Wisbech ease to derby win against Soham despite wonder show from young keeper
Wisbech Town 3, Soham Town Rangers 0
Pitching In Northern Premier League Midland Division
For the first league match this season the Fenmen totally dominated the opposition as they comfortably beat the Greens in this Cambridgeshire derby before their best home attendance of the campaign.
From start to finish Wisbech were on top against a side sitting two places below them and bottom of the table. Young Soham keeper Finlay Iron made eight wonderful saves and the home side saw three shots cleared off the line as they lay siege to the visiting goal from the start.
With manager Brett Whaley quitting on Thursday, it was a dream start for interim manager Chris Lenton and his assistant Arran Duke, achieving Wisbech's best win since a 3-0 victory at home to Spalding United on Boxing Day 2019 and their second consecutive home win.
It was also a wonderful second home game for striker Sam Bennett, whose double made it four goals in two games for him at Fountain Fresh Park.
With central defender Luke Wilson going down with Covid, former Fenman Dean Grogan was loaned in for the game from Lakenheath and celebrated with a commanding performance alongside Jack Keeble, and also grabbed the opening goal.
King's Lynn Town youngster Joe Gascoigne made his first start and impressed for an hour with his organisation and positioning in midfield before running out of steam after a lack of game time in recent months.
Keeper Luke Pearson was commanding when called on, full backs Aaron Hart and Liam Marshall defended well and attacked with vigour, Sam Murphy was imperious and Danny Draper committed and hard-working in midfield.
Up front, Dylan Edge and Brody Warren worked their socks off and Bennett was a constant menace to his former team mates and showed great composure when it mattered.
The Fenmen attacked from the start against a poor Soham team and went close to taking the lead after five minutes when an Edge effort was hacked off the line. Four minutes later, the striker fired a shot across the box which was deflected and again cleared off the line. He then ran through and zipped an effort inches past the post.
After 17 minutes, former Cambridge United youth keeper Iron made the first of several great saves, rushing out to block a fierce Edge effort. Four minutes later and Bennett fired agonizingly wide, before a fantastic save by Iron denied the former Soham striker, Gascoigne placing the rebound past the post.
With 28 minutes gone, Warren went on a mazy run before unleashing a pile driver, athletically tipped over by the inspired Iron. Two minutes later and right back Hart was denied by yet another wonderful Iron save.
After 33 minutes, Keeble ran into the box late after a Draper corner but headed just wide, before Iron continued his unbelievable form with two great saves to deny Bennett. However, a goal was inevitable and Grogan scored it, getting on the end of a cross to score with a towering header.
Before the break Iron made another world class stop to deny Bennett, and Wisbech left the pitch wondering why they hadn't already put the match beyond the Greens.
Harsh words were obviously said in the visiting dressing room at half time and Soham looked better after the break, big striker and player manager Rob Mason replacing himself with the pacey Ben Seymour-Shove.
But after a promising initial spell for Soham, the rain lashed horizontally across the pitch as Wisbech regained control. Bennett was denied again on the hour when a snap shot was deflected just over the bar, and Grogan's bullet header from a 73rd minute Draper corner saw Iron produce another amazing save.
Bennett finally got the goal his hard work deserved on 77 minutes when he ran on to a through ball and slotted his effort past Iron from an angle. Five minutes later and sub Layton Maddison went on a great run before seeing his effort beat Iron but not a defender on the line.
But seconds later and Bennett had his second and Wisbech's third, nodding home from close range after sub Toby Allen headed across the box.
This was an impressive Wisbech performance and a great start for Lenton and Duke, but also against the worst opposition to visit Fountain Fresh Park this season.
The bottom two in this division are starting to look like they will stay there and the Fenmen are currently fighting with Daventry Town and Sutton Coldfield to avoid finishing in the 18th position they currently occupy and a play-off game at the end of the season against a high-flying Step 5 side.
Wisbech Town (4-3-3, r-1): Pearson; Hart, Grogan, Keeble, Marshall; Murphy, Gascoigne (Maddison 58 mins), Draper; Edge (Allen 66), Bennett, Warren (Lukyamuzi 85). Subs (not used): Mcleish, Taylor.
Soham Town Rangers: Iron, Agemoh-Davies, Kelly, Atcha, Mattless, Watson, Conway, Connor (Ward 74 mins), Mason (Seymour-Shove 45), Hall, Rogers. Subs (not used): Rhaman, McSkelly, Groves.
Bookings: Gascoigne, Marshall (Wisbech), Connor (Soham) – all fouls.
Star man: You cannot look beyond Sam Bennett today. He terrorized the opposition defence, took his goals well and, but for an inspired goalkeeping performance, would have had a hat-trick.