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Norman Conquest in Sunday Junior Cup

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Norman Wanderers Reserves are the 2022-23 Wensum Print Sunday Junior Cup winners.

Norman Conquest in Sunday Junior Cup

Norman Wanderers Reserves became the 2022-23 Wensum Print Sunday Junior Cup Winners on Friday night after beating Over Me FC 3-0 in the Final at The FDC's Harrod Sport Arena.

A goal from Ben Lewis alongside a Lewis Dugdale brace was more than enough to secure the victory, with the Wanderers putting on a dominant display against a valiant Over Me who played over half the game with 10 men. 

Over Me were forced into a substitution in the first five minutes, and lost their goalkeeper Liam Kirby to a red card just before half time.

Lewis Dugdale broke the deadlock with 15 minutes to play, followed by a second goal in stoppage time which sandwiched a Ben Lewis header. 

The opening five minutes was a scrappy affair, with both teams trying to get hold of the ball to enjoy some possession. Norman Wanderers then began to grow into the game, spraying the ball across the width of the pitch with Over Me retreating into a more defensive shape.  

A Wanderers through ball on the right-hand side went harmlessly out for a goal kick, but at a cost to the away side who were turned around, with full back Phil Ashling pulling his hamstring and having to be substituted in the opening ten minutes.

Norman began to assert their dominance on the game. A good turn in the box from Ben Lewis saw him unleash a powerful shot that produced a good diving save from Liam Kirby, Lewis Dugdale then received the ball with a great turn and danced past two players before seeing his shot blocked only moments later. Following this, Josh Polley enjoyed a chance to show his pace with a marauding run forward after a great dummy set him away, but the right back saw his cross blocked and eventually cleared.

As the halfway point of the first half approached, the first yellow card of the game appeared thanks to a late tackle by Over Me’s Joey Atkinson. Over Me then received a free kick of their own only moments later, from which a headed flick on saw a scramble in the box and Referee Craig Ellis wave away appeals for a penalty before Connor Widdows could collect.

Norman saw their second clear cut chance of the game squandered just before the half hour mark, when Lewis cut the ball back to Polley who in turn squared to Ronnie Bennett, but the number 9 dragged his shot wide left of the goal.

In a rare Over Me counter-attack, the hardworking Max Crosswell picked up the ball, fought off a defender and drove forward before releasing Asher Steward, the fullback’s long cross evaded the goalkeeper but then the goal, letting the home team off the hook as it drifted out for a goal kick.

Wanderers continued to knock on the door and almost found the goal again when a Lewis long throw took an awkward bounce in the box and was met by Craig Glen, who sent his looping header onto the roof of the net. Shortly after, a surging run from Lewis saw him thread a pass to Charlie Bartram’s feet in the box who laid it off first time to Brandon Hale, however Kirby beat him to the return pass and the keeper was able to smother.  

In another counter-attack Harley Tritton made a fantastic run forward which Captain Liam Humphrey picked out perfectly with an excellently weighted past. The number 9 looked through on goal but had a recovering defender’s toe take the ball painfully away for a corner at the last second.

In what looked like a half ending without event, the crowd were treated to some stoppage time drama when Kirby stepped up to take a free kick on the far left of the pitch in line with his 18-yard box. Not getting the distance required, Lewis was able to powerfully win a header that instantly put Wanderers on the attack with Kirby out of position. With Bennett reacting fastest, a panicked Kirby tried to step up and clear, however appeared to make contact with the attacker, halting his progress through on goal and receiving a red card in the process.

The final minute of added time saw Captain Humphrey take on the role of goalkeeper, and he was called into action straight away with Norman firing the resulting free kick onto the post. A header moments later was safely captured by the stand in keeper, much to the cheers of the Over Me fans. The Referee then signalled for half time and the game went into the break all square, despite Over Me having an uphill battle on the horizon.

Half time – Norman Wanderers Reserves 0 – 0 Over Me

The opening chance of the half fell to Over Me’s Atkinson, whose long shot looked dangerous but was ultimately claimed by Widdows without complaint.

Norman began to asset their dominance once again and substitute Sammy Tommy was proving a real handful with some pacey and mazey runs from the right. Ten minutes into the second period it was Tommy who won a dangerous free kick just outside the area after beating two players, but Dugdale’s strike was deflected wide for a corner that was eventually cleared. Tommy got on the ball again in the next moment, and once again caused problems, and this time seeing his own strike fly over the bar.

Lewis took down a goal kick and with his second touch played a brilliant lofted pass across field to Bennett who had made a run in behind. The forward let the ball bounce and opted to hit his strike first time across goal, but put too much on it and found his effort fly left of the far post for the second time of the game.  

A stoppage in play saw a drop ball situation on the edge of the Over Me area. Uncontested, Wanderers sent a high looping ball into the box which saw Glen rise highest to make contact and Humphrey had to be alert to make a reaction save. Glen was in the right place for the rebound however couldn’t direct it goalward and the Norman players watched agonisingly as it bounced out for a goal kick and another chance went begging.

Pushing relentlessly for the opening goal, Wanderers forced Over Me into some valiant defending. Dugdale sent in a dangerous free kick which took a huge hand from Humphrey to clear, Lewis then had a stinging shot blocked, with the resulting effort from Bartram blocked again. The ball was sprayed out to the right where Humphrey was called into action once again with a fantastic low save to his bottom left.

With fifteen minutes to go the deadlock was finally broken and despite repeatedly brave attempts from a tireless Over Me defence, it was Norman who took the lead and with a strike worthy of winning a County Cup Final. Dugdale received the ball on the left-hand side and struck a wonderful curling effort from 25 yards out, that evaded a fully stretched Humphrey and flew into the top right corner.

With the game approaching the latter stages, the exhausted 10 men of Over Me were spending less and less time with the ball. A late challenge resulted in a free kick to Norman and it was with this moment they would double their lead.  

The impressive Dugdale once again caused problems with his delivery and once again Humphrey was called into action, coming out and rising highest with another huge hand pushing the ball away. The clearance was not enough this time however, as Lewis was in the right place to head home the rebound into the empty net.  

Smelling blood, Wanderers continued to push, looking for a third as the fourth official raised the board to confirm stoppage time. They would make it three in the dying moments of the game with a fast-paced attack that left the tired Over Me defence in the rear view. The ball was sprayed out to the right of the box where Dugdale was unmarked and with time and space was able to pick his spot to fire past Humphrey.

The final seconds expired, and Norman Wanderers secured the 2022-23 Wensum Print Sunday Junior Cup with a deserved 3-0 win despite some incredible defending from the ten men of Over Me.

Final Score: Norman Wanderers Reserves 3 – 0 Over Me


Norman Wanderers Reserves vs Over Me – The Wensum Print Sunday Junior Cup Final                    

Harrod Sport Arena, 14.04.23, KO 7.45pm

Final Score: Norman Wanderers Reserves 3 – 0 Over Me

Line ups:

Norman Wanderers Reserves: Connor Widdows, Aaron Bartram, Josh Polley, Lee Mason ©, Craig Glen, Jake Thompson, Brandon Hale, Charlie Bartram, Ronnie Bennett, Ben Lewis, Lewis Dugdale.

Subs: Sammy Tommy, Ryan Turner, Ryan Newson, Jayden Madders.


Over Me: Liam Kirby, Sam Blount, Phil Ashling, Toby Gilbert, Kyle Jameson, Liam Humphrey ©, Jamie Platten, Asher Steward, Harley Tritton, Joey Atkinson, Max Crosswell.

Subs: Tom Snelling, James Burwood, Will Warnes, Matt Barwell, Sam Ashton.


Referee: Craig Ellis

Assistants: Scott Henn & Daniel Sadler

Fourth Official: Tim Sadler

Attendance: 252

Player of the Match: Lewis Dugdale

Photography: Ben Cunningham