Stanley double sees Soham move into play-off places

Luke Stanley

Luke Stanley - Credit: Archant

Soham Town Rangers 5 Witham Town 2

A Luke Stanley double and the assistance of some calamitous goalkeeping pushed Soham into the play-off places for the first time this season.

The side, now unbeaten in 10 games move into fifth place in the Ryman League Division One North, courtesy of numerous cancellations across the league due to the weather.

Witham, who had previously lost only once all season, complained before the match that the badly cut up pitch would serve as a leveller, giving the allegedly weaker Soham team an advantage.

Soham manager Steve Fallon said his side used this as inspiration, as goals from Michael Simpson, Joey Abbs, Buster Harradine and Stanley’s double saw off Witham.

Both sides had early chances but it was Soham who struck first, Stanley getting his 20th of the season in the 10th minute, heading in an Abbs cross.

Abbs turned scorer in the 26th minute when Witham goalkeeper Sam Baxter sliced his clearance straight to the forward, who smashed the ball into the near corner.

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Baxter was again at fault for the third goal when he spilled a Harradine cross in the 47th minute giving Simpson a simple tap in.

A minute later Harradine scored the fourth, managing to beat two defenders to the ball to poke home an Abbs through ball.

Witham got a consolation in the 59th minute, Lewis Godbold heading in a James Stevens free-kick.

Baxter made it a hat-trick of errors in the Witham goal in the 65th minute; his attempted clearance was blocked by Stanley and Harradine picked up the lose ball before returning it to Stanley to pass into an empty net.

Soham could have got another had Simpson hit the target when the ball fell to him inside the box; instead his shot thudded off the post.

There was just time for Soham goalie Enol Ordonez to compete for howler of the day.

Three minutes before time Ordonez picked the ball up and instead of passing to either of the free full-backs, he decided to try and beat Witham forward, Shamido Pedulu, himself.

Ordonez was made to look foolish when he was easily tackled, allowing Pedulu to pass the ball into the empty net, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of the otherwise jubilant Soham fans.

Fallon was angered by Ordonez’s mistake, saying: “There was no need for it, he does it, he’s just got to clear it”, but added: “He’d made a great save and has shown he is a good keeper.”

Other than the mistake Fallon was pleased with his side’s performance saying: “We were good all round, the goals were good, we put them under pressure; before today they’d only lost once in the league all season.”

Fallon hopes his side can keep their charge up the table going after seeing them enter the play-offs for the first time.

Already he has added to his squad, re-signing Joe Asensi after his release from Histon and signing Ghanaian winger Kojo Ofori, formerly of Leyton Orient.