Ridgeons League Premier round-up

Wroxham's spectacular 4-3 victory in the FA Cup 1st qualifying round at Grantham earned them a home tie against Heybridge Swifts.


Wroxham's spectacular 4-3 victory in the FA Cup 1st qualifying round at Grantham earned them a home tie against Heybridge Swifts. But because the club had booked a wedding reception for the Trafford Park clubhouse on the same date as next Saturday's tie this all important qualifying round against the Ryman Premier outfit is to be staged at Plantation Park, Blofield.

Needless to say, as soon as the Essex side, who languish well down their league table, read of the Yachtsmen's plight they flatly refused an FA suggestion that the game could be played at Trafford Park on the Sunday.

And even when the FA approved the switch to the Norwich United ground they still raised objections while seeking to play the game on their home ground instead of travelling to Norfolk.

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There is little doubt Wroxham were in a muddle, to say the least. But thanks to Norwich United chairman John Hilditch and Woodbridge Town, who agreed to revise their fixture list to accommodate the Planters in a home game, a move kindly approved by the Ridgeons League, the Football Association consented to the rearrangement for a cup clash worth £450 for the winners plus a place in the lucrative draw of the following round.

Some may well ask how the Yachtsmen's hierarchy got themselves in such an embarrassing fix reminiscent of an Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel black and white sitcom. But in fairness to the Wroxham officials, the wedding reception was booked up many weeks ago to raise vital funds for the football club and no one can shoulder any blame for fundraising.

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Just to elaborate further Wroxham were prepared to hire a marquee to accommodate the bar for the football fans and a separate cubicle for the visiting officials.

It was then John Hilditch came riding in on the proverbial white horse to rescue Wroxham, so the outcome is a rather peculiar game where both the Swifts and the Yachtsmen are playing the tie away from home.

More to the point, the Trafford Park fans do not have to face the journey to Essex, but on the strength of Wroxham's support at Grantham where less than a dozen including the club officials travelled, most would have spurned the offer of a cheap seat on the coach anyway.

Before they beat Uxbridge 3-0 in last Tuesday's replay Heybridge were bottom of their league having won none, drawn four and lost four with three goals for and eight against.

Grantham's ground was a perfect setting in our former prime minister's home town that just oozed quality. It was a fitting venue for the cut and thrust high octane exchanges containing hot blood incident from start to finish.

Wroxham stunned the occupants of the South Kesteven Sports Stadium terraces, and indeed the players of this Unibond Division South outfit, with a superlative display of never-say-die soccer.

Soon after kick-off the visitors had to weather a shock goal from Billy Stubbs but they were back on level terms with a headed effort from Josh Carus in the 18th minute.

Then disaster struck Damian Hilton's men. A long clearance from the back beat the Wroxham defenders on the bounce and Jason Turner was bearing down on Thornton's goal when Carus bundled him over in the 18-yard area. It was an immediate red card for the Wroxham defender who was the last in line and a goal from the spot for Turner.

Although down to 10 men Wroxham battled on with effort and honest endeavour. And just before the break Paul Cook - now a striker of supreme confidence and ability both in the air and on the deck - headed home Notman's free-kick.

Minutes later they had the ball in the net again, but the offside flag was up.

The home side went in front again in the 60th minute through Jamie Hales, which caught a deflection but then Wroxham lost midfield dynamo Danny White with a hip injury, with Colin Wines the substitute.

Rampant Wroxham were not giving up the chase and levelled from a Steve Harley penalty after Cook was felled in the box. Grantham were then reduced to 10 when Fleming was banished for taking a swing at Harley and there was all to play for.

Wroxham's keeper Robert Thornton kept them in the game with spectacular saves and the Wroxham travelling faithful were preparing for a well earned replay at Trafford Park.

Seven minutes into stoppage time the waters parted and Gary Gilmore raced through the channel to score a dramatic winner.

With Andy Key and Damian Hilton becoming available, who can bet the Yachtsmen will not again emerge with an honourable victory in this prestigious national competition.


IN last Saturday's last ever competitive match at Fenland Park the Magpies erased their early season defeat against Wisbech by coming from behind to net six of the best in the second half.

Scott Cubberley had given the Fenmen a 19th minute lead with Dereham struggling to produce their normal flowing football in a poor first half. However, after the break following some harsh words from manager Matty Henman the visitors stunned the 250 strong crowd with a great display of controlled attacking play. Soon after the re-start Nicky Howell made it all square before Danny Beaumont scored from the spot to put his side in front. Howell then used his pace to round the keeper and net his second.

The Magpies were dominating proceedings, and man of the match Jason Hunt was rewarded for his tireless work in midfield by scoring a brace that won Dereham the match.

Craig Terrington fired home number six after substitute Simon Mowbray had made a decisive run down the right. On time, a howler by John Higgs gifted Scott Cubberley his second of the afternoon but this was nothing more than a consolation as Dereham finished convincing winners.

Several of the team were carrying knocks so this made the margin of victory even more satisfying. The result pushed the side up to fifth place in the table which after successive opening defeats is a superb reply.

Matty Henman was reluctant to single out any individuals as he felt it was another good all-round performance. He said: “We had to battle again in the first half and were not allowed to play too much football. However, we increased our tempo in the second and were rewarded with six goals.”

The Dereham boss has signed striker Paul Atkins from Norwich United for his second spell at the club. After today's trip to CRC Dereham play Norwich United at Plantation Park on Tuesday night, kick-off 7.45pm before Haverhill Rovers visit Aldiss Park next Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

The Reserve side tasted defeat for the first time this season, going down 4-1 at Walsham-le-Willows. The A side also lost 7-3 at Saham Toney with Sam Groves, Ryan Maund and Jack Sears on target.


KIRKLEY and Pakefield paid the penalty literally for wasted chances and a penalty miss for the second time this season that has cost them three valuable points, following on from Fox's missed spot kick.

This time it was Jamie Stokeld who hit one of the weakest kicks imaginable. Yet again frustration against teams at the bottom of the table, not for the first time in recent years, and bottom of the table Whitton could not believe their luck as Kirkley huffed and puffed and got nowhere in a tame 1-1 draw.

It looks at this early stage of the season that the knowledge of how to bury poor teams has not been learnt, but no doubt it will be a different case next Wednesday night at Walmer Road when Wroxham are in town.

A newly revamped midfield last week, with Bodie Carter breaking his leg at Felixstowe, Justin Fox serving a three-match suspension and Ian Dawson out injured, left Paul Highfield, Adam Sivell and Matt Taunton to pick up the pieces and from a Highfield corner Nathan Stone notched the only goal of a very shambolic display.

The Reserves, in a total mismatch in the newly named Suffolk Senior Reserve KO Cup, took on Hundon Reserves from Division Three of the Kershaw Cambs League, who travelled 70 miles to get stuffed 10-0. A total joke, whereas as time past they would be in the real Suffolk Senior Cup. Our A team now plays in the Junior Cup which is way above their standard. So much for progression from Suffolk FA.

The A team won 3-2 for the second week while the youth team, on the back of two 5-0 wins at Bungay and Cromer, came unstuck in the FA Youth Cup losing 5-0 themselves to the semi-professional set up at Bury that incorporates West Suffolk College and have 67 boys to pick from, including players from Lowestoft.


A frustrating draw for the Planters last Saturday against King's Lynn Reserves. Norwich United dominated the second half, but failure to take chances left them with just a point from a game they will feel they should have won.

Manager Gary Butcher made four changes from the previous Saturday's defeat at Wivenhoe, Warren Preston returning from suspension, Lee Howlett, Craig Beeden and Ben Welham, making his debut, all coming into the side at the expense of Ben Soanes, Ben Goddard, Ben Garnham and Jake Imrie.

A disappointing first half, partly due to breaks in play for various injuries, Seb Muddel having to be replaced by Craig Vincent after just half an hour. Nathan Page had the best chance of the first period, Linnets keeper Rix pushing the midfielder's shot round the post a minute before half time.

The second half started much more brightly and there were chances for Welham, Page, Keith Hetherington, Craig Roberts and Preston, the Planters' inability in front of goal nearly cost them dear just before the end as the Linnets nearly grabbed an undeserved win, Roberts clearing off the line and Shane Herbert having to make a good one-handed save low down to his right. With substitute Shaun Bammant heading wide in injury time the Planters had to settle for a point.

Today saw the Planters on the road at Kirkley & Pakefield in the FA Vase, subject to a replay they will host Dereham Town at Plantation Park on Tuesday evening, kick-off 7.45pm. The Planters are also at home next Saturday when Woodbridge Town are the visitors, kick-off 3pm.

The reserves fell to a second consecutive defeat at Great Yarmouth Reserves last Saturday despite a good performance. Finding themselves two down the young Planters side battled back well, grabbing a goal back through Louis Greening, but with a goal disallowed for offside and another good chance missed they failed to get the equaliser they deserved. There were notable performances from Jack Deeley, George Brooks, James Leyton and Joe Cook. Today the reserves started their Junior Cup campaign at Mousehold Athletic, the match switched to Heartsease School, next Saturday they travel to Downham Town Reserves.

The Under 18s progressed through to the first round of the Ridgeons Youth Cup with a comprehensive 2-0 victory over Diss Town on Tuesday evening. The young Planters got off to the best of starts when a corner was half cleared to George Brooks who hit a superb strike into the top corner from outside the box. A failure to take chances left the tie in the balance until Jack Flynn marked his debut with a good shot on the hour mark, Planters keeper Daniel Quantrill had little to do, but still made two good saves to keep the two-goal margin. The youngsters' next game is on Thursday evening when top of the table North Walsham Town are the visitors to Plantation Park, kick-off 7.45pm.

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