Crunch clash as Willows bid to escape drop zone

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WALSHAM-LE-WILLOWS face an early six-pointer at Summer Road on Saturday (3pm) when they have the chance to pull out of the Ridgeons League Premier Division relegation zone with victory over Histon Reserves.

But manager Chris Soanes is expecting an uphill challenge. With Conference side Histon not having a game, a number of first-team squad players may be included in the reserves’ line-up.

The fixture took on added significance after The Willows slipped into the relegation zone, albeit with games in hand, following Monday’s 3-2 defeat at Great Yarmouth Town, with Soanes again left to rue costly poor finishing.

“I keep saying it, but we missed good, good chances,” he said.

“We were ahead 1-0 and defended poorly and missed opportunities to really win the game.

“I am very disappointed. Everyone is a bit rusty but then everyone is in the same boat.

“I said at half-time whoever keeps a clean sheet will win the game and they did.”

Walsham took the lead through a James Tatham header after just 10 minutes, following a flick-on across goal from a Gavin Johnson free-kick.

But Great Yarmouth were back on level terms after capitalising on a defensive error within five minutes, only for Chris McLaughlin to restore The Willows’ lead by converting a Tatham cross at the far post.

But Walsham couldn’t hold onto the lead and Yarmouth pegged them back to 2-2 going into the break after a quick breakaway goal.

In the second half, with both sides pushing for a winner, it took 20 minutes for Great Yarmouth to ultimately seal all three points at a free-kick.

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game, Soanes said: “Histon first team have not got a game and they will probably send out a strong side, but what can you do?

“With the games we have got in hand we have everything to play for. It is in our destiny, but we need to get some results.

“We have players back for Histon and a full squad to choose from.”

Walsham are set to be boosted by the return of skipper Trevor Newman, after a six-week break in Australia.

Soanes is also able to welcome back Ollie Hughes (injury) and Andy Cusack (illness), but Alan Ross (travelling) will be out for six weeks.