Blast from the past
Andrew Cornell looks back at Blues’ games on July 17th
Only two games previously on this date but the only one that matters was in 1999 when after 18 months of exile Blues played the first game at Woodside Park/Prokit Stadium.
The plumber was working until 1am on the morning of the match, the programme was being put together at 3am and an hour before the match there was still work to finish the perimeter fence but the match went on and 918 fans welcomed attractive opposition in a Norwich City side that included six players with international experience.
In an entertaining first half it was Blues who created the first chance when Martin Hayes and Tony Comerford combined to set up Troy Braham, but his shot hit the side netting. Minutes later Hurracia Willock slid a ball through the Norwich defence for Danny Benstock to chase but Robert Green in the Norwich goal read the situation well and gathered easily.
As Norwich found their way back into the game, Blues new keeper Jason White began to impress. First he did well to block a shot from Norwich’s Frenchman Cedric Anselin, Darren Terrington heading the ball over from a seemingly unmissable position and then he did well to hold a shot after Carl Fannon had slipped.
As the game flowed with some neat football, chances were created at both ends. Alex Riches touched on a Paul Clark pass to Danny Benstock in open space who in turn found Hurracia Willock. Unfortunately he was unable to control his shot and the ball flew over the bar. A minute later Troy Braham saw a 25 yard effort saved by Robert Green.
It was fitting that the first goal at Woodside Park should be scored by the Blues and it came on 24 minutes. A mistake by Norwich full-back Che Wilson allowed new signing Alan Wilson from Canvey Island to shoot from the edge of the box. The ball looped over the head of the stranded Green to set up the first goal celebrations at the new ground.
Five minutes before the break Kevin Parker beat the Blues defence and faced a one-on-one with Blues keeper Jason White. man-of-the-match White was up to the task, timing his run to perfection and gathering at the feet of Parker to prevent a Norwich equaliser.
Both managers made a number of changes in the second half with all three goals being scored by substitutes. Blues doubled their lead on 70 minutes when Matt Waldron confirmed his great potential by beating two defenders before drawing the keeper and then placing the ball in the far corner for an early contender for goal of the season.
Northern Ireland international Adrian Coote pulled one back for Norwich on 75 minutes, sliding in at the far post to convert Adrian Forbes’ right wing cross, and then with two minutes to go he sent a looping header over Blues young keeper Mark Harman to give the visitors a somewhat fortunate draw.
Despite that late setback Blues manager Steve Wheeler was pleased with his team’s performance against such a strong Norwich side, and will be looking to build on that result during the rest of the pre-season period.
2007 Waltham Forest 1 BSFC 2 – Friendly
1999 BSFC 2 Norwich City 2 – Friendly