Wisbech Town 3,
Wivenhoe Town 0
THE Fenmen’s assault on the Ridgeons League Premier Division title began with a comfortable if not spectacular win against a mediocre Wivenhoe at the Elgood’s Fenland Stadium on Saturday.
On the opening day of the season expectations are always high and for every manager it is such a relief when they start off with three points and a clean sheet.
Fenmen boss Steve Appleby was no exception: “It is a relief to get the season off and running with a win but I think it was a comfortable victory.
“It was the ideal start to score after only two minutes but if anything the goal knocked us back and it was 15-20 minutes before we got really playing again.
“The second half was a little flat until towards the end and I think we were taking too many touches. But overall it was a good performance and something we can build on.”
Wisbech almost scored with their first corner after just over a minute when the visitors’ keeper Adam Wilding punched the ball on to the crossbar but they made no mistake with the resultant second corner. Stacy Cartwright again put the ball in the six yard box and fellow defender Neal Spafford sidefooted the ball into the net.
In the early exchanges, Wisbech always looked the sharper and had forced six corners inside 10 minutes. But at the other end in a rare Wivenhoe break new goalkeeper Ryan Rayner had to be alert when Ben Licence raced clear of a square back four. Rayner was quickly off his line to save from close range.
Licence almost scored from a similar situation later on when Rayner charged off his line, but fortunately forced the Wivenhoe player wide and his shot was too high from a difficult angle.
After 32 minutes, defender Anthony Reeve went off when he turned his ankle and Ollie Gale came on at left midfield and scored with his first touch. Callum Reed’s shot across the face of the goal was only parried by the Wivenhoe keeper and fell to the grateful youngster.
Before the end of the half Chris Bacon, who looks a very good signing to lead the Wisbech attack, should have added a third goal but could not get enough momentum on his shot from four yards out.
After an eventful first half, the second half was tame in comparison. Wisbech did not pass the ball as sharply but always looked the team most likely to score the next goal with Rayner almost a spectator.
With less than three minutes left on the clock Wisbech finally added a third goal when Reed’s low free-kick from 30 yards out evaded everyone as Lewis Thompson jumped over it and the ball nestled in the corner of the net.
Substitute Nick Davey shot over from a good chance and Reed went wide. In the last minute it looked as though Davey had scored when the goalkeeper appeared to have juggled the ball over the line but the assistant referee did not agree.
Appleby added: “I was concerned our back four got caught square twice. The same thing happened against March and it is something we will look at. But I am pleased to make a winning start in front of a big crowd.”
Generally Wisbech were well on top. Bacon and Nimmo worked tirelessly up front while Callum Reed always found space on the right and was a threat.
The defence and goalkeeper were rarely troubled, but if there was a downside it was the middle of midfield where Steven Reid and Paul Jones worked hard but could have been a bit more influential. Perhaps that will come with more games together.
Bacon and Reeve were expected to be fit for last night’s game against Mildenhall.
Wisbech: Ryan Rayner, Neal Spafford, Stacy Cartwright, Simon Ashton, Anthony Reeve, Callum Reed, Paul Jones, Steven Reid, Chris Bacon, Liam Nimmo, Scott Johnson. Subs used: Ollie Gale, Lewis Thompson, Nick Davey.