Vital away win for Angels

Acle United 1, North Walsham 2After the enforced six-week winter break the Angels produced a resolute display at Bridewell Lane to extend their lead in the Anglian Combination championship race.

Acle United 1, North Walsham 2

After the enforced six-week winter break the Angels produced a resolute display at Bridewell Lane to extend their lead in the Anglian Combination championship race.

Their credentials will be severely tested tomorrow (Friday) when they play host to Blofield United (7:30pm kick-off, Greens Road).

United are third, nine points behind the Angels but with four games in hand.

At Acle, North Walsham were missing Munday, Palmer, Fitzgerald and Clarke for varying reasons, but welcomed back Wheeler and Clifton. Goalkeeper Fisk, Davison and Patterson were drafted in to complete the squad.

The game began at a frenetic pace on a tight pitch and Acle opened the scoring. The ball was switched left, Foreman strode forward and his ferocious 25-yard strike was too hot for Fisk to handle as it fizzed into the net.

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Walsham composed themselves and began to bombard the home penalty area with long throws and corners, and their persistence finally paid off on 20 minutes.

Hanby found himself in an unfamiliar left wing position but produced a dangerous cross that saw Dale Wilton leap to arrow home a perfect header.

Soon after, Town suffered a setback when skipper Piper was forced off due to a recurrence of an old injury and was replaced by Davison. However, the game continued at an unbelievable pace considering the lack of football for both sides with defences having to be on their mettle.

Acle were probing the Town box with set pieces, whilst Walsham were looking dangerous on the break with the pace of Hinton and Wilton and the strength and power of Clifton. Fisk made a fine save to prevent Foreman adding to his tally, whilst Davison was wasteful when well positioned for the Angels. A full-blooded half ended with honours even.

The second half began with Acle on top but the Town backline, marshalled by Lown and Muir, stayed strong.

Gradually, the Angels' fitness began to tell as they looked the more dangerous side as the game entered the final quarter.

They made a second change with Patterson replacing Grand and the Town striker immediately looked a threat with his direct and forceful running.

With only minutes remaining, the game erupted. Wilton linked up with Hinton, who jinked into the box and his run was adjudged to have been impeded, the referee pointing to the spot.

Tempers threatened to boil over but sensibility was restored and Paul Wheeler coolly dispatched the spot-kick, sending the keeper the wrong way.

There was a chance for Town to add a very late third when Hinton broke clear of the home defence but his first effort was blocked by the home keeper, before the same player fired the rebound wide when it looked easier to score.

It was an important win for the Angels. The battling qualities and resilience were again there for all to see and Clifton and Wheeler were particularly impressive with their

all-action displays.

The Reserves' run in the Knockout Cup came to an end at the hands of a strong Bungay Reserves side, who belied their

mid-table position in a lower league to emerge 2-1 victors.

The A team were under the caretaker tutelage of Joshua Withers, but his tactical nous wasn't enough to save them from a 4-1 defeat to Mundesley.