REPORT: Wetherby Athletic (York 4) 8 v 0 LNER Builders
Wetherby Run Rampant In Superb Sunshine.
A blistering start for the Tangerines saw them claim an emphatic win over bottom placed LNER Builders that not only saw them stay top of the league, but increase their grip on the title when both Bubwith and Malt Shovel dropped points.
With the game at just 52 seconds old, Anthony Walsh picked up Chris Plews’s flick, rounded a challenge and lifted the ball over the custodian and into the net to give Wetherby a perfect start.
Wetherby’s intent was clear, attack, attack, attack and Walsh found himself in a great position with six minutes gone, however as he drove his shot goalwards, the ball deflected off an LNER defender and spun over. From, the corner, the visitors had an almighty escape when Plews’s inswinging corner seemed to come off the back of one of their players before crashing into the inside of the post and being cleared just before it crossed the line.
With Wetherby sensing another goal may be in the offing, their play suddenly became disjointed as passes failed to reach the target and LNER Builders took advantage of the breakdown. A move saw a good ball down the left allow two shots in quick succession. The first was blocked by a Wetherby defender, whilst the follow up was high of Marvin Green’s goal.
It was nearly the player-manager who doubled Wetherby’s lead when he flashed his header just wide of the far post, after some good work by both Andrew Dowling and Sam Schofield.
We Wetherby’s passing game back on track, they nearly scored in the 20th minute when Walsh and Schofield combined to allow the former to bring out a good save from the Builder’s keeper. Following up well, Alex Bairstow saw his shot blocked, before a long clearance temporarily removed the danger.
Wetherby finally got the second goal in the 23rd minute when a LNER Builder’s challenge was deemed dangerous and the referee pointed at the spot. Stepping up, Walsh set the ball low to the keeper’s right and the Tangerines were two up.
With the second goal in the bag, LNER found themselves pegged back under Wetherby’s pressure and only good goalkeeping stopped Bairstow and Walsh from scoring.
The home side increased their advantage in the 40th minute when Walsh saw his original shot blocked, but he laid the rebound back to Schofield, who placed the ball under the keeper from eight yards out.
Suddenly the goals rained in and a superb free-kick from Plews twenty yards out flew past the keeper and into the top corner.
The scoring wasn’t over and in the 44th minute and again it was a simple passing move that led to the goal. Plews released Schofield down the left and his cross was easily converted by Walsh for his hat-trick.
The second opened with Matt Connelly finding Tim Mallen on the wing. Putting in a deep cross, the sun seemed to disorientate both Schofield and Plews with the latter heading the ball straight out of play.
Bairstow was showing some lovely touches on the wing and a neat chop of the ball saw him wrong foot his marker. Driving into the area, his run was brought to a half by a crunching tackle.
Walsh spurned a golden opportunity to increase his tally in the 52nd minute when he had the simple task of just knocking the ball home from close range, however overthinking it, he got his feet wrong and lifted his shot over the crossbar.
As in the first half, Wetherby started to become a little disjointed and despite having the shots, they couldn’t find the target having done the hard work to get themselves into some great positions.
Changing his pack around, Brad Spencer was introduced for Alex Bairstow in the 60th minute.
The crossbar came to the LNER Builder’s rescue in the 67th minute when Plews’s powerful shot cannoned back off the metalwork and, despite his best attempt, Walsh couldn’t turn the rebound home.
Winning another free-kick on the edge of the area, Plews looked to repeat his earlier goal, but this time his free-kick slammed into the wall and bounced to safety.
Chris Rushworth entered the field of play in the 73rd minute, when he replaced Schofield. Straight away he tried to chase down Plews’s pass, but the centre back cut across him and knocked the ball clear.
It took until the 76th minute until Wetherby’s keeper Green was really tested. Having shown safe hands to collect several crosses, the custodian made his first real save when he dived at the feet of the LNER player to push the ball clear.
The goals started following again in the 78th minute and it was probably one of the easiest goals Walsh will ever score. Left totally unmarked, he had the simple task of steering his header past the goalkeeper from close range.
Having not learnt the first time, Walsh punished the visitors for slack marking in the 83rd minute when he placed his shot low past the keeper from eight yards out, after Spencer’s ball had come through to him.
Spencer nearly grabbed himself a goal two minutes later when a turn of speed saw him round his marker and he produced a curling shot that needed a block, just before the line, to stop it from progressing into the net.
With the clock reading 89 minutes, Walsh scored his sixth and Wetherby’s eight when he reacted fastest to an initial decent save by the visitor’s keeper from Spencer to poke the ball home from a couple of yards out.
A good win for Wetherby, made sweeter with other results going our way. At the beginning of the game, Plews pointed out that they needed to make chances count today and they certainly did that. Credit also to Green and his defence who, for the third match in a row kept a clean sheet.
Report by Pete Arnett
Wetherby Athletic Man Of The Match (chosen by Pete Arnett): There could only really be one winner of this. To get a hat-trick is impressive, but to get a double one is even more so, so well done to Anthony Walsh. However I do have to say that it was an impressive performance by all the team and in Brad Spencer and Alex Bairstow, they do have some exciting young talent playing for them.
Gaffer’s Reaction: “Last couple of weeks we have probably put too much pressure on ourselves to score goals. Today we just said “let’s enjoy playing and get the points on the board” and we did a lot better today. I thought we took a little time to get going after the first goal, but it was nice to see the goals go in! To be fair to LNER, I thought that they stuck at it, especially after the early goal, but I think once we got to 3-0 that was it really.”