Veteran keeper Woodcock rolls back years in top-of-table derby

Blofield United 1 Acle United 1

A good crowd gathered for a derby clash between the top two sides in the Anglian Combination Premier Division. Blofield were gratefulto Robert Woodcock for stepping in as keeper at the last minute with Danny Lloyd out with a back injury.

Acle dominated the first 25 minutes playing some neat football and looking dangerous, creating three good chances. Woodcock made a fine double save from Ricci Butler and Ricky Forder after James Basey-Fisher had blocked Adam Hipperson’s shot. The flight of Daniel Foreman’s free kick deceived Woodcock but Ricky Hodds’ header went just wide, then Hipperson put Butler through on goal but Woodcock was quick off his line to block the shot.

Blofield responded with Ben Morgan winning the ball in the air, James Bulman exchanged passes with Damian Didwell before Bulman knocked it inside to Chris Holmes. He turned beautifully from the angle teasing Scott Foreman off his line but chipped the ball over the bar. In what looked like a certain goal, the ball came across from the left but Woodcock threw himself to his left to make a truly spectacular save from Butler and Steve McNicholas cleared the danger. After 37 minutes Blofield, looking to beat Acle for the time this season, took the lead.

Under pressure from Chris Holmes, keeper Scott Foreman failed to clear Peter Nobbs’ backpass and Holmes nipped the ball into the empty net. At the other end, Hipperson placed his shot over the bar from a good position after Dane Whiteley’s cross.

Acle started well second half well as Woodcock saved Butler’s turn and shot with his legs for a corner and from the corner kick Jo Manning cleared the ball off the line.

Blofield responded and Morgan’s fine ball forward was chested down superbly by Danny McKail but his fierce volley just cleared the bar. After 61 minutes Acle deservedly equalised, Hipperson crossed from the left, Woodcock went up with Darren Cockerill who seemed to fall on top of the keeper allowing Ricky Hodds time to turn and shoot into the net.

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As the action switched from end-to-end, Woodcock saved at full stretch to his right from Butler’s shot across goal, then Holmes’ shot was half-saved by Foreman and Bulman‘s pull back was frantically cleared with some thinking the ball had crossed the line.

Duncan Whitlam played a fine pass to Bulman, Morgan ran to the byline but Holmes just failed to get on the end of his cross. After 83 minutes John Bell played the ball inside to Butler who did well against Cox but Forder put the ball over with the goal at his mercy.

Blofield could have won the game with three excellent substitutions giving them the edge at the end of the match.

Whilst Hipperson and Butler gave the Blofield defence a good examination, James Basey-Fisher made some vital interceptions and the industry of Steve McNicholas and James Bulman were commendable. Robert Woodcock, 38, showed he is still one of the best keepers in Norfolk - Dave Wheeler.