Wisbech Town dumped out of FA Vase as last-gasp signing fails to inspire Fenmen

FA Vase Second Round: Wroxham 4 Wisbech Town 0

Wisbech Town boss Steve Appleby said the Fenmen are constantly getting a raw deal from the officials after watching his side crash out of the FA Vase with a 4-0 defeat to last year’s beaten finalists.

Appleby had no complaints with Wroxham’s progress to the third round but believes Wisbech got little help from the officials in a bruising cup encounter between the Ridgeons Premier Division sides at Trafford Park.

A last-minute transfer coup - the signing of midfielder Callum Reed from Stamford - failed to inspire the Fenmen and they went behind after three minutes when Ross Durrant scored.

Gavin Lemmon pounced just after the interval before Durrant notched his second in stoppage time and Damian Hilton rounded Lea Jordan to complete the rout.

“Knock off the two late goals and we have been sucker punched by conceding a goal early in each half,” said Appleby. “It was a bit of naivety again really. I’m struggling to say a lot more than that.

“They did deserve to win – no two ways about that. I don’t want to make excuses but we have had a situation with availabilities for a while now and there were one or two other things.

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“This is a free country but perhaps I am not allowed to say what I really feel. The manner of certain things and one or two decisions from the officials – nothing major by itself – but it escalates and unfortunately it seems, and this will make me sound like Tony Pulis recently, we have been on the wrong end of all the decisions for a number of weeks.

“We’ve had a couple of major ones as well, not here perhaps, and I don’t want to go down that road. I can’t take anything away from Wroxham. They were better than us, but there was another performance – and I’m not talking about Wisbech or Wroxham. It was embarrassing. Little things are big things in football and if you let them go on then people get frustrated. That has what happened to us today.”

Appleby insists Wisbech are making progress and predicts a brighter future for the Fenmen.

“The top six is still our target in the league and I’m quite confident of doing that, it’s not a problem,” he said. “I still have belief in the players and we are assembling a good side.

“From being a bottom half team we are making teams think when we play them. That is what this season is about, building and making a platform for a brighter future. You have to walk before we can run and maybe that has been highlighted today. There is still a bit of a gap and plenty to work on.

“But you also need a lot luck in any walk of life – especially if you are going to have a good run in a competition like this. You need things going your way, things to come off that you have worked on. That is the only way you progress and I don’t think we are getting any rub of the green whatsoever.

“I think it is turning into a game for softies, continual whingeing and moaning. It’s just the way football is at the moment – it’s frustrating.”

Durrant latched onto Josh Carus’ flick to put Wroxham in front. Paul Cook was booked seconds later for a crude lunge on Scott Johnson in an abrasive opening.

Aaron Turner lifted a half chance over for the Fenmen from their first corner before Cook was foiled by a last ditch tackle from Johnson with the Fenmen’s defences breached.

Debutant Callum Reed clipped the outside of Scott Howie’s left-hand post from long range with the former King’s Lynn keeper beaten midway through the half.

Lemmon’s stab from the edge had Jordan back-pedalling. Howes’ 25 yard free kick rolled tamely through to Jordan after Matty Daniels was upended. Jordan then needed to go full length to palm away Daniels’ rasping strike with Wroxham establishing a measure of control. French teenager Claudio Langlois headed over under pressure after Damion Hilton was clipped leading the home counter.

Stacy Cartwright’s free kick struck the grounded Graham Challen before Howes hit the Fenmen wall at the opposite end when Anthony Reeve upended Lemmon.

Wroxham’s bench appealed long and loud for a penalty in the closing seconds of the half when Paul Cousins and Hilton tangled, leaving the Yachtsmen striker on the ground.

Lemmon lashed Wroxham further in front with a sweet 20 yard half volley that flashed past Jordan. Turner exchanged passes with Reed before bursting into the Yachtsmen’s box but fired wide under pressure from Howes.

Cook’s glancing header slipped behind after a powerful burst from Jamie Atkins. Wisbech substitute Tommy Treacher marked his arrival with a yellow card after a robust challenge on Howie sparked a minor melee in the Wroxham penalty area. Daniels’ volleyed over from the edge after Lemmon’s free kick dropped invitingly to his midfield partner.

Jordan then palmed away Howes’ inswinging free kick with Wroxham looking to kill the tie before Hilton miscued from Daniels’ intelligent chip.

Wisbech pinned the hosts back in the closing stages during a sustained spell of pressure but Reed’s speculative strike was the closest alarm for Howie.

Lemmon slashed wide on a late counter before Durrant grabbed a cheeky third with a half volley from fully 35 yards that flew over Jordan. Cook then broke free and slalomed around the grounded Wisbech keeper for a fourth.

Wroxham: Howie, Atkins, Challen, Carus, Howes, Daniels, Durrant, Lemmon, Hilton, Cook, Langlois (Boswell 57). Subs (not used): Pauling, Gilmore, Paynter, Bruel.

Goals: Durrant (3, 90), Lemmon (50), Cook (90)

Bookings: Cook, Durrant

Wisbech: Jordan, Flanz, Johnson, Cousins, Fairweather, Reeve (M Jimson 81), Turner, Reed, Furnell (Treacher 57), D Jimson (Stevens 57), Cartwright. Subs (not used): Gale, Appleby.

Bookings: Treacher, Cartwright

Referee: G Sprague (Cambridge)

Attendance: 160