Ward helps unbeaten Caister to sixth win in seven matches
Long Stratton 0 Caister 3
In-form Caister made it six wins in seven games unbeaten and 28 goals scored with this Norfolk Senior Cup second round win over their Anglian Combination First Division rivals.
Like Caister, Long Stratton have started strongly and are one of the favourites for promotion so with senior players Nicky Crawley, Garrett Ward and Matt Lines all unavailable Caister knew this would be a tough tie.
Caister had to defend against the strong wind in the first half and this made it difficult to get out of their own half. Long Stratton camped in the Caister last third for long periods and won seven first half corners.
Despite the pressure Caister looked slick on the break and kept the ball on the floor to play their way out and into some dangerous positions. Quick thinking from two short corners saw chances for both Heller and Macgregor but they were denied by some outstanding goalkeeping.
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Kieran Hack had the best chance of the half but lost the opportunity by trying to get the ball on to his right foot just as the referee blew his whistle to signal the half time break.
After a positive first half the turn around suited Caister and with the wind now at their backs they could get their creative players on the ball more often in more dangerous forward positions.
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Caister dominated the second half right from the off and on 51 minutes they grabbed the lead.
The hard-working Hack found himself wide on Caister’s right and his excellent cross was met at the far post by skipper Mark Blake who powered a header into the net after joining in from left back.
Danny Heller was working his magic in front of Nichols and Johnson who gave him the license to create for Caister.
Heller tricked his way inside from the left and played an acute pass to Anton Ward, Ward latched on to the pass in an instant and smashed the ball home across the keeper with a superb finish to make it 0-2 with an hour on the clock.
For a change Caister decided to swing into the box rather than keeping things short when Tom Bevan delivered a deep cross from his right back slot, he found Anton Ward at the far side on the edge of the penalty box.
Ward controlled the ball with a neat touch and again took his chance early with only the smallest gap to aim at and at a tight angle the ball amazingly flew into the top corner. This was Anton’s eighth goal from six games.
With 20 minutes still to play Caister made some changes to tighten things up and closed out the game in style.
A solid victory for Caister against a well organised Long Stratton side who also like to play football.
MoM sponsored by Caesars Bars: between Nichols and Johnson in midfield.
Caister: Gillary, Bevan, Blake (1), Johnson, Rowley, Turner, A.Ward (2), Nichols, Hack, Heller (Barrett, 75), Macgregor (Ford, 70). Subs unused: Hollis, Macmillan.
Caister travel to Bradenham Wanderers tomorrow in Anglian Combination Division One. Meet for the minibus at 11.45 at the Old Hall, squad to be advised.