Thursday, 27 October 2011

A Four-One Conclusion in Essex

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Tuesday 25 October 2011 at the Spicer McColl Stadium
Witham Town 4 Woodbridge Town 1
FA Vase Round 1 replay.  Both teams play league football at step 5, in the Essex Senior League and the Eastern Counties Premier League respectively.  Witham had needed a very, very late leveller in extra time on Saturday to secure a replay.
#432 on the lifetime list
This match in one sentence
The result was in doubt for an hour, but the home side imposed themselves in the second half for a clear victory.
So what?
Witham Town face Team Bury in the next round.
The drama unfolds
Witham (in the white-and-black) made a lively start to the game and this happened after 7 minutes.  John Bradley is the scorer.  1-0

The home side were neat in their buildup, playing the ball to feet with #9 Billy Hunt   prominent.  The visitors were more direct and dangerous in their own way.  Nevertheless there was an element of good fortune about the equaliser after 13 minutes.  Paul Berry’s curling freekick from the left missed everyone and ended up in the net.  The young midfielder went on to be Woodbridge’s most prominent player in the first half.  1-1

My second clip comes from around the half-hour mark, and the third captures a moment of controversy just before half-time.  Was it over the line?  Well, me and my little camera were the nearest thing to goalline technology on the day.  No goal, said the officials.  1-1 at half-time

Witham took the lead again in the 53rd minute – a delightful header by Billy Hunt just about captured on film.  2-1

This of course forced Woodbridge to commit players forward, and they conceded a third goal to a right-wing break just after the hour mark.  A curling cross was headed unselfishly by #8 John Watson into the path of #7 Sam Taylor, and he finished neatly, shooting first time into the ground and over the keeper on the bounce.  3-1

Senior Woodbridge players were already showing dissatisfaction with each other and with the performance.  Witham threw on some subs up front who were eager to get in on the action, and the fourth arrived with just over 10 minutes left.  Excuse Rob Whitnell’s language, ladies and gentlemen, if you have the sound turned up.  Final Score 4-1

The clip ends with an upward pan to look at Jupiter, clearly visible at the moment with the naked eye.  Things are looking up, as they say.

Thanks to the club websites for helping with player identification - though you don't always agree with each other!
Not the biggest forward that you will ever see at this level, but I enjoyed the movement and link-up play of Witham Town striker Billy Hunt.
A snippet from the programme
“During 2008, one of Town’s rising stars, top scorer Cody McDonald, moved-on to Maldon Town and then Dartford, before being bought by the then Championship side Norwich City.  This move to the Canaries makes Cody our highest profile ex-player.  (He is now with Coventry City.)  Off the field, former player Olly Murs became the TV Show X-Factor’s runner-up in December 2009.”
What I learned today
That I need to add this ground to the “trainspotter” list – it is directly adjacent to a main line (Chelmsford to Ipswich and beyond) and we had scores of diesel multiple units, inter-city expresses and freight trains to look at during the evening.
What Next?
Not sure – keeping an eye on an FA Cup weekend – but watch the @GrahamYapp Twitter feed for details.

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