Wroxham and Brantham share table-top honours in Ridgeons League
Wroxham 1, Brantham Athletic 1: Manager David Batch claimed Wroxham are another step closer to the title after drawing with Brantham Athletic.
The battle between the Ridgeons Premier Division top two was a keenly contested affair, but the game failed to excite with clear cut chances few and far between.
Brantham opened the scoring thanks to Dave Grimwood's 21st minute penalty, but new signing Matt Blake's first goal for the club gave the Yachtsmen a share of the points.
The result maintained Wroxham's one point lead at the summit, but third-placed Ely City, after a 2-0 win over Yarmouth, are now level on points with Brantham and will go top if they beat struggling Newmarket Town on Wednesday.
'It's another important point for us, and getting points here and there is all we can do,' said Batch. 'Ely and Brantham still have to play each other, and we've still got to play Ely. This result was never going to decide the title - it might have made it very hard for Brantham to win it if we had won, but it's all about amassing as many points as we can and keep the momentum going.'
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Batch admitted his side didn't deserve to lose the game, but lacked the quality in the final third to have earned all three points: 'We weren't urgent enough in the first half, but second half we got a lot closer to them and kept all the territory, but we were just a bit sloppy going forward.'
Ben Jones' inexperience cost Wroxham dearly as the teenage midfielder clumsily hauled Adam Bloss down in the area. Imps skipper Grimwood made no mistake from the spot with a confident finish from 12-yards.
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'I've got no complaints about their penalty but I thought we had two big penalty shouts when first Ben Thompson was shoved from under the ball and, a minute from time, Andy Eastaugh was fouled, but the referee said the ball had already gone out of play,' added Batch.
The hosts came back strongly in the second period and ex-Thetford striker Blake, making his home debut, earned Wroxham a deserved point with a crisp finish low into the corner after 73 minutes.
Brantham boss Tony Hall said: 'We expected Wroxham to come at us in the second half and have a pop. Defensively we made one mistake and that allowed them back into the game. Their appeals for a penalty were hopeful and I didn't think either of them were penalties. Overall it was a scrappy game, but a fair result in the end.'
• Wroxham: Howie, Self, Howes, Carus, Challen, Eastaugh, Jones (Thompson, 53), Lemmon, Gilfedder, Blake, Daniels. Subs not used: Howes, Hilton, Cook, Oakley. Bookings: Jones, Lemmon. Goal: Blake (73).
• Brantham: Bedingfield, Drennan (Mann, 88), Spencer, Wray, Sibbons, Bloss, Lowe, D Grimwood, L Grimwood, Pryke (Gunn, 88), Lawler. Sub not used: Blanchett. Bookings: Lowe, Lawler, Bedingfield. Goal: D Grimwood (21 pen).
• Referee: Marc Wilson