North Walsham FC well beaten by high-flyers
North Walsham 1 Blofield 6
North Walsham, playing for the first time in four weeks, were beaten comfortably by title contenders Blofield to remain second from bottom of the Anglian Combination Premier Division.
Within two minutes Walsham were on the back foot with Reynolds making a great tackle in the six yard box. On six minutes Blofield created their first chance with a break down the left ending in a cross that the striker scooped over.
On the quarter hour mark a free kick for Blofield was flicked over for a corner but with 18 minutes on the clock the pressure finally told. Davies lost possession on half way when it appeared he was fouled. The attack came down the right flank and an a cross was headed in from close range with no defender in sight.
The game settled down and finally on the half hour mark Town had a meaningful attack of their own with Clarke crossing from the right but it was claimed by the keeper with Davies closing in. Then Davies and Fitzgerald showed good movement and guile, combining well together, but neither could get a clean strike at goal.
North Walsham then won a free kick when Kerry, who had been kept quiet so far, was clattered in the back of the head by a defender's elbow, although no malice was intended. The resulting free-kick was struck well by Reynolds but it flew just over. Within a minute Walsham had another, deeper, free kick, but Skipper's delivery was too straight and cleared too easily.
Closing in on half-time Town started to press and gather some momentum and purpose. Crosby and Kerry broke down the right and the resulting cross from Kerry was pushed wide by the keeper for a corner. The corner was cleared but Davies picked the ball up and crossed from the left for Fitzgerald to attempt an ambitious overhead kick which went wide of the target. That should have been that for half time, only for the official to add two minutes for stoppages, and Blofield duly countered swiftly and scored a tap in from six yards to make it 2–0 at the break.
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The second half started in a lively fashion with Fitzgerald shooting just wide within two minutes and a minute later the away side had a half chance. Town were still looking brighter and had a free kick after a foul on Fitzgerald, which amounted to nothing and Joy then crossed only for the ball to find its way over the goal line with Fitzgerald unable to reach it.
Unfortunately, as so often has been the case this season, Town in the ascendancy often means one thing – conceding. On the 55th minute mark, a somewhat harsh handball was given against Skipper. The free-kick was taken short, and was worked to the by-line and crossed in only for Murphy to be beaten, somehow, from close range. It was a sucker punch and led to domination by the away side for the next 10 minutes.
Blofield had another free kick – which led to nothing – before adding a fourth goal. Town could not clear their lines and the ball was already goalbound when Meek, attempting a last ditch clearance on the line, smashed it in.
North Walsham, to their credit kept going and on 65 minutes won a corner after good work by Kerry and a shot by Johnson who had come on for Crosby. After a chance for Blofield that was put wide, Town then were given a potential lifeline, when Fitzgerald was taken out by the goalkeeper when clean through and a penalty awarded. The keeper was only booked and Wheeler despatched the penalty to reduce the arrears to 4-1 on 68 minutes.
Town appeared the dominant force in the game – until a moment of madness. Fitzgerald, who had got more and more into the game, was shown a red card for an off the ball incident, with the Blofield player receiving a yellow, to reduce Town to 10 men with 15 minutes to play.
With a minute left on the clock Blofield manufactured a good move, leading to a cross from the left and a tap in from close range for 5-1. With three minutes of time added on at the end a poor pass back by Reynolds was pounced upon and punished for 6-1.
Town had a final free kick – which came to nothing and the referee called a halt to proceedings with Blofield running out 6-1 winners. The away side certainly deserved their victory but North Walsham will be extremely disappointed with decisions that didn't go their way and some poor defending and indiscipline.