Wroxham close in on Wembley
Paddy Davitt Whitehawk 0, Wroxham 2: Wembley can wait was David Batch's warning yesterday after Wroxham's FA Vase semi final, first leg heroics at Whitehawk.
Whitehawk 0, Wroxham 2
Wembley can wait was David Batch's warning yesterday after Wroxham's FA Vase semi final, first leg heroics at Whitehawk.
Batch insists no-one inside Trafford Park is looking beyond this Easter weekend's second leg tie after Paul Cook and Andy Eastaugh put the Yachtsmen in total command on the south coast.
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Hawks' player/assistant manager Darren Freeman was also red carded in stoppage time for an apparent elbow on Eastaugh and misses the Norfolk return.
Batch is now demanding his troops complete the job to set up a memorable Wembley date in May against either holders Whitley Bay or Barwell who drew 3-3 in their first leg.
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“Worrying about Wembley hasn't been a problem so far within the club during this run,” he said. “The boys were sat in the changing rooms afterwards and they were not going mad because they know they've only done half a job. They're not even high fiving each other - after a league game they normally congratulate themselves but I can honestly say there was less joyous reaction in there compared to when we beat Haverhill 1-0 in the league last week.
“Why? Because they know where we are is just half way through. The first goal if there is one next week is important. But if we score, it's not game over, and if they score it's certainly not game over. We realise we have a job to do and we will go to win. If we nick a goal or two then brilliant because if you start to approach it in any other manner then you are asking for trouble.”
The highly-fancied Sussex Football League Division One leaders were frustrated by a resolute Wroxham.
“I'm pleased because we were professional about what we did,” said Batch. “And that must continue. All the players know and we know that the tie is not finished. We'll just go away and plan and prepare again but of course I would have taken that before the game - definitely.
“In the first five minutes we started on the front foot and we got in behind them on a couple of occasions but I felt we faded away a little bit and the game got stretched .We probably didn't keep the ball as well or as long as we could do. We made a couple of tweaks and second half was a lot better. We defended properly, put the ball in the right areas and made it hard for them. It was a shame Cooky missed that chance that he created himself on the turn when he just lost his footing three or four yards out because that would have put a real good gloss on it.”
Batch also believes the absence of Hawks' influential striker Freeman could have a major impact on the Trafford Park return.
“It was a definite red card and he will be disappointed that it has happened especially in the last minute or so,” said Batch. “He has lost his head but that justifies how well Easto played. He was there to sweep up in front of the defence because we know Freeman is good, he is big and strong and holds it up well. We knew if we allowed the ball to go into them he would give our centre halves a hard time but that didn't happen and credit goes to Easto for doing his job.”
Fresh injury blows for wide left pair Matty Daniels and Gary Gilmore also took some of the shine off the win.
Teenager Daniels passed a fitness test on a groin injury but lasted half an hour before Gilmore himself was withdrawn in the closing stages with a recurrence of a hamstring problem.
“Matty hadn't played since the Needham game so I'm disappointed for him,” said Batch. “We also had Gary at the moment who is suffering with his hamstrings which are really tight. We felt Matty looked slightly fitter so we went with him from the start and I felt he could get a lot of joy against his man on the half turn. Gary actually played well when he came on but was getting a little stiff towards the last five minutes and we needed to stay nice and solid.”
Steve Spriggs miscued tamely at Lloyd Anderson in the best chance of a cagey first half for the visitors.
Cook broke the deadlock with a glancing close range header just two minutes into the restart before Eastaugh doubled the lead - following up his initial burst to clinically sidefoot home from 12 yards.
Scott Howie went full length to claw away Wes Tate's piledriver then saw Darren Budd's free kick crack the bar.
Cook was inches from his second when a first time lob from the edge of the box dropped wide before slipping on the turn inside the six yard box.
Wroxham comfortably repelled belated late pressure from the hosts who were reduced to ten men in stoppage time when Freeman poleaxed Eastaugh.
Whitehawk: Anderson, Lovett, Fish, Budd (Crabb 84), Head (Whiteman 71), Harris, Kirkwood, Davis, Freeman, Tate, Holmes (Hughes 62). Subs (not used): Taylor, Townsend.
Sending off: Freeman
Wroxham: Howie, Pauling, Howes, Challen, McNeil, Eastaugh, Spriggs, Lemmon, Cook, White, Daniels (Gilmore 30, (Self 87)). Subs (not used): Carus, Paynter, Durrant.
Bookings: Challen, Cook
Goals: Cook (47), Eastaugh (62)
Ref: DS McDermid