Wells Town were victorious at The FDC Friday night, beating Reepham Town 2-1 to lift the Ashtons Legal Junior Cup.
An own goal, coupled with a smart finish from Joe Harrison was enough to see off a Leon Edwards header and give the Seasiders the victory despite going down to ten men early in the second half.
In an even start to the game, neither side created a meaningful chance of note in the opening stages. A deep free kick from Reepham’s Thomas Fisher was cleared by the Wells back line, and up the other end Jay Myhill’s chipped pass towards Chris Smith was well caught by goalkeeper Thomas Brett.
Lewis Bonner did well on the left-hand side to win a corner after his cross was blocked, however the set piece was easily cleared once again by the Wells defence and a counter attack cleared for a succession of corners which ultimately amounted to nothing.
Shortly after some sustained pressure around the box, Kieran Ballet had a decent attempt on goal with a drilled strike that took a troublesome bounce on the six-yard line before travelling wide of the left post.
Wells’ breakthrough came in the 18th minute and in unfortunate fashion for Reepham as Fisher, trying to clear, headed the ball into the roof of his own net after a deep Smith cross evaded Brett and was sailing toward Tom East on the goal line.
The blues continued the pressure, looking for a second, and nearly had it when Joe Harrison set back to Myhill who’s first time powerful strike flew wide for a goal kick.
Somewhat against the run of play, Reepham had the chance to equalise midway through the first half. Bonner’s low driven free kick from the left of the area was met by Lewis Render first time, and despite Richard Bond in the Wells goal being beaten, the winger’s scuffed effort zipped agonisingly wide.
By the half an hour mark the Robins had grown into the game and good play between Render and Matty Hale saw some slick passing into the final third.
Posing more of a threat as the break approached, Reepham almost capitalised when Bond failed to claim a corner, and moments later Toby Armiger headed wide from another corner.
Max Goodrum began to cause problems in the middle with his tricky feet, winning a foul in first half stoppage time after being struck down by Ross Brewster. Fisher delivered another teasing ball towards the back post, which Bond failed to hold again, however this time the Referee blew for a foul on the stopper before blowing to signal the break.
Half time – Wells Town 1 – 0 Reepham Town
The opening stages of the second half were all action as both teams tried to gain an early advantage.
Good work from Jack Barber on the right saw him pass the ball out wide to Ethan Currie who delivered a teasing cross to the back post. It was met with an Edwards head that looked to evade the goalkeeper and nestle in the far corner. However, Daniel Tuddenham had other ideas, directing the ball onto the cross bar from the goal line.Before the rebound could hit the back of the net the Referee had blown for a penalty, stating that Tuddenham had used his hand to make the save. The Wells centre half was given his marching orders and Reepham received a spot kick.
Hale stepped up to take the kick from 12 yards, and struck it well toward the bottom left corner, however the Wells Captain dropped down brilliantly to make an incredible stop.
A Seasiders counterattack from the corner saw Lloyd Briggs through on goal, however a brilliant tackle stopped the attacker as he entered the box. A Reepham counter then saw Hale set away on the right-hand side, before Brewster took one for the team in a strong foul that earnt him a place in the book.
Fisher stepped up to take the free kick once again, and once again produced a good delivery that was met at the back post by Currie, however his headed effort bounced wide.
Wells attacked quickly from the goal kick catching Reepham on the back foot, and after a quick interchange of passes, Harrison was played through on the left-hand side.
The number 9 showed good strength and pace to get to the ball first and slid it past the onrushing Brett and into the back of the net to put ten-man wells 2-0 up.
Reepham responded instantly. A foul on Render saw Fisher step up for another set piece, and this time Max Goodrum rose highest to head into the bottom corner, however Bond was on hand to make another incredible low save down to his left to tip it round the post.
Sensing that they could get back into the game, Reepham continued to push and got the goal they were looking for with half an hour to go, after yet another good set piece delivery. A long ball was played deep into the box and Captain Edwards rose high to meet the ball before the keeper, sending a looping header into the left side of the net.
Inspired, the Robins rallied, searching for an equaliser. Connor Daniels had to clear from a few yards out with Bond beaten, and then Hale had a shot deflected wide.
Minutes later a corner was met at the back post by Edwards, who directed the ball back across the box to Hale on the penalty spot. The forward chested it down but struck his volley over the bar.
The momentum was well and truly with Reepham as the final ten minutes of the game approached.
Fisher had a strike from 25 yards out that he caught wrong and blazed over the bar. Currie through on goal was then well tackled by Daniels for a corner to Reepham. With the ball bouncing of a few different heads it finally fell to Edwards who struck a shot on the spin which fizzed just wide of the post.
Daniels on Currie once again however this time fouled his man and Fisher once again delivered a great free kick into a brilliant area. An amazing fingertip touch from Bond tipped the ball away from the onrushing Reepham attack.
As the game entered five minutes of stoppage time, Wells were backs against the wall. Brewster who had already had a very good first half, was proving invaluable since dropping into centre back after the sending off. Playing alongside Forge the duo were putting their bodies on the line, and winning header after header, to keep the Reepham attack at bay in what was proving to be a very a nervy finish.
With the goalkeeper up, Reepham delivered aerial ball after ball and Wells had to make another goal line clearance to stop an equaliser. Bond then rose high to claim an important catch in the final minute, despite pressure from his goalkeeping counterpart, capping off a player of the match performance.
In what seemed to be against the odds, and against the run of play, the ten-man Seasiders held on for the final seconds securing the trophy with a 2-1 win.
Final Score: Wells Town 2 – 1 Reepham Town
Wells Town: Richard Bond ©, Liam Forge, Connor Daniels, Ross Brewster, Daniel Tuddenham, Kieran Ballett, Tom East, Jay Myhill, Joe Harrison, Chris Smith, Lloyd Briggs.
Subs: Ben Cole, Korben Willis, Brandon Ballett, Dan Jarvis, Ben Beane.
Reepham Town: Thomas Brett, Jack Barber, Lewis Draper, Leon Edwards ©, Toby Armiger, Max Goodrum, Ethan Currie, Thomas Fisher, Marry Hale, Lewis Bonner, Lewis Render.
Subs: Harrison Atkinson, Bradley Shaul, Felix Evans, Matthew McGechie, Ellery Bishop.
Referee: Ben Green
Assistants: Harvey Newstead and Matt Friend
Fourth Official: Darren Iles
Player of the Match: Richard Bond
Photography: Matt Usher