Nine-man Norwich United made to pay as Woodbridge grab late winner
Woodbridge Town 1 Norwich United 0
Woodbridge had to wait until the last minute of normal time to finally pierce the defensive rearguard of nine-man United as a sublime finish from recent signing Jake Rudge secured the points to move the Peckers to within three points of league leaders Histon albeit having played three games more than their Cambridgeshire rivals, writes Dave Meeson.
Cedric Anselin’s rugged visitors frustrated the hosts for long periods as they sought to break up play at regular intervals conceding a series of free kicks without further punishment until referee Quick belatedly clamped down on United’s tactics in the second half.
After the dismissals of Sam Applegate and Ben Jones it became one-way traffic with Planters’ keeper Luke Pearson making a series of fine stops to keep Woodbridge at bay before Rudge’s late intervention.
There were few clear chances in the opening 45 minutes with only Carlos Edwards and Rudge testing Pearson early on as the game was littered with stoppages and arguments.
Jones poked an effort straight at Woodbridge keeper Alfie Stronge but the visitors offered little threat as they were content to get ten men behind the ball leaving their leading scorer Liam Jackson isolated in attack.
Jones had picked up a yellow card just prior to the break and both Applegate and Dillon Alexander were booked for Norwich in the early stages of the second half. Applegate then received a second yellow on 57 minutes for hacking down Rudge who had received some rough treatment both on and off the ball throughout the afternoon.
Soon afterwards Callum Sinclair had an effort turned over by Pearson and Rudge drove into the side-netting.
Jones picked up his second yellow for a late challenge on Sean Rea midway through the half leaving Norwich two men short.
Woodbridge then piled forward and Pearson made a brilliant point-blank stop to deny Mark Ray before keeping out two efforts from Edwards.
Aaron Churchyard blazed over from eight yards out and it seemed that Norwich would hold out for an improbable point until Ray dinked the ball through to man of the match Rudge who lifted the ball over Pearson and into the corner for his seventh goal in his last four games to send the vast majority of the crowd of 156 home happy and relieved.