Chris Goreham: ‘There is no escape from that dreaded R word’

Players and staff of Lowestoft Town inspect the pitch before the National League North match at the

Players and staff of Lowestoft Town inspect the pitch before the National League North match at the Lamb Ground, Tamworth. Picture by Andy Kearns/Focus Images - Credit: Andy Kearns/Focus Images Limited

I was lucky enough to be at Crown Meadow a week ago as the Trawlerboys eased their relegation worries with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Worcester City

There is no escape from that dreaded 'R' word at the moment.

A week without having to watch Norwich City toil against the threat of relegation didn't bring much blessed relief from end-of-season stress. Not with two other clubs right on our doorstep embroiled in serious and equally tense scraps of their own.

Lowestoft Town and Wroxham have both spent the past few seasons playing at higher levels than they have managed to reach before. As Norwich City supporters will understand, each step up football's unforgiving food chain creates a stomach churning fear of losing that new lofty status that must be endured almost as soon as the promotion hangovers have faded.

Wroxham's luck may have run out at the weekend. An away win at Romford would have been enough to secure their future in the Ryman League for another season. The game finished 0-0 and the Yachtsmen managed to find an agonising way to miss out on victory that even the Canaries haven't exposed their long-suffering fans to this season.


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They had to start with a defender up front because one of their players withdrew from the game half an hour before the bus was due to leave, then had a goal disallowed and missed a penalty. It really wasn't their day. Nearest rivals Waltham Abbey collected a routine 2-0 win over already-relegated Redbridge, a club who conceded no fewer than 141 goals in their 46 league games, to condemn Wroxham to finish in the bottom three. I've only seen them play once this season. That was in January when they were 3-2 up at home against that very same hapless Redbridge side in the 90th minute. They contrived to lose that game 4-3 and ended up going down by a point.

It has been a run that has made Norwich City's 5-4 defeat to Liverpool, the loss at Aston Villa and a home defeat to Sunderland look like a valiant attempt to beat the drop.

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The ever-confusing politics of non-league football ensure that Wroxham's fate isn't yet 100pc sealed. They could be saved depending on what happens with the annual summer shake-up of that level of the game. But they could have saved themselves a lot of uncertainty.

Lowestoft Town's grapple with the drop from National North, two divisions higher than Wroxham, is going much better. They go into tonight's game against high-flying North Ferriby knowing that winning that one or beating Gloucester City at home on Saturday will definitely keep them up. That's after a 94th-minute free-kick salvaged a point at play-off chasers Tamworth on Saturday.

I was lucky enough to be at Crown Meadow a week ago as the Trawlerboys eased their relegation worries with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Worcester City.

They had to come from a goal down against a side that was streetwise enough to have the former West Brom and Coventry striker Lee Hughes up front. Even when Hughes put the visitors a goal up after three minutes, Lowestoft's spirit couldn't be dampened and they came back to win.

The most impressive aspect was the way Ady Gallagher's side saw out the last five minutes, playing the game almost exclusively in the Worcester full-back positions. It was the sort of fuss-free, no-nonsense win that gets you out of trouble at this time of year.

Nine of Lowestoft's starting XI last week have at some point been on the books of Norwich City. Mostly as promising youngsters who never quite established themselves in the first team, but my yellow and green insides couldn't help but swell slightly with pride at the battling qualities displayed by the likes of Michael Spillane, Ryan and Rossi Jarvis and Danny Crow.

I'm not sure what it says about football in this part of the world, but when the final whistle finally does blow on this season, years will have been taken off the lives of fans at all levels.

It isn't half stressful down at the bottom. I haven't even started on Newcastle and Sunderland pinching points off Liverpool and Arsenal yet.

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