Fenmen fail to make early chances count

Wisbech Town FC v St Ives in FA Vase action
Wisbech Town FC v St Ives in FA Vase action

St Ives Town 2,

Wisbech Town 2 (aet)

Wisbech Town FC v St Ives in FA Vase action

Wisbech Town FC v St Ives in FA Vase action

Wisbech really missed the chance to settle this FA Vase tie in the first 45 minutes at a very soggy Westwood Road ground on Saturday.

With two sides riding high in their leagues everyone was expecting a good contest and the players did not disappoint with an enthralling end to end game.

But it was Wisbech who carved out the better openings. In the first 25 minutes the home team rearguard found Dubi Ogbonna too hot to handle and their central defender Will Fordham was lucky to see only yellow for a crude challenge in the opening minutes.

The Wisbech striker could easily have helped himself to a hat-trick with just a bit more accuracy in front of goal.

After just two minutes he skied his shot after good work by Deakan Napier and then Ogbonna cut in from the right and forced a very good one-hand save from Niall Conroy, who had one game for Wisbech earlier in the season.

Another clear opening came when he was one on one with Conroy but had his shot blocked and then Napier then fired just wide of the upright.

But as so often in football you pay for missed chances and after Steven Reid was robbed in midfield former Fenman David Cobb hit a good cross to the far post and Karl Gibbs rose high to head home his 19th goal of the season.

The goal knocked Wisbech out of their stride although before the half finished Ogbonna had yet another effort saved.

Wisbech were back on song after the break with Napier’s high ball turned onto the crossbar by Conroy and Bacon had a free kicked pushed away.

But after 64 minutes Wisbech were level when Ogbonna was pushed in the back as he headed goalwards and Bacon slotted the ball into the bottom corner. Ogbonna was booked for celebrations with the Wisbech fans.

Four minutes later the Fenmen took the lead as Matt Lunn was put into the clear 30 yards out and slotted the ball calmly past the onrushing Conroy into the net.

Both sides continued to mount attacks and St Ives were awarded a soft penalty for handball against Neal Spafford above his head and Fordham equalised from the spot kick.

In extra time Bacon had a header blocked and Ogbonna’s follow up was hacked away too, but that was the closest it came to a goal.

The player to stand out in a very hard working Wisbech team was Neal Spafford. He headed clear a countless number of high balls, which were continually rammed down the Wisbech throats, and was immense all afternoon. But not far behind was Stacy Cartwright, who had picked up a very early yellow card.

Steve Appleby was rightly proud of his side’s resilience on the day even if they had missed enough chances to have won.

He said: “I think we were the better side. We carved out a lot more chances but were just not clinical enough in front of goal. Apart from their two goals I do not think Lea Jordan has had to make a good save.

“It was not a classic as far as good football was concerned on a soggy pitch, but it was a very good cup-tie with both sides giving it their all to snatch the win. Both sets of fans created a good atmosphere.”

Wisbech: Lea Jordan, Lewis Sturman, Scott Johnson, Neal Spafford, Stacy Cartwright, Steven Reid, Chris Bacon, Adam Millson, Dubi Ogbonna, Deakan Napier, Matt Lunn. Subs used: Rogan McGeorge, Ollie Gale. Att: 483.