MATCH REPORT: Wroxham miss two penalties but still dump sorry Wisbech Town out of the FA Cup
FA Cup First Qualifying Round: Wisbech Town 1 Wroxham 4
UNBEATEN Wroxham could afford to miss two penalties as they comfortably dumped sorry Wisbech Town out of the FA Cup today.
In a depressing afternoon for the Fenmen’s loyal faithful the visitors absolutely bossed the game from start to finish. Nobody would have argued had the final score been 6-1 to the Yachtsmen.
And as a sea of glum faces left the Elgood’s Fenland Stadium you had to wonder how an undoubtedly talented Wisbech side had given such a dreadfully inept display.
Centre-back Neal Spafford aside - and perhaps striker Liam Nimmo - the Fenmen were lifeless, devoid of ideas and lacking any answer to a powerful and in-form Wroxham team.
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And even when Wisbech undeservedly equalised through Nimmo, who appeared to have deflected Lewis Thompson’s 20-yard effort home, it failed to spark the Fenmen’s miserable performance into life.
Wroxham took a deserved lead in the 11th minute when Wisbech ‘keeper Ryan Rayner made an absolute hash of a corner and palmed the ball to the impressive Ben Thompson who slotted home from six yards.
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Rayner - whose confidence looked shot to pieces all afternoon - made a string of errors during the game but quickly redeemed himself as he saved Damian Hilton’s weak penalty after Wisbech’s Thompson had handballed inside his own box.
Soul-destoryed assistant manager Chris Dear could only look on at the disarray unfolding in front of him as he took charge in the absence of manager Steve Appleby.
Some would say the Fenmen boss was the luckier of the two as he didn’t witness his side’s miserable display that simply never got any better.
Giant Rayner’s unsteady performance was hardly helped as he picked up a shoulder injury although that couldn’t excuse his next mistake as he passed the ball straight to Thompson.
Wroxham’s impressive striker should have bagged his second of the afternoon but trickled the ball towards the grateful arms of the recovering Rayner. Had he have hit the shot with any conviction it would have been 2-0.
Wisbech were flat, horribly quiet and dreadfully wasteful in possession. They were being bullied all over the pitch against a side who oozed confidence from even pore.
And even though the Fenmen equalised through Nimmo in the 33rd minute the errors continued with Simon Ashton the next culprit as he gave the ball away to Paul Cook who scuffed an effort from close range at Rayner.
With fed-up fans heading for their half-time pies - and feeling lucky to see their side level - Wisbech’s nightmare afternoon got worse.
Youngster Ollie Gale needlessly flew through the back of Thompson, who was heading away from goal, and Sean Howes converted the spot-kick to make it 2-1.
It was more of the same after the break - as Spafford excelled despite others crumbling around him - with Rayner dropping another howler.
Looking like the weight of the world was on his shoulders the giant spilled a weak Thompson cross into the path of Cook who scored.
Wroxham should have gone 4-1 up moments later but Howes missed his second, and the Yachtsmen’s third penalty of the game, after Jon Fairweather had tripped Gavin Lemmon.
It was a great save from Rayner and surely an indication of his undoubted talent. It’s just a shame that question marks continue to hang over his head.
But his display mirrored that of almost all of his team-mates. Wisbech looked shell-shocked as the game continued in a stunned silence with Fenmen fans struggling to comprehend what they were seeing.
Their groans and moans became even more evident when Nimmo, who toiled and showed touches of his class especially in the second half, played a great ball out to Fairweather.
Unfortunately the right-back let it roll under his foot and once again the team in red had lost possession just as they did on countless occasions.
Wroxham continued to pour forward and deservedly scored a fourth when Matthew Daniels half-volleyed home from 20 yards with little more than 10 minutes left.
If it was a boxing match the game would have been stopped much earlier but a heartbroken Dear had to watch on as his hometown team exited the FA Cup with little more than a whimper.
Appleby will have a tough job on his hands to gee his troops up for their Ridgeons Premier Division trip to Mildenhall Town on Tuesday.
He’ll be hoping influential players Callum Reed and Chris Bacon are available because Wisbech look a much poorer side without them. Key figures like Stacy Cartwright, Anthony Reeve and Scott Johnson can’t come back quickly enough either.
One of the few plus points for the Fenmen from today is that they can now concentrate on the league having boosted their coffers by a few thousands pound with a short cup run.
The major plus after today’s performance is however, that things can certainly only get better. Because surely they can’t get any worse?
• To find out how March Town United fared today click on the related link on this page.