Diss Town grab later winner in five-goal Woodbridge Town thriller

Aaron Churchyard of Woodbridge (black & white) makes an aerial challenge in the Diss penalty area

Aaron Churchyard of Woodbridge (black & white) makes an aerial challenge in the Diss penalty area - Credit: Archant

There is no better feeling than scoring a late winner, just ask Diss Town.

The Tangerines netted an 88th-minute winner at Thurlow Nunn First Division rivals Woodbridge Town on Saturday, to leave Notcutts Park with all three points.

Substitute Mark Appleton was the Diss hero as he slid Jason Armes’ perfect pass into the net, leaving a devastated Woodbridge side on the floor at the final whistle.

It could have been so different for Woodbridge in what was a fascinating non-league match-up.

Two-nil down after just 12 minutes, the Woodpeckers bravely clawed their way back to 2-2, and then had plenty of chances to win the game –only to be undone by a sucker punch in the closing moments.

Third-placed Diss started the game with aplomb, opening the scoring inside a minute courtesy of captain Joe Manning. The central midfielder played a neat one-two with Armes on the edge of the box, before advancing into the area and beautifully curling into the far corner.

Mark Ray’s goals (41 in all competitions, including 10 hat-tricks) have been eye-catching for Woodbridge this season, and his powerful header nearly got the Suffolk side level just minutes later, only to find shotstopper George Macrae in the way.

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Diss then doubled their lead when the in-form Charlie Webb swept home from a corner that goalkeeper Alfie Stronge could not hold onto.

But Woodbridge soon rallied and got themselves a lifeline. Skipper Alex Greggor delivered some excellent set pieces throughout, and it was from his corner in the 21st minute, that centre-half Liam Scopes nodded in off the crossbar to make it 2-1.

Unfortunately for Diss, Webb’s afternoon was then cut short due to an injury, and it was Woodbridge who quickly seized the initiative.

Greggor’s set pieces continued to cause problems for Diss with Scopes and Ray going mightily close.

Armes and Mark Shadrack were then booked in quick succession by referee Lee Kendrick, with the latter on serious thin ice for a foul on Greggor just moments after his first card on the same player.

The second half continued to excite the 113-strong crowd. Woodbridge’s pressure grew, and they looked like they might draw level in the 67th minute when Ray, following a superb ball from substitute George Bowman, was dragged down by Jack Tipple for a penalty.

Tipple escaped a red card punishment, and was then grateful for the brilliance of goalkeeper Macrae, who guessed early and flew to his right to save Ray’s well-struck spot-kick.

But Woodbridge did get their equaliser just three minutes later -–Aaron Churchyard picking out supersub Callum Sinclair, who coolly dribbled and finished to level.

Youngster Sinclair, out injured for the previous six weeks, was a menace for Woodbridge, and it was from his pass that Ray nearly scored an 84th-minute wonder goal.

After receiving the ball on the half-way line, Ray powered his way past numerous defenders and then arrowed a left-foot shot that look destined for the net, only for Macrae’s outstretched hand to deny him.

Another run and cross from Sinclair presented Matt Mackenzie with a golden opportunity, but he could not convert, before Diss capitalised.

Shaun Hunsdon’s clever pass for Armes stretched the Woodbridge back-line, with Appleton sliding the midfielder’s pull-back into the roof of the net to sink the home side to their knees.

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