Woodbridge fight back to earn point

SOCCER: All the news from the first weekend of action in the Jewson League Premier Division.

Wisbech Town 2 Woodbridge 2

A SPIRITED second half come back saw Woodbridge take a well-earned point from an enjoyable contest in the stifling heat of Fenland Park.

Two goals down at the interval, it appeared that the Woodpeckers faced a mountain to climb to get any rewards from the game, but their efforts and determination eventually paid off.

Hero of the day was 16-year-old Jerome Laidlaw, who scored the equaliser on his Jewson League debut with a diving header.

Earlier in the game Wisbech, relegated from the Southern League at the end of the previous season, had taken the lead in the 11th minute when a poor clearance from Dean Garnham went straight to Andy Furnell who immediately sent a superb lob over the stranded keeper. Garnham responded well with two fine saves but he was powerless to prevent Wisbech from extending their lead in the 27th minute, when Jason Fedlan was allowed to run through the middle of the visitors' defence.

The introduction of Steve Dearsley on the hour provided the boost for Woodbridge with the midfielder making his first Jewson League appearance in over a year, and in the 65th minute, Jamie Scales pulled a goal back from the penalty spot after Karl David had been fouled. Within 60 seconds, Laidlaw struck the equaliser.

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Bury Town 1 Fakenham 1

BURY surged forward from the start, but were set back on their heels when they conceded an own goal after just eight minutes.

The elusive Gilmore, a constant thorn in Bury's side, got free on the left and Newman could only watch in despair as the low cross cannoned off him past Bugg.

The deficit was quickly cancelled out. From the restart, the ball was fed through to Stringfellow whose lob over the advancing keeper Lewis oozed class.

Bury had much the better of the exchanges for the rest of the half with North giving Ramm a torrid afternoon in the blazing heat.

Time and again he got in behind the defender but, with no-one quite able to convert the final ball, there were several hairbreadth escapes for the visitors.

With 20 minutes remaining, North surprisingly departed the proceedings to the obvious relief of the visitors who then proceeded to draw man-of-the-match qualities from keeper Bugg.

Norwich Utd 0 AFC Sudbury 3

AFC SUDBURY began their defence of their Premier Division title with a comfortable and decisive victory over newly-promoted champions Norwich United.

In sweltering conditions both teams found ball control difficult on the hard bumpy surface. AFC had the ball in the net inside the opening minute, but Claydon's effort was disallowed.

They continued to keep the Norwich defence under pressure and it was no surprise when they finally earned the breakthrough after 20 minutes. Head's long throw in was played on to Rayner whose cross to the far post was headed passed Bunn by Betson.

The cheers had hardly died down when Betson broke down the left to return the compliment for Rayner to finish with a lethal half volley across Bunn into the corner of the net.

Bennett missed a good chance of increasing the lead but missed his kick after a cruel bounce before the result was put beyond doubt Claydon capping a fine individual performance with a stunning shot on the turn from the edge of the area.

Stowmarket Town 1 Dereham 0

STOWMARKET took the points from this opening game clash after an improved second half performance.

Stowmarket gave debuts to both Bobby Mayes and Glyn Roberts but the Suffolk side made a sluggish start in the Green's Meadow heat against their Norfolk opponents.

Home keeper Simon Nunn was forced into an early sprawling save as Stowmarket appeared somewhat nervous despite going into the match on the back of an unbeaten pre-season build up.

It took the home side 10 minutes before they carved out their first serious chance when Mayes sent over the first of many well-placed corners and Colin Yeomans headed over from inside the six-yard box. Mayes then fired a 17th-minute volley over the Dereham crossbar and the home performance began to improve.

Stowmarket certainly had the bulk of second half play and Matthew Platt should have put his side ahead when latching onto a Yeoman's pass, but soon after in the 56th minute Stowmarket scored what proved a vital goal when Mayes spotted Yeomans and picked out the home skipper and a perfect through ball and Yeomans did the rest, pushing the ball comfortably Bolderstone in the Dereham goal.

Ady Whatling one of the three second-half substitutes used by the home side almost doubled his side's advantage in the 77th minute when his rasping drive forced the Dereham keeper into a full length save.


Needham Market 4 Kirkley 0

NEEDHAM entertained last year's Senior Cup winners Kirkley and took and early lead when Wake headed home Sandiland's corner.

Soon afterwards Wake slotted home a penalty.

In the second period the home side added two further goals from Rickwood and substitute Pitt.

During the second period Kirkley had one shot cleared off the line by Hart and on another occasion goalkeeper Holland saw another shot bash against the crossbar and go to safety.