Saturday, 12 September 2015

Wivenhoe Town Reserves 1 v 2 Stanway Rovers Reserves

Tuesday 8th September 2015
Broad Lane, Wivenhoe
Eastern Counties League Reserve Division
Admission: £3.00
Programme: N/A
Attendance: 51 (head-count)
Match Rating: 3

For my final evening in the Essex/Suffolk area, it was a case of “needs must” in terms of watching a game of reserve team football to tick off another ground in the area, this time the home of a club whose first team are currently in the Eastern Counties League First Division.

Broad Lane is located to the north east of Wivenhoe, just off the Colchester to Clacton main road, and after walking through a car park, one enters the ground through a turnstile block in one corner of the ground. Immediately inside is a building housing the tea bar, board room and changing rooms, tucked behind a stand covering terrace steps behind a goal. An almost identical stand is positioned behind the other goal, stretching between corner flags. Straddling the half way line on one side is the all-seater main stand, which is a rather curious unfinished structure, with support pillars still in place either side. To one side are a few uncovered terrace steps, whilst to the other is just a path of uncovered standing below a couple of small buildings seemingly unused this evening. Along the remaining length is just hard standing. All in all, this is an interesting stadium, a little scruffy around the edges, but that helps give the place character. As one would expect, no programme or other paperwork was produced for this evening.

This game would potentially have some added spice being a derby between two clubs located at opposite ends of Colchester. Both clubs have had good starts to their season in the Reserve Division - Stanway Rovers had won three and drawn one of their opening five games, whilst Wivenhoe Town had won both of their opening two games in the league.

At the end of another warm and sunny afternoon, this game had an unfortunate start, with a Stanway player picking up quite a bad injury within the first minute. That didn't impede theme though, as they went on to dominate the first half, and the only wonder was that they did not score more than two by the time half time arrived. They saw a shot from 25 yards hit the bar on 12 minutes, and a header drop just wide on 17 minutes. They did take the lead on 18 minutes though with a lovely low strike from outside the area with the keeper slightly out of position. They had a couple of chances to increase their lead, before Wivenhoe had a goal disallowed for offside on 30 minutes. On 40 minutes, Stanway doubled their lead with a first time shot from a central position, whilst in first half stoppage time, Stanway saw a header go just wide, before Wivenhoe saw a cross hit the post, although the keeper did seem to have it covered anyway.

The second half was a more even affair, both teams trading reasoanble chances, but it wasn't until four minutes from time when Wivenhoe pulled a goal back. The keeper seemed favourite to collect a cross at waist height but he spilled the ball and eventually Lewis Blanchett fired a low shot through a crowd of players and the ball found the back of the net. Wivenhoe tried to apply pressure in the closing minutes, and two minutes from time, they were unlucky when the keeper flapped at a ball played into the box, but the ball dropped at the feet of a Stanway defender who cleared the ball, and it was Stanway who claimed the derby reserve bragging rights.

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