Fighting Fenmen spirit: Appleby proud that Wisbech Town can ‘win ugly’ after FA Vase battle

08:00 23 November 2012

FA VASE:  WISBECH TOWN VS ST IVES TOWN

FA VASE: WISBECH TOWN VS ST IVES TOWN

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MANAGER Steve Appleby knows Wisbech Town can play pretty football - but this week he voiced his pride at their ability to “win ugly”.

The goal that never was

IT is a debate which rages at all levels of football - did it cross the line?

St Ives were furious on Tuesday when the officials deemed that the ball had not crossed the line during a 63rd-minute scramble in Wisbech’s goalmouth.

Saints joint boss Jez Hall said: “It was in by a long way. We were talking to the officials and the goalkeeper said there were two balls at least over the line... if not three.

“He actually said the ball went over the line twice. The first one went over and he dragged it back - and the other one has gone in and it was like a yard over.”

Fenmen boss Steve Appleby said: “We didn’t get any luck at all on Saturday but we got a stroke of it there. That’s football.”

The Fenmen ensured Appleby’s 1,000th day in charge was a memorable one on Tuesday night as they saw off a battling St Ives Town in their FA Vase replay.

Goals from Dubi Ogbonna and Deakan Napier clinched a 2-1 victory and set up a third round trip to West Yorkshire side Thackley on December 8.

Wisbech looked the better side during Saturday’s 2-2 draw but in Tuesday’s replay they had to give everything to withstand the Saints’ onslaught.

“I’m well chuffed,” said Appleby. “Fair play to St Ives, they showed they’re a good side. We showed the other side of our game, which sometimes I’ve wondered whether we had.

“We’re a good footballing side and we like to play but we have shown we can battle. We can dig in, win ugly and wear our tin hats at times.

“It was a fantastic battle. They were two great games and thankfully we’ve come out on top.”

David Cobb’s stunning 45th-minute half volley set up a grandstand second half for 446 fans at a rain-soaked Elgood’s Fenland Stadium as the visitors pushed on.

But the Wisbech defence, inspired by the return of captain Cousins and the in-form Neal Spafford, stood firm. There was also an eye-catching performance from midfielder Steven Reid, who returned in style after a disappointing display on Saturday.

“Steven Reid showed what he is all about,” said Appleby. “He couldn’t wait to put things right after Saturday. I thought he was probably our best player.”

It was Reid’s pass that provided Ogbonna with his goal - against a side who are still hoping to sign him. St Ives made a seven-day approach for Wisbech’s top-scorer on the eve of the game but Appleby is confident of keeping hold of his hotshot.

He said: “If Dubi is turning down Wroxham, with the money they offered in a higher league, then I can’t see him going to St Ives.

“He’s also still got the chance of playing at Wembley with us.”

Wisbech face another massive challenge tomorrow as they travel to Thurlow Nunn Premier Division title rivals Mildenhall.

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