King’s Lynn 3, Wroxham 3
Former Norwich defender Pat Bexfield's straight red card marred an entertaining friendly today between the Norfolk non league rivals at The Walks.
Bexfield was dismissed in the closing stages of the first half following an apparent stamp on Ross Durrant that sparked a minor melee between players from both sides.
Referee Turner consulted his assistant before brandishing a straight red although Lynn were restored to their full complement of outfield players for the start of the second half following half-time discussions between both management teams.
'I was up in the stand and it looked like a sending off to me,' said Wroxham boss David Batch. 'But I was really surprised the referee just didn't turn around and say get him off. I just don't understand why he didn't do that. It was just common sense, get someone else on, not a problem.
At King's Lynn's request they asked if they could have 11 in the second half which we were happy to do because it's a friendly and made it a bit more of a game again. Perhaps that shows the difference between us and the referee.'
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The lively Steve Spriggs struck a confident penalty past his former team mate Scott Howie in the first half, but Damian Hilton's header drew the Yachtsmen level.
Lynn's close season signing Danny Beaumont opened his account prior to a late flurry of goals after both sides had made multiple changes. Paul Cook equalised again for the visitors but Nelson Moreira looked to have settled the derby before Matty Daniels reacted sharply to Cook's strike which thudded against the woodwork.
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Stuart Wall's far post header inside the opening ten minutes from Spriggs' corner deceived Howie, but clipped the top of the Wroxham keeper's bar. Ben Coe screwed wide following another penetrative burst from Spriggs.
Coe was upended inside the Wroxham box by Yachtsmen's skipper Graham Challen on 15 minutes - Spriggs sending Howie the wrong way from the spot. Bexfield was red carded on 38 minutes – prompting Linnets' joint boss Kevin Boon to remonstrate with the officials on the half-time whistle. The unmarked Hilton drew Wroxham level with a point blank header but arch predator Beaumont slid home Coe's cutback to restore Town's lead just before the hour mark.
Ex-Dereham striker Beaumont tested Howie from long range but with the game meandering to a close, Cook outmuscled Wall inside the box to finish calmly. Moreira bundled home from point blankrange two minutes later after cheekily outwitting Howie but Daniels dragged Wroxham level for a third time in the 88th minute.
Linnets' joint boss Gary Setchell was pleased with another competitive work out.
'From a manager's point of view, up until that last 15 minutes when both sides made changes they had done what we asked,' he said. 'Last year we were too open in games so we asked them to press and squeeze Wroxham. They are a very good side who will go close in the Ridgeons Premier this year. We dominated possession.
'Danny Beaumont looked sharp and Spriggsy has been magnificent in pre-season. He has come back a different player which is a positive. We had four or five out so the reserve lads did themselves no harm. We don't have to worry about having a small squad.'
Batch is happy with the Yachtsmen's pre-season progress.
'Overall, good, but some things to work on,' he said. 'Players looked a little bit jaded towards the end and the quality dropped off. At times we got a little bit too stretched and that is something we need to address and, like I say, we could have been more direct at times.
'Ben Thompson was a miss because he is so strong and quick and if he is playing it almost demands we go a bit more direct. We put two balls down the sides of the centre halves in the last 15 minutes. One we should have scored, the other we did score.'
• King's Lynn (starting XI): Street, Watson, Bexfield, Cousins, Wall, White, Spriggs, Thurlbourne, Harris, Beaumont, Coe. Subs: Buhlemann, Fryatt, Livotti, Biles, Moreira, Duarte, Hails.
• Goals: Spriggs (15), Beaumont (57), Moreira (86)
• Sending Off: Bexfield
• Wroxham (starting XI): Howie, Challen, Terrington, Hilton, Carus, Daniels, Durrant, Lemmon, Cook, Rocastle, Gilmore. Subs: Alves, D Katabana, Haty, P Katabana, Savage, F Katabana.
• Goals: Hilton (52), Cook (84), Daniels (88)
• Booking: Gilmore
• Referee: J Turner
• Attendance: 386