Going in to this game Wroxham were full of high spirits following the 5-2 win on Tuesday at home to Walsham Le Willows, writes Harry Cottenden. The hat-trick hero of that night, Peter Wiltshire, was heading into the game playing the best football of his Yachtsmen career so far. Although the Wroxham squad were missing many key faces including skipper Tom Matthews, the Yachtsmen still looked strong for the game ahead.
The opening chance came for Saffron Walden with an early long throw. Graeme Turner got his head to the ball but his flicked chance drifted wide left of Will Viner’s goal.
With only 4 minutes on the clock, Wroxham had opened the scoring. A Harley Black pass saw Craig Bussens burst down the right side. The wing-back eased passed two defenders and got his cross into the Saffron Walden area. As the ball eluded all the players in the centre, it fell perfectly for the onrushing Robbie Sweeney. The talented number 10 executed a perfect side foot effort in passed Neil O’Sullivan and into the back of the Bloods net.
Throughout the opening 10 minutes Wroxham looked hungry for more goals with some great movement up the pitch and looked in control of the game. That said, Walden did look like they were not there to make up the numbers and a corner from the left saw a header into the side-netting when expected to do better.
After 15 minutes, Wroxham’s lead was doubled. A ball forward to the dangerous Peter Wiltshire saw the striker turn two defenders. He managed to get a shot in but saw his effort from 20 yards saved. The ball was only parried as far as the feet of Sam Bryant who dispatched his effort into an empty net to open his account for the season.
Just before the twenty-minute mark, Payton Swatman came very close to making it three. His efforts came agonisingly close with two opportunities which ended just wide of the far post. His first effort was a free kick from 25 yards and the second, a thunderous strike from 35 yards out both of which would’ve been two worthy goals.
Walden were not totally out of the game at this stage and had looked dangerous on the break. Charlie Portway had escaped his marker but his header was wide when he should have done better.
Wroxham were playing some neat and slick passing football and they came close to again adding to their score line. The physical presence of Peter Wiltshire was proving a handful for the Bloods backline. An effort from 18 yards took a last-ditch deflection and his effort skimmed just beyond the post.
Referee Peter Venables was under fire from the Wroxham support as he allowed Portway to push over the Wroxham defender. This gave him some space and he had a clear sight of Viner’s goal but the striker hit the ball high and most definitely not handsome into the woods at the Norwich end of the ground.
Just before the interval Harley Black weaved his way in and out of the Walden midfield with great composure and skill before unleashing a strike from 25 yards but was unfortunate to hit the top of the net
Wroxham FC 2 Saffron Walden 0
The second half saw the visitors come out with determination to get back into the game as quick as they could.
An early substitution saw Ben Fowkes replace Robbie Sweeney for the Yachtsmen as Joint Managers Tom Parke and Ross Potter looked to give some game time to another of their young squad.
With chances for both sides with great passing play starting it all off but both defences looked keen to keep the ball at bay of the back of their own nets it seemed it would stay at 2-0.
Fowkes took over as the tricky winger and found his way passed the Walden defenders and into the area. Unfortunately, the goalkeeper was able to get down well and kept hold of the ball before any of the incoming Yachtsmen could get to a potential rebound.
Further substitutions were made by Wroxham with Ryan Fuller replacing Harley Black and goalscorer Sam Bryant made way for a club debut of former Norwich City academy member Josh Pond. The 16-year-old signed on for the club this week and his appearance delighted the home support.
Wroxham’s back line was under pressure and it was inevitable that the clean sheet would not remain. As the clock ticked just past 88 minutes played, Will Viner had pulled off several excellent saves but unfortunately a cross from the right was headed home by the unmarked Graeme Turner. The striker had been looking lively for most of the afternoon and his header looped into the left-hand corner of the net to give the visitors hope of gaining a point.
As the game entered 6 minutes of additional time, the Wroxham defence knew they had to stand tall against the onslaught as Walden pushed forward. The final wall that they didn’t count upon was Will Viner who pulled off two remarkable saves and gain the 3 points for the Yachtsmen.
It has been a good week for Wroxham with three wins gained from three games. On Tuesday night, the club face an altogether together challenge as Stowmarket Town visit Trafford Park. This fixture was originally scheduled to be at Stowmarket but due to pitch issues has been switched to Wroxham.
Wroxham: Will Viner, Craig Bussens, Matt Cook, Joe Manning, Mark Shadrack, Adam Plumstead, Harley Black (Fuller 69), Payton Swatman, Peter Wiltshire, Robbie Sweeney (Fowkes 48), Sam Bryant (Pond 82). Subs: Ben Fowkes, Ryan Fuller, Ross Gilfedder, Josh Pond.
Goals: Sweeney, 4. Bryant, 15.
Yellow card: Viner.
Saffron Walden Town: Neil O’Sullivan, Spike Bell, Ronnie Ledwith, Jake Noble, Julian Simon Parson, James Ferguson, Connor Molloy, Oliver Emsden, Graeme Turner, Charlie Portway, Thomas Lakin. Subs: Joseph Murphy, Mason Naylor, Flynn Tarman, Stuart Wardley.
Goal: Turner, 88.
Yellow cards: Ferguson, Portway.