WIVENHOE Town triumphed 1-0 over their A133 derby rivals Stanway Rovers in a pre-season friendly at the MEC Stadium, writes RYAN MCCREADY.

It took just 13 minutes for the deadlock to be broken.

Against the run of play, Town won an otherwise benign free-kick wide on the left, some 40 yards from goal.

Alex Holder stepped up and curled a delectable floating ball into the middle of the area, inviting Karl Swanborough to meet it virtually unmarked and direct it painstakingly past the right side of the diving Rovers ‘keeper. The hosts took confidence from their early lead.

Josh Perry and Sam Mead made use of the beautiful, flowing passes in their armories, allowing Town’s wingers to try to find either Swanborough, Brad Morgan or later Caden Vine in the middle.

“It’s nice to see the things we’ve done in training come good on the pitch”, was Gary Monti’s assessment of their efforts.

Despite this, the visitors held firm with some very brave goalkeeping and at times some improvised defending.

Rovers were hampered at getting back into the game by injuries to two players, meaning they’ve now had three first-team players ruled out in the past two games.

Whilst frustrating with the season starting in around a fortnight’s time, Rovers assistant manager, Karl Duguid was optimistic.

He said: “It gives us the opportunity to see all the other boys and they can stake their claim for the start of the season.”

But Danny Slatter didn’t even have to wait that long. The introduction of players such as Finn O’Reilly, playing in an unorthodox attacking role, opened pockets of space all along the Dragons’ midfield and defensive lines.

As the second half drew on, Stanway subjected Wivenhoe to sustained pressure, leading to two outstanding saves and some excellent defending from a rock-solid backline in injury time.

Derby games usually yield tight results, but solid performances were the most important things for both sides.

When they play each other in the FA Vase on September 25, however, we shall see who has benefitted most from this early encounter.