Wisbech Town 2, St Ives 1
Steve Appleby celebrated his 1,000th day in charge of Wisbech Town by booking a place in the FA Vase third round at the Fenland Stadium last night.
But St Ives are adamant a second half shot had crossed the line when Neal Spafford cleared which would have made it 2-2.
Appleby said: “I could not see clearly from where I was but it did not look blatantly over the line. If it was, well it is about time we had a decision go our way for a change.
“Hand on heart we were better side on Saturday and absolutely should have killed the game, but tonight I have to give St Ives credit because they were the better side.
“We got our noses in front deservedly so, but we then had a spell for 15 minutes then where Lea Jordan has made a couple of cracking saves. Then we got our second goal and looked comfortable
“Their goal on the stroke of half-time has given them the impetus for the second half and it was a bit of an onslaught then.
“The most pleasing factor was that although we are a very good footballing side I sometimes question our heart, commitment and compassion to show the ugly side of the game. But that has come out tonight. We have rolled up our sleeves, we have had players chucking themselves at balls and clearing off the line and it is things like that, that win you games.
“At times we played and should have blatantly hurt them if we had used our heads but we didn’t.”
Wisbech had started the game brightly and Dubi Ogbonna had a volley from outside the area deflected on to a post and palmed away by Niall Conroy for a corner.
They took the lead when Deakan Napier whipped in the corner but it was played back to him and his low shot was deflected past Conroy at the near post after 11 minutes. His first goal for Wisbech.
But the visitors then enjoyed a good spell and the Wisbech goal had a charmed life. First Fordham hit a 30-yard free kick which Lea Jordan did well to keep out and then David Cobb and Fordham both hit the woodwork.
But after 39 minutes Wisbech made it 2-0 when Steven Reid, a much better performer than Saturday, found Ogbonna, and he showed he was not unnerved by St Ives’ seven-day approach 24 hours before the game by firing off a low shot that took a slight deflection to beat Conroy at the near post.
It did look good for Wisbech then, but they looked to take their eye off the ball as the half closed and David Cobb, outstanding again for the visitors, hit a half volley from just outside the area to find the far corner of the net to make it 2-1.
That was a real blow for Wisbech so close to the break and certainly gave the visitors a lifeline.
St Ives certainly had the better of the second half and the Wisbech goal soon came under heavy pressure from aerial bombardment with Paul Cousins and Spafford outstanding.
Karl Gibbs headed against the crossbar and when the ball dropped Dan Newman looked to have have scored an equaliser but Spafford made a last ditch clearance.
St Ives claimed the ball was over the line, but the linesman thankfully for Wisbech disagreed.
Then Gibbs got his head to another cross as Jordan came out, but the ball went past a post and in a quick break Wisbech substitute Rogan McGeorge had a shot well saved by Conroy.
The final whistle, coming after five minutes added on, came as great relief to the Fenland faithful among the 446 crowd
Next up for the Fenmen will be Bradford side Thackley AFC, who beat Bootle 3-1 last night, away on December 8. But before then Wisbech face two tough league games at Mildenhall on Saturday and then home to Dereham. the following week.
“I would be happy to come away with four points from those two games,” admitted Appleby.
Wisbech: Lea Jordan, Neal Spafford, Paul Cousins, Stacy Cartwright, Steven Reid, Chris Bacon, Adam Millson, Dubi Ogbonna, Deakan Napier, Matt Lunn. Subs used: Ollie Gale, Jon Fairweather, Rogan McGeorge.