Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring at the Abbey

Yesterday we saw a game that led to Ely going back to the top of the league without seeing Ely play. The game in question was CRC V Wroxham at the Abbey.

It was the first footballing Saturday of Spring and when the weather improves at the tail end of the season the local non-league football starts to deteriorate, mainly because the teams I follow never have much to play for. This season is different though with Ely challenging at the top of the Eastern Counties Premier and Thetford going for promotion from the first. They both have finals to look forward to with Ely taking on Soham in the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup and Thetford facing Gorleston in the Norfolk Cup.

Yesterday CRC who are in 4th might have been excused for taking their foot off the pedal a bit, especially after a fixture full couple of weeks and playing on a particularly hot day. Wroxham on the other hand have everything to play for and are hopeful of promotion to the Ryman League.

Therefore it was a bit of a shock that CRC started as the sharper of the two teams and looked most like taking the game by the scruff of the neck in the opening encounters. However, despite Luke Allen's good work on the right wing Ryan Ingrey and Yacine Gnahore in the middle were unable to force a save from Scott Howie. Wroxham hit the target on 11 minutes, but Alex Salsano did well to save for CRC.

Wroxham, who started to get more in the game had the ball in the back of the net on 20 minutes, but the Wroxham forward was judged to have handled the ball before scoring. Wroxham were now clearly in the mood and some excellent defending by CRC on 25 minutes and some desperate defending on 36 denied the Yachtsmen from taking the lead. A minute later they should definitely have taken the lead, but the cross that came in alluded everyone and went wide.

CRC weren't finished either though and a cross from Allen was nearly met by Ingrey on 41 minutes. Wroxham had one more chance in the half, but Salsano again pulled off an impressive save.

The second half saw CRC start the way they had started the first. Luke Allen was clearly the most dangerous of the CRC players, but nobody seemed able to get on the end of his crosses. After the opening quarter of an hour CRC started shooting on site, which didn't seem to be the best approach. They were really dominating the play now though and Wroxham's first chance of the half came on 66 minutes when they blasted over.

Finally a goal came on 70 minutes when Ingrey and Allen swapped places and Ingrey's cross was struck sweetly on the volley and went cleanly past Howie. They tried the same move in the next attack and they could have easily put the game to bed, but this time Howie saved and the score remained 1-0 to the Scholars.

Wroxham haven't got where they are in the table by giving up and not fighting for every game, so it was quite surprising that CRC continued to dominate after scoring the goal. The best chance came with 9 minutes left when Allen again crossed and the ball nearly went in off a defender.

In the last minute Wroxham sent everyone up for a corner, but CRC cleared and Owen Kabodi could have scored but in his haste fouled a defender and the game finished 1-0 CRC. Ely won at Stanway and regained pole position in the run in.

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