The Yachtsmen slipped into Cruise control as the swatted aside Thetford Town with a scintillating display at Trafford Park writes Darren Wiseman.
There was a nice buzz around the club house on Tuesday evening. The faithful had made their trek for a game under the lights, and for the first time in a while there was a pleasant air of expectancy. After beating Walsham le Willows last time out at home, the Yachtsmen had followed it up with another clean sheet and 4 goals away at Huntingdon in the cup. With good performances though comes a different sort of pressure – a pressure to deliver again, to pick up from where you left off and go again. Well, the Yachtsmen did that on more to earn 3 points against their local rivals.
Connor Milligan continued in goal with George McCrae still recovering from a broken finger. Kieran Smith and Mac Gee at full back continued a solid back four, with regulars Chris Skipper and captain Adam Plumstead at centre half. In midfield Simon Lappin pulled the strings behind the attacking force of wide men Cruise Nyadzayo and Matt Doyle, With Josh Pond next to him. Up front, Pete Wiltshire started with Jordan Bond just behind in the number 10 position.
Wroxham kicked us off defending the Kenny Cooke stand, and despite settling well it was the Brecklanders that had the first sight of goal, and what an effort it was. The ball was played out to the Town left, and Ian Pawcett, standing near the corner of the penalty area, met it first time, his effort from 30 yards bouncing out of the far post with Milligan just a spectator.
The first impression of the night as the teams started matching up was that the visitors were huge compared to the Yachtsmen. Telma Rocha, the visiting number 8, was dwarfing Josh Pond at 6 foot 6, but the Yachtsmen stood firm and were more than holding their own in the early exchanges.
On 10 minutes, Jordan Bond worked a great opportunity for Pete Wiltshire, who bore down on goal with a defender for company. His effort was well blocked by former Yachtsmen Will Viner, with the rebound hacked clear. The early signs showed that Wroxham were well up for the encounter, and more than capable of creating chances.
Jordan Bond was at it again minutes later. He managed to beat his defender, and he managed to get to the by-line to centre, but his low cross was bundled behind. The following corner was not dealt with, and Bond smashed as effort as the ball dropped to him only to see it cleared off the line.
On 20 minutes Wroxham deservedly took the lead. The flying Nyadzayo beat his full back down the Wroxham right, and was able to get the ball to Wiltshire in the box, back to goal. The burly number 9 held off his man and tied up Bond, who smashed home an effort into the bottom right corner. It was an absolute beauty of a team goal, with quick passes and pace in the attack. It looked like a long night ahead for the visitors, and so it would prove.
The Yachtsmen smelt blood after opening the scoring and were relentless as they immediately tried to extend their lead. Jordan Bond this time cut in from the right flank, beating 3 men as he moved across the box to then let a shot go from the edge of the area. Viner half stopped the effort, and then jumped on the ball before it rolled in the goal to finish the job.
On 30 minutes the impressive Bond was at the centre of another chance. This time he beat 8 in midfield and drove at the defence down the right channel, he then crossed, and his delivery reached Doyle at the back post whose effort was just wide.
To keep the home team on their toes, Thetford created a chance of their own. A good through ball from midfield sent Andrew Wood through with Skipper in pursuit but unable to catch him. As Milligan came out to meet him Wood had an effort from the edge of the box, but fortunately it was scuffed and rolled past the left upright.
On 37 minutes Wroxham had the second goal that their play had more than deserved. Bond and Gee combined, with Gee then centring the ball to find Lappin 12 yards effort. The Norwich legend took one touch before finding the same spot Bond had to make the score 2-0.
Wroxham were totally rampant by this point, with pacy attackers running at the Thetford defence from all angles. Mac Gee had the next effort, as he cut inside his man and fired a shot, but his effort was just wide.
The only sour note of the first half came when the excellent Matt Doyle went down. He had not taken a hit, but he was down for a while before being carried off. It appears some knee damage may have been done, so everyone has their fingers crossed that such a Key man is not side lined for long. I must admit Wroxham created so many good moments I could not keep up, so to finish a half losing a player took the gloss of a great performance! Doyle, Lappin, Wiltshire, but in particularly Nyadzayo and Bond, who were absolutely on fire, leaving Thetford’s defence in tatters time after time.
The Yachtsmen were out first for the second half – unsurprising given how good they had performed. Marcus Wilkinson had replaced the unfortunate Doyle, but he gave the visitors no respite as he picked up were his colleague left off. It was Wilkinson who was fouled moments after the restart as Wroxham were straight back on the front foot, play was waved on as the ball came to Bond, he smashed a cross field ball to Nyadzayo, was in again but his cross was blocked behind. The resulting corner was not cleared, with Wroxham working the ball down their left, crossing, only for Wiltshire to see his effort saved. As the ball was half cleared, Mac Gee connected beautifully from the edge of the box to rifle the ball into the top corner of the net for 3-0.
With the game gone, Thetford Town started to lose their heads a little. Josh Pond harried Rocha, winning the ball back before being fouled. Rocha then squared up to the young number 8, towering over him by more than a foot. Pond gave no ground, standing firm and getting his free kick. Rocha received a yellow card.
On 55 minutes a bizarre incident occurred that could have changed the course of the night. The visitor’s bench had been consistently told that no more than 2 people could be standing in the technical area but had insisted on 3 for most of the evening. The linesman eventually reached the end of his patience and brought the issue to the Referees attention. He had a word with the bench, but a very surprising thing resulted. Within 10 seconds of the restart, the ball was launched into the Wroxham box and inexplicably a penalty was given. No one could quite understand why, but Wood stepped up but saw his effort bounce of the right hand upright and away. As one fan near me put it, it was Justice for the Yachtsmen.
On 58 minutes the Yachtsmen nearly extended their lead further, Bond wriggled free again and linked well with Gee, who had an effort at goal well saved by Viner, and Wiltshire reached the rebound first but saw his effort excellently saved too. He turned out to be offside, but Wroxham’s brilliance soon turned into a fourth goal.
On 60 minutes Nyadzayo got the goal that his last few performances had more than deserved, and it was a cracker. He ran in from the right, beating 3 defenders before finishing from 18 yards. He had run any Thetford player who chose to race him ragged all evening, and the goal was the icing on the cake.
The goal prompted the Brecklanders into 2 substitutions, and it was one of these new additions that then brought the best out of Connor Milligan. Louis Freitas chanced his arm from 35 yards, but his excellent connection looked on target, but Milligan was able to react and tip the ball over the bar.
Thetford Town deserve credit for battling on, but the Yachtsmen brought all the party pieces out as the game wound down. With Nyadzayo beating his full back at will, Josh Pond was turning his man inside out. One piece of skill was so good, it looked like the man he beat would need to pay admission to get back in again!
No more clear-cut challenges followed, but a couple of Thetford players earned yellow cards on what had been a hard night for them. The final whistle saw Wroxham players high fiving each other with a job fantastically done. Jordan Bond was man of the match in this writer’s opinion, but you could have picked from any of the players to give the award to. 3 clean sheets in a row, 9 goals and exciting football, watch out Hadleigh United, the Yachtsmen are sailing in!!