Driscoll’s screamer earns resurgent Willows a point
Paul Smith is hopeful that his Walsham-le-Willows side have turned a corner in the wake of their 1-1 draw away at Mildenhall Town on Saturday, writes Liam Apicella.
Winless in six outings prior to their 4-0 hammering of Hadleigh United at the start of the month, Smith’s men have now collected four points from a possible six to lift them out of the relegation zone and into 17th position in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division.
“On paper we’ve got a good squad, it’s just about getting that right blend on the pitch. They’re good players, but as a team we’ve not been putting it together,” said Smith.
“The last couple of games it seems to have clicked. We’ve shuffled about a few things, both in terms of players and their positions.
“It seems to have worked for us. We knew it was going to be a tough game against Mildenhall, but we dug in and showed some character.”
Having ridden their luck early on at Recreation Way, visiting Willows broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion with 23 minutes played. Thomas Driscoll was first to a loose ball and from 30 yards out, he sent a swerving effort into the top corner of Josh Pope’s net.
Buoyed by their goal, Paul Smith’s visitors then took control of proceedings, only to be pegged back five minutes after the restart having been unable to add to the scoreline further.
David Cooper’s corner from the left caused confusion in the Walsham penalty area and when the ball broke kindly for Rob Ruddy, he lashed it through a host of bodies and into the bottom corner.
The best opportunities thereafter went the way of Mildenhall and in particular striker Dan Brown, who dragged a shot from the edge of the area the wrong side of Craig Brand’s near post in the 69th minute.
He also raced clear with four minutes remaining only to shot wide and then, deep into stoppage time, his lobbed effort from debutant Richard Chadwick’s lofted pass skidded off target.
After the final whistle, Mildenhall boss Dean Greygoose admitted that his side’s wastefulness in front of goal had cost them any chance of claiming all three points.
“We don’t take our chances, simple as that. When teams score first against us, we lose our way a little bit and it takes us too long to get back on track. If we score first, nine times out of ten we go on to win the game,” he said.
“Last year we couldn’t seem to draw a game and this season we’ve drawn a lot, even in the cup competitions. It’s something we need to change, although I’d rather draw games than lose them.”
Mildenhall: Pope; Cooper, Butcher, Asensi, S Parkinson; Ruddy (Simpson, 62), J Brown, Green, L Parkinson (Enaro. 71); Goddard (Chadwick, 66), D Brown
Walsham: Brands; Morton, Clarke, McConnell, Peters; Pemberton, Driscoll, Curry, Call; Wood, Webb
Free Press Man of the match: Joe Asensi