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Thursday, February 14, 2013
Spixworth’s players hope to keep riding the crest of a wave which has carried them to 19 matches unbeaten when they entertain local football powerhouses Wroxham – with a Norfolk Senior Cup final place at Carrow Road the potential reward.
The mighty Yachtsmen, who visit the club’s Crostwick Lane ground on Saturday (2pm), represent a formidable obstacle but Spixworth striker and club secretary Danny Brown says his side will not be overawed.
While the club have respect for Wroxham’s achievements, they have no intention of being intimidated by a pedigree which includes an FA Vase Wembley final appearance and multiple Norfolk Senior Cups and Eastern Counties League titles, prior to their elevation to the Ryman League this term.
Brown, who described the match as the biggest in his club’s history, added: “I think some of our younger players probably don’t appreciate how successful Wroxham have been as a village club, but we also have some experienced players in the ranks who do. It’s not going to be easy – it will obviously be an upset if we can do something and it will require us to play at the top of our game and it will require a little bit of luck along the way.
“But we have a got a really good goalkeeper, the back four is really solid and we have got players who can score goals. We have got players in our team who could potentially play at a higher level and may well do in future.”
Wroxham’s proud pedigree, which has seen them score spectacular success after taking the Anglian Combination by storm many moons ago, contrasts with their opponents, whose past includes a relatively recent struggle for survival. The current Spixworth side has evolved from Norwich Union, who were left without a home when Pinebanks closed. They located briefly to Dussindale as AFC Norwich, and were then born again as Spixworth under five years ago.
Spixworth, along with Cromer, who will entertain Norwich City Under 21s in the other semi-final, are flying the flag for the Anglian Combination, and are huge underdogs but won’t be suffering from an inferiority complex. “It is the biggest game in our club’s history,” commented Brown. “We have all been looking forward to it and working hard behind the scenes. We are hoping to get a good crowd along. “We won’t be worrying about Wroxham though – we’ll just be worry about what we do on the day.” Brown, who is no stranger to Carrow Road, having played in a Yarmouth Norfolk Senior Cup final defeat by Wroxham and a Marlborough Sunday Senior Cup win over Camden, has an extra incentive for wanting to return to the hallowed venue. “My brother-in-law Ross Durrant will be playing for Wroxham and it has created quite a bit of family rivalry,” he explained. Brown is the 16-goal leading scorer for the side, managed by his father Middy Brown, and skippered by long-serving centre back Ben Gowing. The team, currently fourth in the Anglian Combination Premier Division, has not tasted defeat in league or cups since the opening day of the season when they lost 2-0 to Acle. As well as challenging for the Sterry Cup, they also have a Mummery Cup semi-final at CEYMS to play. “To be still in the hunt for three major honours at this stage of the season, is quite an achievement,” said Danny.
Although Spixworth only have one Saturday team they have been enjoying healthy 20-plus turnouts at YMCA Trowse training sessions and competition for places is fierce. Unlike some of their rivals Spixworth’s players are playing for love of the game not money.
“We don’t pay players. We get stuck in and have to put our goals up ourselves and sometimes put the rope around the pitch. It makes you apppreciate the club more if you have to get involved and get stuck in,” said Danny.
Manager Middy Brown, who has been involved since the Norwich Union days, and is assisted by Paul Nash and Ian Sell, praised the team effort on and off the pitch at the club. “We have worked hard to get where we are. Our aim was to improve year on year, which we have. I know beating Wroxham is a big ask but everyone is going to be giving it 100 per cent and people are really buzzing.
“We are one game away from a final at Carrow Road, which at our level is like a professional getting to Wembley.
“It’s the first time I have got this far and some of the players won’t get this opportunity again, so they won’t be giving this chance away lightly.”
He added: “I am confident Wroxham will put out their strongest eleven... bring it on!”