben Watkins 7, 4 Justin Lee-May 7, 10 Steven Jackson 7, 15 Keith Evans 7, 5 Tristan Lee-May 7, 8 James Moy 7, 9 Jamie Riley 7, 7 Lee Carrigan 7, 2 James Maxwell-Stuart 7.
Aylsham Sunday: 1 William Minns 7, 2 Anton Rogers 8, 3 Anthony Goodrum 7, 4 Stuart Mack 8, 5 Craig McCann 8, 6 Danny Bean 7, 7 Jamie McCann 8, 8 Tom Bryant 7, 9 Eddie Botwright 8, 10 Wayne Coe 7, 11 Simon Gotterson 7 (12 Sam Bunn 55 7). Subs unused: 13 Matt Hall, 14 Matt Howe, 15 Jason Grimes.
t Attendance: 66
t Man of the match: Craig McCann
t Referee: Russell Bird
t Shots on: Sprowston 2, Aylsham 8
t Shots off: Sprowston 5, Aylsham 8
t Corners: Sprowston 1, Aylsham 3
t Offsiders: Sprowston 4, Aylsham 3
t Fouls: Sprowston 22, Aylsham 6
t Weather: Murky
t Supporter of the match: The poor dog whose view was obscured by the large perspex cone on its head.