Saturday February 23rd 2013, KO 15:00 at Trafford Park.
Isthmian League D1 North, Wroxham (Royal Blue/Royal Blue) 2-0 Brentwood (Claret/Claret).
Admission £7, programme £1, attendance 85, badge £2.50.
Whilst I collect football grounds and ale brewpubs, Ros likes to photograph cathedrals, as well as visit NT and English Heritage buildings.
Mid Winter I told Ros of my spring ‘Palace free’ weekends, and having selected Manchester as my weekend away option for March, Ros chose Norwich. Priniciply because she’d never visited the city before but more importantly because she needed to add its cathedral to her tick list.
I was more than happy as I still needed Great Yarmouth and Wroxham FC, but decided on NL Step four Wroxham as it was only a ten-mile and twenty-minute drive from our central Norwich base.
We’d booked into the Riverside ‘Premier Inn’, arriving at half one as the fans of Norwich and Everton were starting to roll up at nearby Carrow Road for their Premier league fixture.
Having visited this homely atmospheric ground many times over the years for Palace fixtures I had no particular interest in this game unless of course there had been a scheduled 17:30 kick off, thus allowing the possibility of a double which would have been very do-able, they didn’t. So the sat nav was programmed with the post code of Wroxham FC.
Wroxham is actually nothing more than a small village, pop 1,532 at the last census. But it is a significant holiday destination, being on the edge of the ‘Norfolk Broads’ and has been referred to as the ‘capital of the broads’. It is home to boat building and boat hire. The club itself is situated down a quiet lane on the edge of the village and are playing their first season at this level having spent most of their recent history in the Eastern counties league.
A Wembley FA Vase final appearance in 2010 clearly upped their level of ambition, even though a 6-1 defeat on the day to Whitley Bay must have been a shock to the system. 1,262 attended their vase semi final that season, the record crowd, but today significantly less were enthused to attend Trafford Park on a cold but dry winters day.
Visitors Brentwood from Essex were facing a backlog of fixtures due to an extended run in the cups, and could look forward to at least two games a week for the rest of the season.
Looking at the pre-match league table, Brentwood had a very slim outside chance of the play offs if they were able to win many of their remaining fixtures. For Wroxham it was more about winning enough points to secure another season of Isthmian league football.
Trafford Park was a little disappointing to my eye, yes, a nice litle stand with Wroxham FC picked out on the fascia, some new covered terracing (not high enough) behind the goal to meet the ground grading. But I would add they did have a lovely spacious clubhouse, which at half time was laid out with tasty looking home-made cakes, and some other home-made pastry concoctions “What are those” I asked, “Meat Pies” the answer from the young lady, hmmm I thought, strange, CD shaped, flat (ish), stopping myself from asking if the meat would be of the horse variety, I ordered one up, and very tasty it was too! My research since has not revealed the pie as a special Norfolk variety, so one can only assume that they sank in the oven, no matter, try one if you visit.
The game itself never reached any great heights, although I thought Wroxham thoroughly deserved to run out winners against a jaded looking Brentwood. The Yachtsmen going ahead just before the break, after a corner was delivered into the box and Andy Eastaugh bundled home, 1-0 HT.
After some early second half pressure from the visitors, without really creating a great deal, Wroxham gradually came back into the game, and eventually sealed it with a superb left footed fifteen yard strike into the top corner from Ben Thompson, 2-0 Ft.
An enjoyable day was rounded off supping beers from the Norwich Bear brewery, before scooping three Henry Moore’s at Norwich Uni on the way home via Banham zoo on the Sunday.