Wroxham triumph on FA Vase return
Wroxham 4, Wisbech 0
Wembley can wait for Wroxham boss David Batch after the Yachtsmen eased past Ridgeons Premier Division rivals Wisbech today at Trafford Park.
Batch's men made a successful return to the national competition after last season's heroic run to the final before a heavy defeat against reigning holders Whitley Bay.
Ross Durrant set the hosts on their way inside three minutes before Gavin Lemmon pounced just after the interval. Durrant notched his second in stoppage time and Damian Hilton rounded Lea Jordan to complete the rout. Batch insists he will look no further than Monday's third round draw after a comfortable passage.
'Last year I think every single round, bar one, we were drawn away,' he said. 'If we have to deal with that again, we will. From our perspective it was just nice to play at home. What comes, comes. It's not something we are crossing our fingers about. It won't be easy. It makes me laugh hearing managers from clubs saying we could get to Wembley or have a decent run. There's probably 512 teams saying that or thinking that. We know from experience our aim is always to get to the next round. Now it's the fourth round. That is all we're bothered about. Anything beyond that is completely irrelevant.'
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Batch was delighted at the measure of control exerted by his Ridgeons Premier title challengers.
'We were well in control the whole match but probably didn't do enough of the right things at the right time,' he said. 'We needed to get the ball in behind and stretch them with the pace we have got. We got on the ball a little bit more and we had some more quality going forward second half. It felt reasonably comfortable. Apart from long balls into the box there was no real threat to defend. All in all, I'm pleased. The long and short of this competition is about winning games. Keeping clean sheets is a massive part of that.
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'I thought perhaps the game this time around would have more intensity than the league meeting the other week and I was right. The thing about us this year is if teams want to out bully us, we can cope with that, if they want to out play us, we'll out play them, if teams want to out sprint us, we'll out sprint them. Really, we are happy to take any game in whatever way it comes. We have a lot more tools in our box this year around. We picked a team today to be big and strong and the first two goals were the result of set plays. We picked the players to do a job in a certain manner against a certain threat.'
Wisbech boss Steve Appleby had no complaints with Wroxham's progress to the third round, but believes Wisbech yet again got little help from the officials.
'Knock off the two late goals and we have been sucker punched by conceding a goal early in each half,' said Appleby. 'It was a bit of naivety again really. I'm struggling to say a lot more than that. They did deserve to win – no two ways about that. I don't want to make excuses but we have had a situation with availabilities for a while now and there were one or two other things.
'This is a free country but perhaps I am not allowed to say what I really feel. The manner of certain things and one or two decisions from the officials – nothing major by itself – but it escalates and unfortunately it seems, and this will make me sound like Tony Pulis recently, we have been on the wrong end of all the decisions for a number of weeks.
'We've had a couple of major ones as well, not here perhaps, and I don't want to go down that road. I can't take anything away from Wroxham. They were better than us, but there was another performance – and I'm not talking about Wisbech or Wroxham. It was embarrassing. Little things are big things in football and if you let them go on then people get frustrated. That has what happened to us today.'
Appleby insists Wisbech are making progress and predicts a brighter future for the Fenmen.
'The top six is still our target in the league and I'm quite confident of doing that, it's not a problem,' he said. 'I still have belief in the players and we are assembling a good side. From being a bottom half team we are making teams think when we play them. That is what this season is about, building and making a platform for a brighter future. You have to walk before we can run and maybe that has been highlighted today. There is still a bit of a gap and plenty to work on.
'But you also need a lot luck in any walk of life – especially if you are going to have a good run in a competition like this. You need things going your way, things to come off that you have worked on. That is the only way you progress and I don't think we are getting any rub of the green whatsoever. I think it is turning into a game for softies, continual whingeing and moaning. It's just the way football is at the moment – it's frustrating.'
Durrant latched onto Josh Carus' flick to put Wroxham in front. Paul Cook was booked seconds later for a crude lunge on Scott Johnson in an abrasive opening. Aaron Turner lifted a half chance over for the Fenmen from their first corner before Cook was foiled by a last ditch tackle from Johnson with the Fenmen's defences breached.
Callum Reed clipped the outside of Scott Howie's left-hand post from long range with the former King's Lynn keeper beaten midway through the half. Lemmon's stab from the edge had Jordan back-pedalling. Howes' 25 yard free kick rolled tamely through to Jordan after Matty Daniels was upended. Jordan then needed to go full length to palm away Daniels' rasping strike with Wroxham establishing a measure of control. French teenager Claudio Langlois headed over under pressure after Damion Hilton was clipped leading the home counter.
Stacy Cartwright's free kick struck the grounded Graham Challen before Howes hit the Fenmen wall at the opposite end when Anthony Reeve upended Lemmon.
Wroxham's bench appealed long and loud for a penalty in the closing seconds of the half when Paul Cousins and Hilton tangled, leaving the Yachtsmen striker on the ground. Lemmon lashed Wroxham further in front with a sweet 20 yard half volley that flashed past Jordan. Turner exchanged passes with Reed before bursting into the Yachtsmen's box but fired wide under pressure from Howes.
Cook's glancing header slipped behind after a powerful burst from Jamie Atkins. Wisbech substitute Tommy Treader marked his arrival with a yellow card after a robust challenge on Howie sparked a minor melee in the Wroxham penalty area. Daniels' volleyed over from the edge after Lemmon's free kick dropped invitingly to his midfield partner.
Jordan then palmed away Howes' inswinging free kick with Wroxham looking to kill the tie before Hilton miscued from Daniels' intelligent chip.
Wisbech pinned the hosts back in the closing stages during a sustained spell of pressure but Reed's speculative strike was the closest alarm for Howie. Lemmon slashed wide on a late counter before Durrant grabbed a cheeky third with a half volley from fully 35 yards that flew over Jordan. Cook then broke free and slalomed around the grounded Wisbech keeper for a fourth.
Wroxham: Howie, Atkins, Challen, Carus, Howes, Daniels, Durrant, Lemmon, Hilton, Cook, Langlois (Boswell 57). Subs (not used): Pauling, Gilmore, Paynter, Bruel.
Goals: Durrant (3, 90), Lemmon (50), Cook (90)
Bookings: Cook, Durrant
Wisbech: Jordan, Flanz, Johnson, Cousins, Fairweather, Reeve (M Jimson 81), Turner, Reed, Furnell (Treader 57), D Jimson (Stevens 57), Cartwright. Subs (not used): Gale, Appleby.
Bookings: Treader, Cartwright
Referee: G Sprague (Cambridge)