A win away from home against a Long Melford side who had been unbeaten in their last four matches saw Wroxham rise to second-place in the Thurlow Nunn Premier League. The Yachtsmen had started the day sitting in fourth position but goals from Nathan Stewart, Sonny Carey twice and Jordan Bond meant the Norfolk side ran out 4-1 winners.
Prior to the game the talk was not about who would be wearing the blue and white stripes of Wroxham but instead the man in black raised eyebrows. Having encountered Karl Sear previously this season away at Hadleigh where he made the game all about him, hopes were not high that today’s game would not also follow a similar line. In fact, apart from two poor decisions where he failed to produce his red card for atrocious tackles by Melford players that could have resulted in serious injury for the Wroxham player, he didn’t have too bad a game considering.
Wroxham lined up with George Macrae in goal, a back four of Adam Plumstead, Chris Skipper, Shaun Taylor and Mac Gee. In midfield were Sonny Carey, Cruise Nyadzayo, Harley Black, Joe Keeley and Jordan Bond whilst Nathan Stewart led from the front. Manager Jordan Southgate must have found it difficult picking his XI as he was forced to sit Isaac Burrage, Kieran Smith, Josh Pond and Marcus Wilkinson with Connor Milligan on the substitutes bench.
The visitors were immediately on the front-foot and in the first minute Cruise Nyadzayo saw his shot hit the base of the post after he was able to get the better of his defender. It didn’t take Wroxham long before their second half-chance of the afternoon. Jordan Bond nicked the ball off the toes of the Melford midfielder and played in Sonny Carey. His shot flashing wide of the post from 25 yards.
Nathan Stewart was holding the ball well when he was found by his team-mates and he was able to cross the ball into the area where Nyadzayo kept it alive to find Jordan Bond. It was a difficult chance as his header was gathered by the man-mountain of Glen Middleton in the Melford goal.
In the thirteenth minute a trip by Joe Keeley as Melford looked to break resulted in the first yellow card of the afternoon. Given the earlier fears about the officials, it was a concern for the Wroxham management as to what the referee may do next.
Long Melford were finding space down the left side as Hassan Ally was causing Shaun Taylor problems. From a corner created by one of his runs, Andy Fisher had a great chance to make it 1-0 but his header was deflected wide. The second corner saw Melford come even closer with a header from Ross Waugh hitting the Wroxham post. Certainly, a let-off for Wroxham.
A good ball from the foot of Harley Black saw Jordan Bond with a half-chance by Middleton advanced to block his attempt. It was a brief respite for Melford as Wroxham took the lead a minute later. Shaun Taylor played a ball inside the full-back for Nathan Stewart to run onto. A lovely chipped ball over Middleton by the forward ending in the far corner. It was a goal that Wroxham had deserved, and the finish was much admired by the crowd.
Melford were still in the game and Pablo Chaves had a chance, but his shot was wide of the far post.
On 37 minutes, Southgate was forced into his first change of the afternoon. Cruise Nyadzayo had taken a knee to his back in an aerial challenge and despite treatment was forced off with Marcus Wilkinson taking his place.
Wroxham were looking to make it 2-0 before half-time and Nathan Stewart came close to it. Jordan Bond controlled the ball midway in the Melford half, a delightful pass played in Stewart, but his shot was blocked away by the home team for a Wroxham corner.
There was always the feeling that Melford could create something and after 42 minutes the equaliser arrived. Ally was the instigator as he advanced down the left side and into the area. Seeing the incoming Chaves, he picked out his team-mate who finished the shot well past Macrae to take both sides level at half-time.
Melford came out with intent in the second half and the first chance came to Chaves again. Fortunately for Wroxham his aim was off, and the ball nestled in the side-netting of Macrae’s goal. The home team came even closer when Harley Black was forced to clear a header from a corner off his own goal line.
Marcus Wilkinson was showing some good pace down the right wing and his low cross was cut out for a corner. From that Wroxham took the lead for the second time of the afternoon. A short corner was worked to Sonny Carey on the edge of the penalty box. His well-placed shot going high into the net off the cross-bar. It was the second excellent finish from the Yachtsmen of the afternoon.
Soon after the goal, Wroxham were forced into their second change of the afternoon. Adam Plumstead departing with Isaac Burrage entering the fray.
Wroxham were now in an attacking mode and in particular Stewart was looking particularly dangerous against the Melford defence. It was in one of those situations that Wroxham went 3-1 ahead. Stewart was crudely brought down in the penalty area and from the resulting penalty, Jordan Bond fired straight and hard to give Morrison no chance. Morrison was obviously unhappy that Wroxham were celebrating five yards in front of him so fired the ball straight at the group of players in a petulant display. The referee felt it necessary to produce his yellow card for his action.
Melford were now looking increasingly frustrated and this boiled over after 78 minutes. A two-footed lunge that could have resulted in a serious injury was handed out by Nathan Rowe. Despite the referee deeming it reckless, he only produced a yellow to many surprise.
Wroxham made their final change of the game with youngster Josh Pond getting a taste of the action as Jordan Bond made way.
It was looking ever likely that Wroxham would add to their score and after 89 minutes, they scored their fourth. Nathan Stewart put pressure on Morrison who was only able to find Carey with his poor clearance. The initial fear that the chance had gone when Carey did not shoot immediately toward the empty goal but coolly the youngster finished low into the net. There was still a chance for Nathan Stewart to hit the crossbar after he was played in by Carey and a further poor tackle by a Melford player that warranted more than a yellow card, but Wroxham can be satisfied by their afternoon’s work.