Watton boss not happy with display

AFter getting a stern talking-to from manager Mike Derbyshire after losing to St Andrews, Watton are back at Dereham Road next Saturday, when the visitors are Stalham Town.

AFter getting a stern talking-to from manager Mike Derbyshire after losing to St Andrews, Watton are back at Dereham Road next Saturday, when the visitors are Stalham Town.

Time to refocus on the job of getting promoted perhaps, let alone winning the division.

After the final whistle sounded with St Andrews beating Watton Derbyshire fired a warning at his players.

“We've been off the pace in one or two league games lately and today we paid the price,” he said. “We have got to find a way of winning games like this. We had 70 per cent of the ball at least but we were, to all intents and purposes, toothless. We also didn't look like we wanted it.

“This season is not about one cup final, it's about seven remaining league fixtures and it's about time we recognised that!” he insisted.

Joint manager Vince Harwood added: “We're doing well and looking to go up and for opponents like today, who have nothing much left to play for, these games are their mini

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cup finals.”

In fairness to the visitors, the strong cross-wind, which blew for almost the entire game at Thorpe, didn't help matters. However, conditions were the same for both teams and the home side simply showed more desire to win.

Watton started well enough. Ironically, that has been a feature of more recent games and yet it was a problem at the beginning of the season. Now, United can't always seem to maintain their good openings and performances have tailed-off, particularly in the closing stages.

For the first 15 or 20 minutes this afternoon, they kept St Andrews pinned into their own half. Nevertheless, for all Watton's dominance, decent chances remained at a premium. Nichols did hit the bar with one cross/shot from the right early on and Astbury curled an effort beyond the far post later, when well-placed.

But in fact, although United's monopoly on possession carried right through to half-time, they couldn't fashion a clear-cut opportunity. Just before the break, Lomas did get clear on the right. But he contrived to send his close-range shot from an angle across the face of goal and wide. St Andrews meanwhile could point to only one effort on goal - which was admittedly very well saved by Webster - and one scrambled attempt in the first period.

However, it was they, not Watton, who came out for the second half with more purpose. And only two minutes in, they scored what proved to be the winning goal. Their No 10 chased a long ball down the left side and having picked it up, cut into the penalty area beating two rash challenges, one from Mark Woods and, with a touch of fortune, another from Lomas.

From close to the bye-line inside the Watton box, he then squared for a colleague to net from no more than a couple of yards out.

United tried to respond but seemed unable to up the tempo of their game. Broomfield and Sharpe were introduced for the visibly tired Applegate and the injured Paul Woods, with more than half an hour remaining.

But although Broomfield held the ball up well, Watton could not capitalise and were often wasteful with their final pass. Astbury, who received the man-of-the-match award by virtue of his commitment to the cause, tried to get things going in midfield.

However, as the game wore on United's play became more, not less, headless. Derbyshire and Harwood threw Sharpe forward alongside Nichols and Broomfield as Watton hunted for an equaliser. But they never truly got close and were almost caught on the break several times.

St Andrews continued to battle for every ball and to defend stoutly and United looked lost as to how to break them down. In fact, it would be difficult to say that the home side didn't deserve all three points for their hard work alone.