Positives in defeat for North Walsham FC
North Walsham 1 Dersingham away 2
North Walsham went in to this game off the back of a 2-0 win over Hempnall and while they still lost 2-1 to Dersingham away, can take much comfort in an incredible team performance under the stewardship of Cruickshank and Smith.
Town got off to a bright start and after five minutes had the first shot in the match from Crosby after a good interchange from Chaz Skipper, Clarke and Davies. Walsham continued to dominate the opening exchanges and belie their league position and on 7 minutes Crosby floated a free kick across for Reynolds to head on but Danny Skipper was adjudged to have fouled the goalkeeper.
Within 5 minutes Broom got free and hit a shot right footed straight at the goalkeeper, but it was Dersingham who found the net first. Against the run of play a home player crossed from the left, Murphy attempted to punch clear, but with the striker applying pressure the home side scored from close range.
Walsham responded well and on 27 minutes another good build up from Clarke, Davies and C Skipper led to a cross which Broom got on the end of, but his shot blocked for a corner. The resulting kick was passed back to Crosby who found Broom again, but his shot was blocked and trickled through to the grateful keeper.
On the half hour mark it was 2-0 to the home side. Town were unable to clear the ball within their own area and the striker pounced on the opportunity to score from 12 yards.
With a never say die attitude, again the away side hit back and soon after conceding they were awarded a free kick for a handball by the keeper outside his area which Wheeler fired over the top. Another Walsham free kick soon followed and Crosby's in swinger caused panic in the Dersingham defence, but a swift counter attack was only cut short thanks to a sublimely timed tackle from Clarke which prevented a chance on goal.
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Town continued to dominate possession and the set pieces until half time. Davies hit a free kick, but too straight, and found its way through to the keeper; Robertson then burst through on the left wing to win a corner, which led to another shot from Broom, who fired over. Despite the pressure, North Walsham went in at the break undeservedly two nil down.
At half time the away side made a substitution with Scannell coming on for Clarke at right back and with a quiet opening 10 minutes of the second half, bar a great tackle in the area by Davis, Broom made way for Gauntlett. This led to another spell of Town possession with two corner kicks and some flowing passing, although on one occasion an interception led to a ball over the top and a header wide for the home side. Alas, the possession finally paid dividends. Gauntlett won the ball in midfield, passed sideways to Wheeler who slid the ball through accurately to Chaz Skipper, who kept his cool, and with the a defender pulling him back and the keeper advancing, slotted it past him to deservedly reduce the arrears.
Despite the goal, the next 5 minutes belonged to the home side who had a shot from close range saved by Murphy, then won a corner kick after having a penalty appeal turned down and on one occasion got in behind but volleyed over. Back came Walsham with a shot fired over by Gauntlett after good work by Scannell on the right, before the tiring D Skipper was replaced by Edwards. Then came a moment of controversy. A tussle between C Skipper and his marker led to them both being on the floor where the home player appeared to punch Skipper in the face. The game was stopped for the ref to consult with his assistant and for Skipper to receive treatment for a bloody nose and change his shirt. The game restarted with Skipper off the pitch and no action by the referee who felt he saw something out of the corner of his eye but couldn't be 100% sure.
Within minutes, with Dersingham seemingly losing their discipline against a wound up Walsham, they received a yellow card when Scannell was on the end of a high and dangerous tackle. Town pressed and had a corner taken by Davies, but was put over by the away side. With time running out, Crosby put in another free kick which was cleared and in stoppage time Wheeler struck the ball goalwards only for the keeper to tip over with the away bench up on their feet ready to celebrate.
There was still time for Walsham to hit the cross bar from a cross from the left but it fell the wrong side for a goal kick and Dersingham survived to finish as 2-1 winners. Tremendous credit should be given to all 14 players with the effort and ability shown, as well as the discipline in the face of provocation. Next week its St Andrews at home, a team 7 points and 4 places above Town.
North Walsham Reserves 1 Hoveton Wherrymen 4
The first game of the New Year saw Walsham entertain a strong Hoveton side, including several ex-Walsham 1st team players and the strength showed with the away side winning 4-1 in an entertaining game
Town welcomed back Grice and M Johnson from injury and again included the experience of Lawrence to add fight in their midfield. Both sides started at a fast pace but it was Walsham who played the better football, with Hoveton playing the long-ball to their two strikers and using their pace.
Despite controlling the play and being in the ascendency, Town were caught on the break by the Hoveton strikers who took the lead on 15 minutes. This became the pattern of play for the 1st half, with the home side creating half-chances, a header just over from Payne, and shots wide from both A Johnson and Kerry. However, Walsham were twice more caught on the counter attack to find themselves 3-0 down at half-time, despite two great saves from Everett in the home goal, with the striker clean through.
Following an upbeat half-time team talk, Walsham came out for the 2nd half committed, and took control of the game from the kick-off, pressing Hoveton and creating chances, with Lawrence firing a shot just over. This increased pressure saw Town pull a goal back when Kerry volleyed in to make it 3-1, and then see a second shot minutes later saved.
However, again Walsham were caught on the counter-attack and conceded a 4th goal. Town did not let their heads drop and continued to pressurise and create chances. M Johnson, Ellis and Wesby were introduced as the game became stretched and M Johnson went through 1 on 1 only to see his shot saved, Wesby then had a shot go just wide, before crossing for Kerry, only to see his effort cleared.
The boys fought for every ball, tackle and header and this commitment saw Ward and Ellis both booked but it was to no avail as Hoveton ran out 4-1 winners.
Manager Johnson commented, 'this was a great team effort right to the final whistle, with all the boys disappointed not to have got something out of the game. There were some good individual performances from Drakey and Josh at the back, Rhino in goal, AJ, Leigh and Connor worked their socks off up top, but the team's man of the match went to Lawro, for a commanding game.' Asked about the next fixture against unbeaten Cromer Reserves Johnson said, 'well, next week the boys have an easy away game to Cromer Reserves!! We are all looking forward to it!'
Windmill 3-0 North Walsham Sunday
North Walsham Town Sunday paid a visit to Beaconsfield Park, Gt Yarmouth to face Windmill FC in the last eight of the Norfolk Sunday Senior Cup and, despite a valiant performance, saw their hopes of a visit to Carrow Road dashed in a 3-0 defeat.
Despite missing Marsh and Dunlop being unavailable due to work commitments, the squad had no injuries and a strong side took to the field.
The start of the game was delayed due to the non-appearance of the appointed referee, whose navigational skills failed him as he attended the wrong ground. Another qualified official was on hand, however, to take the whistle.
The signs for Town were ominous as Windmill's first attack within the opening 30 seconds caused real concern in the Town backline. From this moment though, Walsham took complete control of the game as they attacked with pace and verve and created a number of chances. Davison and Scannell's appetite for the game was apparent as they set the tone with some crunching tackles and decent distribution. Miller's deep free kick nearly caught out keeper Molloy and he was forced to backpedal and tip over, before Hinton raced clear but scuffed his shot under pressure. Hinton then turned provider, but McGilway could only poke the low cross agonisingly wide. Hinton then raced clear again, onto Wilton's through-ball, but Molloy made a great save to thwart the Walsham winger. Davison and Wilton also went close.
At the other end, a couple of crosses and corners set alarm bells ringing but Town held firm. Then, on 33mins, a cross-field ball caught out The Angels and McKenna was on hand to evade Robertson's challenge and fire past Dyke. This setback did not deter Town and they continued to look dangerous. Skipper looked to have been impeded as he broke into the box, but he stayed on his feet and the chance was extinguished by a covering defender.
The half time whistle brought an enterprising display to an end and on another day, the home side couldn't have complained if they had been cast adrift. Instead, they held a slender advantage.
The second half saw the home side adapt their tactics to thwart Town's attacking threat and this worked as Walsham struggled to get back into their groove. Despite this, the home side were still being restricted to long range efforts.
The game was still evenly balanced and tackles were flying in everywhere as both teams did everything in their power to progress. Then, as the game entered the final quarter, The Angels were hit by a sucker punch. A deep corner saw Tindall beaten at the far post and a home striker was on hand to divert the bouncing ball into the corner of the net.
Minutes later, Town's hopes were deflated further when another set-piece saw Pillar rise above Turner and fire a header into the roof of the net.
Walsham then introduced Cini, Davis and Payne in an attempt to salvage something from the game, but with an eagle-eyed home linesman being very quick on the draw with his flag, Town were unable to find a breakthrough and ultimately went out of this year's competition.
Despite the defeat, this was a brave effort in a hostile environment and the squad can be proud of the run they have embarked on this season. They now need to dust themselves off, improve their league position and, with a couple of additions, look at improving on this season's cup exploits.