Planters grab equaliser
Norwich United 1, Stanway Rovers 1The Planters fought back with a good second-half performance to earn a point at home to fourth-placed Stanway Rovers thanks to Andrew Claydon's 57th minute equaliser.
Norwich United 1, Stanway Rovers 1
The Planters fought back with a good second-half performance to earn a point at home to fourth-placed Stanway Rovers thanks to Andrew Claydon's 57th minute equaliser.
United had trailed at the break after an encouraging start yielded few chances and Stanway had taken full advantage and opened the scoring through Liam Coleman seven minutes before the interval.
Darren Coe returned from injury and Jake McCabe was recalled to the starting line-up with George Wilson missing through injury and Jordan Blyth dropping to the bench.
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The Planters started the stronger and dominated possession in the early exchanges but without creating any clear-cut chances until halfway through the half Ben Furlong had a strong run into the box which ended with his shot being deflected wide for a corner.
This sprung Stanway into life and the Premier Division's leading goalscorer Sam Newson began to show why, firstly running into the area but taking the ball to wide, then forcing Steve Shipley into a fine tackle to deny him a shooting opportunity and then heading wide from Coleman's cross when perhaps he should have found the target.
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In the 38th minute the Stanway pressure paid when Sam Newson's shot hit the United crossbar and Coleman was quickest to react to touch the ball home. Kevin Hughes almost doubled the visitors' advantage before the break shooting over from Coleman's corner to the near post.
The Planters looked a stronger side after the break and a lovely move 12 minutes after the restart saw parity restored. Steve Shipley did well under pressure to find Lee Hunter on the right and the winger's pin-point cross to the far post was headed home by Claydon from close range.
Sam Newson was still causing problems for the home defence and one shot was somehow scrambled away off the home line and a defensive mix-up saw the opportunity of another shot fall to the striker but it flew wide.
Lee Hunter was beginning to cause the Stanway back four problems and after Tom Jeal and Claydon had done well to release him his cross found Paul Atkins at the far post but his effort was cleared off the line.
Some controversial decisions by referee J Turner followed. United's Claydon was sent crashing by Josh Gould and no decision was forthcoming and then, after a clash of players in the centre circle, the referee allowed play to continue only to halt play as Stanway looked to have a strong chance of scoring.
At the other end Hunter, set free by a combination of Claydon and Blyth, saw his cross just elude in-rushing Claydon. Meanwhile as both sides looked for a winner Sam Newson found Coleman who shot wide.
Deep into injury time Atkins did well to release Hunter and another excellent delivery was just beyond Claydon.
On the balance of play a draw was a fair result.
Norwich United: Pauling, McCabe, Furlong, Coe, Preston (D Tacon 65), Shipley, Hunter, Squires, Claydon, Jeal (Blyth 80), Atkins. Unused sub: D Cook.
Stanway Rovers: Church, Curtis, Cawley, Hughes, Gould, Norfolk, Coleman, Clarke (McCluskey 63), S Newson, Callander (Bailey 60), B Newson. Unused sub: Davis.
Referee: J Turner. Assistants: M Taylor & S Nunn.