The Yachtsmen travelled from the banks of the Bure to the banks of the Thames on a dull grey Saturday to play Grays Athletic, currently ground sharing with Essex Senior League club,Tilbury FC.
Wroxham dominated the early stages and it was no surprise when they took the lead on 8 minutes. a dangerous cross from the left by Travis Dodsworth was forced home at close range by Josh Harvey (photo below). It was the striker’s first league game back from injury , but sadly he was forced off around the half hour mark and replaced by Jordan Forbes.
Grays came into the game more in the closing minutes of the first half and were denied an equaliser by an excellent reaction save by Ollie Sutton. The Wroxham keeper tipped the ball upwards and the clearance was completed when Harvey Peters hooked the ball away from under the crossbar.
The Grays players claimed that the ball had in fact crossed the goal line, but the assistant referee was in no position to adjudge, and without goal line technology their appeals were waved away and at the interval, Wroxham retained their goal advantage.
Midway through the second half the Yachtsmen were presented with an opportunity to extend their lead. Joao Rangel was clearly fouled on the right wing, but the referee waved play on seeing that Wroxham had a clear advantage. The ball fell to Harry Barker who advanced into the Grays penalty area only to be clattered to the ground. The referee showed no hesitation in spotting to the penalty spot.
There was a lengthy delay before the spot kick was taken, while Barker received treatment on what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Ryan Hawkins stepped up and placed his kick to the keeper’s right; however the Grays keeper guessed correctly and the spot kick was at a height to enable the keeper to palm the ball away from the danger area. The opportunity was lost.
Within minutes Barker was replaced by Rio Abodunde and minutes later Hawkins was replaced by Michael Campbell.
The penalty save gave the home side the momentum, and the final minutes saw Wroxham having to defend deeper. The defence held firm and in fact Sutton pulled off another excellent save to deny Grays the equaliser. With the clock entering the 90th minute a shot from the right from Grays substitute, Eliot Sartorius , came through a crowded penalty area and ended in the corner of the Wroxham net.
The referee added 5 minutes but there were no more meaningful chances before the final whistle. The points were shared, Wroxham remain in 13th place in Isthmian League North.
The Yachtsmen travel to Walthamstow on Tuesday before a run of home games at Trafford Park that will hopefully see them gather enough points to move further up the league table.