FA Cup 1st qualifying round
Wisbech Town 1,
THE depleted Fenmen paid the penalty of “schoolboy defending” as they crashed out of the cup at the Elgood’s Fenland Stadium on Saturday.
The hosts were somehow on level pegging after conceding two penalties in the first half and three in all. However they rarely threatened the goal of Norfolk giants Wroxham, who won at a canter against a shaky defence and goalkeeper.
Managing the team in the one-game absence of Steve Appleby, Town’s assistant boss Chris Dear – a defender himself – was unimpressed with Wisbech’s showing at the back and with their general display.
He said after the game: “It was schoolboy defending. To give goals away like we did and to give penalties away like we did, you can’t expect to win football matches.”
“We were trying to say to the lads ‘all you need is a goal’ but every time we got in a position to attack we did something stupid at the back which gave them some momentum. You can’t afford to give a side of the quality of Wroxham that much momentum.
“I have never managed before at this level but having a look at the depleted squad we had out during the week I said to Apps ‘thanks very much!’
“We had to wait until this morning on Callum Reed to find out he was no good for the bench, while Scott Johnson had a fitness test as we were desperate for experience in the back four.
“Our keeper, right-back, left-back and left-sided centre-half had an average age of about 19 between them. Reevo, Scott and Stacy Cartwright are all to come into a back four that isn’t performing at the moment.”
Although he pulled off two tremendous penalty saves it was a shaky day for Wisbech goalkeeper Ryan Rayner who fluffed his lines for two goals and was not helped by suffering an early shoulder injury when he tipped a dangerous cross away for a corner.
Dear added: “Ryan’s a good lad with a good track record and had a bad day, but they were two fantastic penalty saves nonetheless. He is a big character and we’ll put our arms around him and try and pick him up.
“I don’t think you can blame injuries, sometimes it’s easy to do that for poor performances, and today was a poor performance because the lads simply didn’t turn up.”
The opening exchanges were quiet and it took five minutes for the first corner, taken by Wroxham and easily dealt with by the Fenmen.
Now the only team unbeaten in the Ridgeons Football League Premier, Wroxham broke the deadlock with 11 minutes gone. A corner from the left by Sean Howes was not cleanly taken by Rayner and was scrambled home from one yard out by Ben Thompson.
Rayner needed almost five minutes’ treatment to a shoulder injury which did nothing for his confidence.
Wroxham were awarded a penalty on 20 minutes when Lewis Thompson was penalised for a controversial handball. The Fenmen protested it was ball to hand, however the Wisbech goalkeeper pulled off a superb save low to his right to deny ex-King’s Lynn player Damien Hilton.
However in the 25th minute Rayner tried a suicidal pass in his own box which was picked up by Ben Thompson, but Rayner redeemed himself by palming the resulting shot wide of goal.
The home team equalised ten minutes from the break with a goal out of nothing, Liam Nimmo claiming a touch on Thompson’s rifled first time right-foot shot from the edge of the box.
Wroxham were awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time after a needless challenge by Gale on Thompson when the forward was going away from goal.
This time Howes took the spot-kick and converted it off the left-hand post.
Wroxham made it 3-1 through a goalkeeper error when Rayner fumbled a centre to present Ben Thompson with easy tap-in in the 50th minute.
The away side were awarded a third penalty for a Jon Fairweather foul in the 53rd minute and Rayner pulled off his second brilliant spot-kick save low to his right from Howes.
In the 78th minute came the visitors’ fourth goal when Matthew Daniels hit a shot through a sea of legs into the bottom far corner of the net.
Seven minutes from time Wisbech were on the break and the ball was invitingly laid off to Gale on the left, but the left-back side-footed meekly into former King’s Lynn, Norwich and Scotland under 21 keeper Scott Howie’s arms.
Wisbech: Rayner, Fairweather, Gale, Ashton, Spafford, Thompson, Jones, Reid, Nimmo, Davey, Lunn. Sub used: Murphy. Attendance: 441.