Walsham-le-Willows 2 Debenham LC 2
by Derek Bish at Summer Road
PAUL Smith was hoping to tie up a deal for left-sided player Tom Agricole this week as Walsham-le-Willows near the end of their pre-season preparations.
The Willows drew 2-2 with Thurlow Nunn League First Division outfit Debenham LC on Wednesday, with former Walsham striker James Heathcote levelling with a brace inside the final 15 minutes.
Walsham host Cornard United on Saturday (3pm) before their opening Thurlow Nunn Premier fixture seven days later at Wisbech Town.
“Tom would give us a bit extra on the left-hand side,” said Willows boss Smith. “I think I’ve got a good squad of players – we just want to get a good start and be able to go from there.
“It’s a plus we’ve been able to keep so many and get Gavin Johnson to come back to us.”
A number of regular faces, including defender Trevor Newman and Andrew Cusack, were missing from the Willows’ line-up, but they played some good stuff at times during Wednesday’s friendly with the Hornets.
In a goalless first half, James Tatham and Gavin Johnson went close for the hosts, but the former really came to life after the interval when he was pressed into a more attacking role.
It was the former Bury Town striker’s parried shot that was tucked away by Ollie Hughes for the opener and Tatham could have had two others of his own, only to be denied by visiting custodian Adam Wilson.
Matt Morton doubled Walsham’s lead from the spot after Ryan Foster had been felled by Wilson, but there was to be a cruel late twist in the tail.
Walsham goalkeeper Barry Lynn, standing in for regular stopper Duncan McAnally, was beaten twice late on by Heathcote, who was afforded too much space and showed off the clinical finishing that was missing from his brief spell at Summer Road at the beginning of last season.
“We went 2-0 up and the committed suicide really,” said Smith. “We got caught up the field, the back four weren’t organised and they hit us with a sucker-punch, but the game should have been dead and buried.”
Walsham: Lynn, Sim, Agricole, Morton, Johnson (Taylor 63), Brame (Musgrove 46), Foster, Brown (Smith 46), Tatham, Hughes, Thorrold.
Meanwhile, Thetford Town — who host Downham Town in their final pre-season game on Tuesday (7.45pm) — have lost star striker Matt Dixon to fellow Thurlow Nunn Premier outfit Norwich United.
Dixon scored 48 goals in all competitions to fire the Brecklanders to promotion to the Premier Division and the Norfolk Senior Cup final last season.
However, manager Mark Scott said he may look within his suqad to fill the void, with Steve Harley and Valter Rocha, as well as the injured Bruno Tavares, able to operate in attack.
Fellow Thurlow Nunn Premier side Mildenhall Town continued their preparations with a 2-0 loss to Bury Town on Tuesday.
Hall have decided not to keep on Tom Bradlaugh, who scored in their 1-0 win over Soham Town Rangers, while Steve Holder is set to undergo an operation for a thigh problem on Monday that should see him return in September.
The Recreation Way outfit host Stowmarket Town tomorrow (3pm), USAF Mildenhall in an international challenge on Sunday (3pm) and St Ives Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).