Wisbech St Mary 1-2 Harleston Town
Magpies come from behind to win away from home to maintain lead at the top!
Town made the long trip down the A47 and beyond to face a Wisbech St Mary side who sat mid table before
kick-off but with some impressive results so far this season. Stone returned to the starting XI, with Anema dropping into a holding midfield position in a tactical move with the unfortunate Roe dropping to the bench. Town were again without the services of Borrer and Howell, both of whom had work commitments.
There was slickness to the well maintained playing surface of our hosts and this helped to ensure for a fast paced game throughout with both sides showing attacking intent with their approaches. The first 20 minutes saw little of note before Town started to turn the screw and create a number of chances. Great work from Cheese down the right hand side saw him cross superbly to the back post where Stone’s
header crashed against the inside of the post and out.
The woodwork was to the home side’s saviour again after a breath-taking counter attack from a defending corner, led by the, yet again, impressive Imrie who exchanged passes with Roberts before seeing his right foot volley from inside the six yard box unfortunately crash against the bar and out.
Wisbech continued to carry a threat with their mobile front three and Coe had an effort deflected which Ling reacted quickly too before pushing away. Cheese was next to show, his pace and power getting him behind the St Mary back four but the finish eluded
Roberts was close to giving Town the lead but his effort across the box just missed the far corner as we continued to carry the greater threat.
Alert defending from Shadrack saw him clear a dangerous cross from the head of a waiting centre forward as Coe and Friend remained an active threat.
Just before half time, Cheese was again put through and with the keeper retreating to his line, the front man looked odds on to finish but missed the target. Town will have been disappointed not to have come in leading, giving the number of clear cut chances created
and the peppering of the woodwork!
The end to end flow to the game continued early in the second half. Stone benefited from the home side over committing men forward and leaving two on two at the back. The front man did superbly well to control the ball and attack the space in behind but his last touch was heavy and another one on one with the GK was passed up!
A series of Town corners failed to yield a clear opportunity as the home side defended these well. From one of the corners Howard collided with the St Mary keeper and having tried to shrug the injury off was unable to do so and made way for Roe, with Anema dropping into centre half. Roberts then capitalised on a collision between the Wisbech centre half and goalkeeper but his shot was
excellently blocked by the covering defender to deny a certain goal.
This brilliant piece of defending was then surpassed by Willis. The full back produced an unbelievable goal line block when it seemed certain the net would bulge for the home side! Baker then replaced Stone who had worked his socks off in a typically wholehearted display and he was unlucky when he got the other side of the back four but was unable to pick anybody out with his cross.
The next attack bought the opening goal of the game in the 70 th minute and it was the home side who got it. A deep corner was met by a Wisbech player who done well to squeeze his header between the post and Willis. Russell was immediately introduced with Delaney making way in our final change as we sought a route back into the game.
The end to end nature of the game showed no signs of stopping and this now suited us with our pace still causing the hosts problems. A deserved equaliser duly arrived in the 75 th minute. Page made a lung busting run down the right and his cut back found Roberts six yards out who uncharacteristically mis-controlled but fortunately our attacking intent paid dividends with Russell gleefully picking up the loose ball before comprehensively finding the top corner.
A minute later and the game was spun on its head. Roberts was played through one on one and with a classy dink he lifted the ball over the advancing goalkeeper for 2-1!
The home side responded with Ling making a fantastic save from a close range header. Shadrack then defended a dangerous set piece superbly with his interception almost certainly preventing an equaliser. Town remained a threat and had two chances to kill the game but Cheese and Baker were both off target when well placed.
The home side squandered what would be their last chance to grab a share of the spoils when Coe dragged his shot wide when well placed. Town saw the remaining minutes out professionally to record an excellent win on the road with another impressive performance where enough chances were created to have won by a more convincing margin, whilst we must also recognise that on another day the home side could have certainly nicked something from the game.
An excellent win for us against a decent side in Wisbech St Mary who will certainly win more than they lose this season and credit must go to both sides who served up an exciting game from start to finish.
A real squad effort yet again but the Weber St.Gobain Man of the Match goes to Mark Shadrack who put in a very accomplished display at the back.
A final mentioned must be given to our Chairman who picked up and drove the bus and also treated the squad to an Indian and a few beers after the game - A top gesture from a top Chairman!
Next week we are back at Wilderness Lane where a resurgent Cornard United side are the visitors. We will yet again expect another tough fixture against a team who have enjoyed some excellent wins recently and we hope to see you there to get behind the lads as we aim to continue our good run of form.
Adam Gusterson - First Team Manager