Reeve double is key for Watton
Watton United 3, Caister United 1
Watton's first game after the new year saw a long trip to sixth-placed Caister, and a great performance moved United further up the Anglian Combination Division One table.
In the corresponding home fixture earlier in the season, defensive errors saw Watton lose in a game more even than the 5-2 scoreline suggested.
Manager Harwood hoped that the recent good form prior to the winter break could be carried over to a blustery Allendale Road ground.
And the opening 20 minutes saw just that, with Watton players interchanging some tight neat passing which frustrated the home side players.
It was inevitable when Huckle scored the opener from a great right-wing delivery from Mark Woods.
- 1 By George! Woman digs up coin 'from reign of George I'
- 2 All aboard for a 'street party atmosphere' at railway's jubilee events
- 3 12 missing Norfolk people feature in new hi-tech campaign
- 4 A47 reopens after man seriously injured in crash following police chase
- 5 Sue Gray report finds lockdown party behaviour was 'unacceptable'
- 6 A47 closed for several hours following crash in west Norfolk
- 7 GP allowed non-clinical staff to change medications, inspection shows
- 8 'A wonderful achievement' - Carbrooke residents finally get community hub
- 9 Man seriously injured in A47 crash after police pursuit
- 10 Tesco recalls pastry product over risks to people with nut allergies
Watton had two more efforts disallowed, with Walker shooting in from 18 yards, harshly adjudged to be offside, and goalkeeper Cruikshank scoring direct from a free-kick in his own half, disallowed for pushing by a Watton striker.
To the home side's credit, they battled back, and levelled with a great turn and shot from 12 yards from Bartram. This goal buoyed the home team, with Watton having Cruikshank in goal and the impressive centre-back Deere to thank for last-ditch defending to keep the scores level.
But with home team seemingly content to go in level, Watton again broke with pace down the right, and a quick combination on the edge of the area saw winger Danny Reeve beat the keeper to the ball to loft in the second for Watton.
The second half saw Watton's defensive line, who had slipped up on a few occasions in the first half, start much better, and again well marshalled by Brown and Deere in the centre.
The home team failed to capitalise on some good possession in the centre of park.
Good performances from the returning Mann in midfield with Fincham, and Woods and Callaghan at full-back, did see Watton counter on a number of occasions up the sloping, heavy pitch.
They could have extended their lead when both Walker and Huckle stole in on the break, and with only the keeper to beat, fired wide.
On 80 minutes, Watton did score a third, with left winger Danny Reeve scoring his second at the second attempt with a great drive from the edge of the area.
A further miss from Allibone in the dying stages, and mis-hit free- kick almost deflected in by Brown in final minute could have given the away team a more impressive win.
The man-of-the-match award could have gone to a number of players who, after a seven week lay-off, showed great commitment and fitness against a battling side.
But with two goals, it would be hard to overlook match winner Danny Reeve for the award this week. A great performance, moving Watton further up the league.
Next up, Reepham Town at home this Saturday (kick-off 2pm).
n Watton Reserves hosted Hoveton Wherrymen. Earlier this season they beat United 8-2 so they knew it would be a hard-fought game.
Early on the visitors dictated the game with good skill, composure and possession. Watton realised they needed to step up to the plate and with an all-round performance resisted the opening pressure and started to come in to the game.
Strong defensive play allowed Ben Smart and Tony Hatcher in central midfield to gain more possession, bringing the home wingers and forwards into the game.
But then Hoveton put a long ball over the top of the home defence and the striker clinically finished, calmly placing the ball in the lower corner of the net past Bond.
The rest of the half saw chances missed by both teams and good saves by Bond in the Watton goal. Andy Rayner and Dandy Robinson up front for Watton attacked with control and pace, at times terrifying the away defence and must have considered themselves unlucky on many occasions not to bring the home team in level at half-time.
The second half saw Watton on the front foot attacking well but with no end product, and Hoveton's strikers seized the chance to go two up after 65 minutes when a one-on-one chance was squandered.
At times the Wherrymen were playing four up front and all credit goes to Hayward and McCullough at centre-back for keeping the score down.
This attacking style created Watton chances, and a 30-yard strike from Smart was well saved, and Rayner shot over in the closing minutes.
MoM: Harry Brown, looked solid all game at left-back and at times showed an attacking side to his game that maybe could prove fruitful later in the season.
Next up, an away cup fixture at Aylsham Reserves on Saturday (kick-off 1.30pm).