New seasons bring fresh starts and Wroxham are a team that need one, writes Darren Wiseman. After the long slog of last season, a fresh team took to the Trafford Park pitch to try and turn the biggest of proverbial corners. Tom Parke and Ross Potter turned out a young looking side with many fresh faces with a few old faces sprinkled amongst them.
Opening day draw as it ends goalless against Histon
The new look Yachtsmen lined up with Will Viner in goal, a back four of Shaun Taylor, Sam Bryant, Mark Shadrack and Michael Sommerfield. In midfield captain Tom Matthews, Adam Smith, Joe Manning, Robbie Sweeney and Ben Fowkes with Pete Wiltshire up front.
Histon kicked off defending the Kenny Cooke stand. Straight away Wroxham’s youngsters showed they were not going to be bullied in this new league. Wiltshire chased down a bouncing ball but clattered into Adrian Duffy in the Histon goal. The Stutes defenders were not happy and their loud cries convinced referee Ady Sannerude to book Wiltshire for his trouble.
The first 10 minutes gave some clues for the season ahead. The Yachtsmen management were keen to let the ball do the work, and their side passed the ball well on the lush albeit sandy in places surface. No clear chances but the new team seemed like on top.
On 11 minutes Histon gave Wroxham a warning. They managed to get behnd the home defence and the ball was pulled back to Joe Sutton, but he could only shoot over from range.
On 16 minutes the Yachtsmen added purpose to their passing with Adam Smith, who had been at the centre of all things good coming from the home team. He set Ben Fowkes on his way but his attempted cross from the right was blocked out for a corner. The cross found Michael Sommerfield, but his header was easily gathered by Duffy.
On 18 minutes Wroxham’s strong spell continued. The lively Robbie Sweeney cut in from the left but his effort went just over the bar from the edge of the box.
On 22 minutes Wiltshire challenged the keeper again. This time, he not only kept the challenge clean, but he also won the ball and it looped back to the on-rushing Fowkes. He awkwardly managed to volley towards goal, but it looped over and out.
The first quarter was very competitive and entertaining with good play from both sides.
On 26 minutes, Histon got more into the game. A through-ball found former Norwich City player Pat Bexfield rushing into the box in the right channel, but his tame shot was straight at Will Viner between the sticks.
Shortly after this there was a second booking for the home side in what was, and remained, a very clean contest. Ben Fowkes picked up a booking for dissent following a clash in midfield.
On 35 minutes Wroxham stretched the Histon keeper. A cross in from a free kick came out to Adam Smith who fired in from 30 yards out but Duffy was able to deflect the ball away to keep the game goalless. Smith would chance his arm from range again 3 minutes later. This time however his shot was deflected away for a corner.
The last action of the half saw Histon pump in a free kick for Evan Key to head just over from only 4 yards out. A definite let-off for Wroxham was followed by the half-time whistle.
An attendance 178 was a welcome start to the season with a brisk trade at the bar at half time. Wroxham got the second half underway, but they were to be put under the cosh for much of the half. Histon created a chance early with Viner saving well from an off-side George Darling. Histon were pressing for 5 or so minutes with the Yachtsmen defending resolutely and Viner being a calming influence around his area. A refreshing improvement on last term!
On 58 minutes Robbie Sweeney produced the moment of the match for Wroxham. Latching onto the ball at halfway he drove past Histon defenders to run the length of the half, bursting through to deliver a low cross. The on-rushing Ben Fowkes was just beaten to the ball, but it was great effort all round. Wroxham continued to attack and on 61 minutes, a low Fowkes shot from distance forced another save from Duffy.
On 71 minutes Histon created a half chance. Rolph cut in past Sommerfield but his weak shot was straight at the well placed Viner.
Shaun Taylor had played well for the Yachtsmen all night, but he nearly capped it all when he broke into the Histon box on 76 minutes. Following some neat football he worked the opening and Taylor surged into the box but his cross shot was just high and wide of the target.
As the match was draw to an end, old demons almost came back to haunt the home faithful. After a committed display Mark Shadrack gave away foul 30 yards out from goal in a central position. Last season these chances sailed in to break hearts, but this time George Darling could only shoot straight at Will Viner.
Wroxham worked Taylor in at the end for one last chance. He delivered a great ball in, but Duffy put the ball behind with the resulting corner not coming to anything.
So lots to be positive about at the end of the first match! The slog of the season begins, but the shoots of recovery are sprouting, they now need nurturing!!
Thoughts now turn to Saturday and the chance to progress in the Emirates FA Cup. A trip to Essex League side Southend Manor are the opposition.
Wroxham: Viner, Taylor, Bryant, Shadrack, Sommerfield, Matthews, Smith, Manning (Cook), Wiltshire (Gilfedder), Sweeney (Black), Fowkes. Subs: Cook, Black, Gilfedder, Meecham, Swatman.
Bookings: Wiltshire (Foul), Fowkes (Dissent)
Histon: Duffy, Wright, Lawton, Smith, York, Key, Darling, Sutton, Rolph, Bexfield, Gould.
Photos below courtesy of Dawn Matthews.