Ray comes off the bench to fire second-half hat-trick as ‘Peckers’ fine run continues
Walsham-le-Willows 0 Woodbridge Town 4
A second half hat-trick from substitute Mark Ray helped free-scoring Woodbridge continue their impressive recent form as they leapfrogged the hosts in moving up to fifth in the table with games in hand over most of the teams above them.
The Peckers have now found the back of the net 19 times in their last four outings while Ray, who was prolific in the previous two campaigns, has now fired home five goals from the bench in the last week.
Walsham had striker George Bugg returning to the line-up though their leading scorer Jack Brame was forced to fill in at centre-back because of an injury to Andy Cusack.
After a quiet start, Woodbridge began to press and Ellis Murrell forced a flying save from Willows keeper Steve Fenner with an effort which seemed destined for the top corner before Kelsey Trotter opened the scoring midway through the half as he pounced on a loose ball to arrow home a drive into the bottom corner for his 15th goal of the season.
Trotter then rounded the keeper shortly afterwards but the angle was tight and his effort floated narrowly wide.
Little was seen of Walsham in attack until they missed a golden opportunity on 33 minutes when Kehan Whitby drove over an open goal after Bugg’s shot was pushed into his path by Peckers keeper Alfie Stronge.
The home side had more of the game in the second half as conditions markedly worsened and Ryan Gibbs got beyond the Woodbridge defence only to screw his effort wide.
Ray was then introduced on 55 minutes and Ryan Keeble immediately sent him clear to extend the lead as Walsham appealed for offside.
Walsham continued to push forward but were struggling to fashion a clear-cut opportunity despite all their hard work and Ray then made it 3-0 when he picked up a pass from Sean Rea before turning his defender and firing home a low drive which went in off the post.
Fenne made a fine stop to deny Keeble shortly afterwards but Ray was not to be denied his third as he headed home an inch-perfect free kick from Carlos Edwards from six yards to complete the scoring a minute from time.