Leiston lead on, but Willows blown away
Roy Webster RIDGEONS LEAGUE: Wroxham fans in recent games have been treated to a double exhibition of formidable footballing endeavour. Alas, it was Leiston who turned on the style at Trafford Park last Saturday with a compelling and comprehensive 3-1 victory.
Wroxham fans in recent games have been treated to a double exhibition of formidable footballing endeavour.
Alas, it was Leiston who turned on the style at Trafford Park last Saturday with a compelling and comprehensive 3-1 victory.
Leiston were once regarded as the Yachtsmen's bogey team. But now they are much more the sophisticated outfit, quite rightly earning the description of serious title contenders.
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However, Hilton's men, who lost their keeper McAnally with a serious head injury on Saturday, put those memories behind them on Tuesday night when they demolished the Ridgeons League's other village side, Walsham-le-Willows 6-1.
Back to Saturday, it was Leiston with familiar faces that appeared in the successful Sudbury team in recent seasons, who, having clearly invested substantial cash sums to build such a dominating force, appeared fitter, keener and more to the point won the midfield battle that spelt the main difference between these rivals.
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Even so Wroxham had a dream start with an early scrambled goal that the assistant referee awarded as it crossed the line by a few inches.
Then the Yachtsmen's rudder broke and with all sense of direction haywire McAnally was forced to concede a free-kick just outside his penalty box, rammed home by Stuart Boardley.
After that the keeper must have felt as naked as a newborn babe for there seemed little protection from the last line of defence, and repeatedly he had to dash from his line and was midway in his own half when he was felled unceremoniously while trying to clear a dangerous attack.
In the second half Andy Jackson was between the sticks but in a disastrous two-minute spell he was rummaging in the back of the net twice to retrieve the ball rammed home by Tes Bramble and Shane Wardley.
Without key outfielders Notman, Carus, Self and the first choice keeper there were fears that the Willows would not bend to Wroxham's gentle breeze generated by a makeshift line-up.
But, led by Gavin Crane who netted his first hat-trick in a Wroxham shirt, it was all one-way traffic for the home side and the visiting saplings were put through the shredder with further goals from Paul Cook and a brace from Andy Key.
As Hilton prepared for his FA Cup visit to Yarmouth Town he was negotiating with some promising young players of sound pedigree.
Most surely, with important fixtures coming up in the next three against Dereham Town, Needham Market and Lowestoft Town the manager would welcome vital reinforcements.