By Rob Binns
Woodbridge Town wrapped up 2023 with an outstanding performance, earning a 3-3 draw and a much-deserved point away to high-flying Newmarket Town.
All six goals came in the first half as Ryan Keeble opened the scoring before Isaac Maynard quickly equalised for the hosts and Jordan Foster put them in front.
Keeble was on the scoresheet again to level it up before Andrew Crowe put Woodbridge in front with five minutes left of the first half. However, Ben Robinson netted the Jockeys’ second equaliser to share the points.
The Peckers spurred a golden chance to go in front in the 13th minute when Taylor Southgate’s strike from range was spilt by the keeper allowing Armani Schaar to run onto the rebound but his effort was wide of the mark.
Two minutes later they took a deserved lead when Andrew Crowe released Schaar down the right who picked out Keeble with a low ball across and the winger controlled it well before slotting into the bottom left corner.
The Jockeys equalised in the 26th minute when Alistair Conway combined with Jordan Foster down the left with the latter pulling the ball back for Maynard who was making a late dart from midfield and he found the bottom corner.
The hosts almost took the lead two minutes later when James Seymour met a corner unchallenged at the back post but Callum Harvey hooked his goal-bound header off the line.
The Jockeys went in front in the 33rd minute when Robinson’s cross from the right was headed in at the far post by Foster after he peeled away from his man.
The Peckers equalised five minutes later when Harvey did brilliantly to ride two challenges before beating the offside trap to slot Keeble in behind the defence. The no. 7 calmly went round the keeper and tucked away his second.
They completed the turnaround in the 40th minute when Evan Bolt whipped in a delightful cross from a wide free kick which was headed into the far corner by Crowe.
It was level by half time however as the Jockeys equalised in the 44th minute from a wide free kick of their own when Robinson cleverly flicked into the back of the net on the turn.
Newmarket went close in the 70th minute when Robinson broke into space on the right hand side of the box and hit an effort that looked destined for the bottom corner but Alfie Stronge produced an outstanding low save to tip it onto the post and out.
The Peckers failed to take advantage of a huge chance in the 80th minute when Kelsey Trotter intercepted an under hit back pass to get himself one on one with the keeper but his shot was saved.
Woodbridge almost won it in stoppage time when Southgate produced a brilliant through ball to get substitute Luke Mallett in on goal but his effort was struck into the side netting.
Ultimately, a dramatic late winner wasn’t to be for either side as it finished all square but there is so much to build on from a fantastic Peckers' performance heading into Sheringham at home next weekend and the rest of 2024.
Newmarket: Young, Chivers, Gardner (Dean 87), Walter, Seymour, Williams, Robinson, Maynard, Conway, Cole, Foster Unused: Frank, Mingay, Brozowiec
Woodbridge: Stronge, Harvey, Rea (Panich 90), Southgate, Wiggins, Allen, Keeble, Bolt, Schaar (Mallett 63), Trotter, Crowe Unused: Morrison, Clark