A goalless draw away at 5th placed Brantham Athletic saw Wroxham retain 9th position in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division, writes Adrian Gowling.
On a sodden pitch after last week’s snow and subsequent thaw, the Yachtsmen produced a gutsy performance to grind out a draw against a side that have promotion ambitions.
With Archie Galley on Norfolk under 18s duty and Payton Swatman now departed for Stowmarket, the Yachtsmen lined up with George Macrae in goal, Tom Matthews, Matt Cook, Mark Shadrack and Joe Manning in a fluid defence. Harley Black, Craig Bussens, Adam Smith, Robbie Sweeney and Marcus Wilkinson in a midfield that supported Connor Ingram when they were able. On the bench were Jordan King, Shaun Taylor and Cruise Nyadzayo who has been playing for Lowestoft more recently.
An immense performance by George Macrae saw the man of the match leave the pitch with his goal intact. There was the occasional good fortune as Brantham hit the crossbar, with the follow-up blocked and the third opportunity sliced horribly wide in the first half. Tom Matthews also came to his rescue with a goal line header to clear after the advancing Macrae was chipped. Those moments apart, Macrae made several exceptional saves to keep his clean sheet intact.
It wasn’t all Brantham attacks as Wroxham had their chances to snatch all three points. As early as the fifth minute a shot by Adam Smith was blocked by a Brantham defender in the penalty area with appeals for a penalty being ignored by the referee. On a difficult slippery pitch, the referee made a number of calls that many would have allowed given the conditions and produced his yellow card on seven occasions. Four times for Brantham and three times for Wroxham.
After 38 minutes, there was a comical moment in the home defence as the goalkeeper and defender collided whilst Craig Bussens was lurking waiting for that to happen. Unfortunately, the ball was cleared away from him but only as far as Harley Black who’s chip drifted wide of the goal.
Joe Manning won a ball in midfield in the 48th minute with an excellent sliding tackle. It fell neatly for Black who advances and took aim. Unfortunately, his low shot was well saved by Robinson in the Brantham goal.
Wroxham were awarded a free kick on the edge of the D after Robbie Sweeney was crudely taken out by the Brantham defender. From the subsequent free kick, Sweeney placed it over the wall but sadly just left of the upright.
Connor Ingram might have had a good opportunity following a cross from Marcus Wilkinson. With his back to goal, he was unable to find enough space to allow him to turn and the chance was gone.
Cruise Nyadzayo entered the fray for his first appearance of the season in a Wroxham shirt to try to bring extra attacking options. With the ball at his feet, he advanced with pace towards to Brantham defence but as he was about to let fly, a Brantham defender managed to get himself between the goal and ball blocking away the powerful shot.
The Yachtsmen and Blue Imps meet again on Tuesday week (20th March) at Trafford Park. This time a place in the Thurlow Nunn League Cup Final is at stake. Hopefully, more conducive pitch conditions will allow Wroxham to play their usual free-flowing passing game and progress.