East Men’s League: Winter wonderland for City prospects
Norwich City revelled in the wintry conditions to win 6-1 at Colchester in the Premier B Division of the East Men's League.
On a day when only two other games in the division survived – Wisbech Town and Harleston Magpies 2nds were among the casualties – City pulled themselves to within three points of the second promotion place.
All the goals came in the first half as City continued their good recent form from the off. Their opener came after Rob Morgan had seen three attempts blocked by the keeper before the ball fell to Dave Skinner, whose flick found the back of the net.
Two minutes later Chris Wardale deftly dinked the ball over the keeper for the second goal.
Colchester were thwarted by a good stop on the line by Rich Green after a corner, but after 25 minutes City broke to force a short corner from which Chris Perry's drag flick found the target.
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Five minutes later Perry's aerial found Jez Elliott on the half way line and he collected the ball and made his way to the circle, beating three defenders before playing a reverse stick pass to the far post for Wardale to tap-in. It became 5-0 three minutes from the interval when a short corner variation allowed Elliott to flick home. But there was still time for City to score the goal of the match before the break with a superb multi-player move which began at the back and ended with Jim Pallister slotting past the keeper.
By contrast the second half was an anticlimax, notable only for Colchester's consolation goal. But the victory leaves City just three points off the second promotion place.
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Only two games were played in Premier A with the victims including Dereham's proposed visit to bottom of the table Bishop Stortford.
Harleston, who were inactive having played their scheduled fixture earlier in the season, remain two points clear at the top.
Only one game survived in Division 2N with Dereham 2nds losing at home to Cambridge City 3rds.
Likewise, there was only one game in Division 3NE, though it was a good one for Gorleston, who thrashed Pelicans 2nds 6-0. The result made no change to the promotion race as Norwich City 2nds and Holt Harlequins remain well clear of the chasing pack.
There was more action in Division 4NE, where Norwich Dragons 2nds maintained their promotion push with a 3-0 win over UEA 2nds.
Dragons went ahead within two minutes with a Simon Nisbet goal, but they seemed to lose some of their momentum midway through the half.
UEA started to link their passes, giving the Dragons midfield plenty of work to keep themselves busy.
But Dragons eased the pressure with a goal by Jason Wolfe, who collected the ball in the D and rounded a defender and the keeper with slick ball skills before slipping the ball in.
Dragons kept the pressure on the UEA defence, forcing them to play some risky balls across their own goal, one of which Dan Cheesman intercepted before scoring the third.
Dereham's two teams in the division both lost 3-1, the 3rds at Felixstowe 2nds and the 4ths at home to Watton. Leaders Ipswich-East Suffolk 2nds maintained their perfect record with a 5-1 win at Sudbury 3rds.
Norwich Dragons 3rds continue to dominate Division 5NE after a 5-1 win at Holt Harlequins 2nds.
Matt Jenkins and debutant Alec Bidet-Steele put Dragons two up before some careless play allowed Holt to pull one back just before the interval.
The scoreline did not reflect the Dragons' domination – but they made it pay in the second half with further goals from Adrian Kemp, John Ives and Will Ives.
The result extended Dragons' unbeaten run to ten matches and, with closest rivals Bury 3rds losing at LowestoftRailway 2nds, their lead at the top of the division increased.
In Division 6NE a hat-trick from David Thornton helped Norwich Dragons 4ths to a 5-0 win over Ipswich Cranes 2nds.
The performance was a perfect response to the previous week's disappointing result
Dragons broke through after 15 minutes when the ball broke kindly for Thornton to slot home.
That's how it stayed until the interval, but Dragons upped their game in the second half with a steady stream of testing crosses from Andy Key. They had to wait until the last ten minutes to get their reward. Thornton got on the end of one of Keys' crosses to score the second – prompting the Cranes' keeper and captain to go 11 all out field.
Dragons took full advantage. A deflection off a defender made it 3-0 before Ollie King and newly-elected vice-captain Thornton completed the rout – taking his scoring tally for the season to nine goals.
Elsewhere in the division Norwich Nomads lost 3-2 to Bury 5ths while Pelicans Masters won 3-2 at Norwich City 6ths.