Fenmen far from Racing certainty in narrow win

Racing Club (yellow) at home to Wisbech Town in the second round of the FA Vase. First half action:'Warwick 'keeper Ash Malholta makes a great save.
Racing Club (yellow) at home to Wisbech Town in the second round of the FA Vase. First half action:'Warwick 'keeper Ash Malholta makes a great save.

Racing Club Warwick 0,

Wisbech Town 1

A ninth successive win for the Fenmen but they were made to work hard to win this FA Vase tie on Saturday and for parts of the second half looked second best.

But in cup football it is not the performance that counts but the result and Wisbech are through to the last 64.

Steve Appleby moved Neal Spafford to replace the absent Steven Reid in midfield and Jon Fairweather came in at right back.

Wisbech adapted quickly to the small pitch and were soon putting pressure on the home defence with a string of corners and their keeper was relieved to tip a Matt Lunn cross over his bar after a good run in the box. Then he punched away Callum Reed’s corner from near his line.

Midway through the half Racing defender Michael Crawford hit a tremendous free kick from 30 yards which saw Ryan Rayner just manage to palm away for a corner.

But Wisbech then swept into the lead after 28 minutes when Scott Johnson’s long free kick was headed on by Chris Bacon and then Liam Nimmo after a neat push on a defender got clear on the left and crossed to the far post for Reed to volley the ball into the roof of the net.

The home bench appealed for a foul and it was difficult not to sympathise, but the referee had obviously not spotted the infringement.

Wisbech continued to dominate and Bacon forced yet another good save from the keeper from a free kick before two home players were booked for late challenges in quick succession.

Two minutes before the break Wisbech produced another good piece of football to open the home defence with Bacon squaring the ball for Reed to fire a good shot from 18 yards which produced an equally good save from the keeper.

Wisbech had looked the superior side for the first 45 minutes and deserved their lead but the home side did show with their pace that they were still very much in the game.

And so it proved at the start of the second half as Wisbech lost their composure and two substitutions gave the home side a new impetus.

They were soon putting the Wisbech goal under pressure and Rayner had to be alert to get down low to block a Luke Fuller shot from 25 yards out and fortunately the rebound was sent wide.

Then Junior Brown headed wide from a free kick in front of goal and Crawford blazed a free kick over the bar.

Wisbech were now struggling to keep the ball but fortunately at the heart of the Wisbech defence Stacy Cartwright and Anthony Reeve were in good form to halt the goal threat.

It was only in the last 18 minutes that Wisbech started to threaten again when Bacon sprang Nimmo clear only for the keeper to get his finger tips to the ball and turn it wide of the post.

By now Wisbech had all three subs on and Nick Davey looked lively forcing one good save before a neat header gave Lunn the best chance of the game but his shot squirmed off his boot to fall well wide of the target, but fortunately the home threat had now ebbed away.

Appleby commented: “Although it was only one goal I did feel confident we would win. We were the superior side in the first half but had just the one goal to show.

“They have changed things for the second half and we have become too sloppy and allowed them to get on top. But we defended well and towards the end of the game we finished the stronger. It was not a great performance but we have come here and done a job and got the right outcome.

“The Wisbech fans, who equalled the home support, were fantastic and really made it a home game for us. So I would like to thank them.”

Wisbech: Ryan Rayner, Jon Fairweather, Scott Johnson, Anthony Reeve, Stacy Cartwright, Callum Reed (Ollie Gale), Lewis Thompson (Sam Murphy), Neal Spafford, Chris Bacon (Nick Davey), Liam Nimmo, Matt Lunn.