Daenerys Targaryen would have been blown away by the performance of the Yachtsmen today as Wroxham completely dominated against a Wivenhoe side that were in the Thurlow Nunn Premier by virtue of a reprieve last season. The Mother of Dragons’ side were playing only their first game of the season and their rustiness was evident to the crowd of 77.
Wroxham attacked at will and ran out 4-0 winners where they could have had double figures with even more accuracy and Ben Gallifant in the home side goal making a number of saves.
Wivenhoe kicked off the game but Wroxham were soon on the front foot. In the second minute Robbie Sweeney was able to attack down the right side but the Dragons’ defender was able to close him down as the youngster looked dangerous. Something that was going to be a pattern of the afternoon.
Wivenhoe’s first opportunity of the game came from a free kick but Will Viner was able to take the ball easily and the danger was gone.
Ross Gilfedder was causing his marker problems as he was able to control the ball on the edge of the Dragons area. This led to a dangerous free-kick to the right of the area. A low ball across to Gilfedder looked like being the first goal of the afternoon but the forward’s shot was deflected out for a corner.
Again, Sweeney was the instigator of the next attacking move for the Yachtsmen as he played in Harley Black. The former Norwich City Academy player struck the ball powerfully but it was deflected wide for a corner. A minute later a carbon copy of this move led to the opening goal. On this occasion, Black was able to sidefoot the ball into the net.
The goal brought more confidence to Wroxham who were playing some lovely passing football. At the back Adam Plumstead had put his red card in midweek to the back of his mind as he was dominant in the air and was playing passes like a midfield maestro.
Wroxham should have made it 2-0 in the 18th minute. Ross Gilfedder dispossessed the Dragons defender and advanced towards goal. Beating the goalkeeper in a 1v1 situation, unfortunately, he was unable to get full power behind the ball and a defender was able to get back to cover and block the shot.
On the opposite wing to Sweeney, Ben Fowkes was using all his trickery and beat 3 defenders before getting his cross into Gilfedder who’s shot was deflected wide on this occasion.
Further attempts at goal by Harley Black from 30yds and Ben Fowkes went begging as the visitors were chasing their second goal.
Gilfedder was again next to get an attempt at goal. He drove clear from the defender towards goal and hit a rising shot which the Wivenhoe keeper pushed out for a corner.
Craig Bussens was using his pace and running at the home side defence. His cross to Robbie Sweeney was just too high and he was unable to get his head behind the ball as it drifted just wide.
The second half was only 2 minutes old when the next opportunity to score for the Yachtsmen arose. A corner from the right was played into the area but Adam Plumstead was already on the floor following a push and the referee pointed to the spot. Harley Black placed the ball but his well-struck shot was at the right height for the keeper who got down to save.
The game turned even more in Wroxham’s favour after 51 minutes. Joe McCracken had got away with a deliberate elbow in the first half on Adam Plumstead which went unpunished by the referee. He repeated his assault and on this occasion, was rightly dismissed with a straight red card. The home support was upset by the punishment but the player can count himself lucky to have lasted as long as he did.
After an hour, Payton Swatman was the next Wroxham player to try his aim at goal. Black played the ball through and Swatman’s shot was well saved by the keeper.
Despite being 1-0 and a player down, Wivenhoe’s heads did not drop and they came close to equalizing. A mis-placed pass allowed the forward to run at the Wroxham goal but a magnificent challenge by Mark Shadrack blocked the player advancing further.
Wroxham were making lots of chances as the game progressed but they finally got their second goal in the 75th minute. A long ball over the top of the home defence saw Ross Gilfedder get beyond the defence. Controlling the ball, he was able to advance and coolly slotted the ball past the keeper. A much-deserved reward following his hard work of the afternoon.
Robbie Sweeney was replaced by Sam Bryant after an excellent afternoon’s performance. Many of the opportunities created by Wroxham had come through his play. Soon after, Ben Fowkes and Adam Plumstead were also withdrawn as Shaun Taylor and Pete Wiltshire were given an opportunity to have an influence on the game. In fact, it only took 2 minutes as following a goalmouth scramble Taylor found himself in exactly the correct spot to put the ball into the back of the net and make it 3-0. There were still 12 minutes of play left and it was a case of wondering how many the visitors could score in that time as they continued to launch attack after attack.
Following his opening goal, Gilfedder was growing in confidence and was turning his marker at will. Unfortunately, he found the keeper in good form and he was making some good save to deny another goal. That was until the 89th minute when a strong headed challenge by Bussens allowed Wroxham to break again. As supporters howled for a foul, the cross came in to be met by Wiltshire. Unfortunately for the young striker, the keeper was equal and pushed away the header onto the post. An incoming Gilfedder saw his chance and was able to get his second of the afternoon to make it 4-0 to Wroxham. There was still a chance for another as Gilfedder went hunting his third. An excellent turn on the edge of the area set the striker away but his shot was blocked out for a corner and the referee brought the afternoon to a conclusion.
The performance shown by the whole team today with passing and making opportunities was a joy to watch. The chances and play in the previous three games brought little reward for the Yachtsmen but today’s game was where it all came good. There is still some improvement to come as they will look to improve their goal to shot ratio but today’s performance will go some way to giving the young side more confidence for their future games.
Words By Adrian Gowling; Pictures by Dawn Matthews (DM Photography)