REPORT: Wetherby Athletic Reserves 0 v 3 Denholme United
Reserves Crash Out Of West Riding Trophy.
Athletic’s Reserves suffered a second half collapse which, in turn, saw them exit the West Riding Trophy at the second-round stage.
Forced to name another changed side due to absent players, Player-Manager Chris Plews had to don the green goalkeeper shirt himself as Wetherby faced a side that were unbeaten in all seven of their league matches.
It didn’t take long for the visitors to test out Athletic’s resolve at the back and a ball down the middle had to be marshalled back to Plews by Chris Misir, with a striker in close proximity.
Bursting down the right flank, Chris Travena swung a deep cross towards Tom Warrington, but the youngster was unable to control the ball and was forced back to the side-line.
Denholme were cursing the woodwork in the 16th minute when their striker latched onto a well weighted pass. Hitting the ball straight at Plews, the attacker knew very little of what was happening when the ball deflected right back off him and looped over the custodian, but smashed into the crossbar before dropping, fortunately for us, back into Plews’s hands!
Wetherby were trying to hit the corners and utilise the speed of both Sam Straker and Warrington, but reading the play, Denholme shut the door on the Tangerines well and were often able to clear without too much difficulty.
It was fair to say that both teams were struggling to make any clear-cut chances and most of the play was being sucked into the middle of pitch. The visitors were enjoying much of the play, but they were finding Wetherby’s back line in bullish mood.
Winning a corner, following a safety-first approach by Matthew Connolly, Denholme fashioned a shot on goal, but the effort drifted wide of Plews’s post.
Denholme were awarded a free-kick just outside Wetherby’s area on the 34th minute, but despite beating the wall, the shot was straight at Plews and he collected without issue. Soon after, it took both Connolly and Greg Harrison throwing themselves in front of the ball to stop United from taking the lead.
With time running out in the first period, Athletic powered through the middle following some good interplay between Joe Straker and his brother before Warrington’s header was plucked out of the air by the keeper just inside his six-yard box.
A surge of Wetherby pressure saw Rob Caulton find some space on the left and his cross into the area caused a moment of indecision from the visitor’s defence, however it also did the same for Athletic and the ball travelled through the area unimpeded! Minutes later, another good run and cross from Sam Straker picked out his brother, but Joe could only steer his first time shot over the bar.
It was clear from the restart that Denholme were going to throw everything at Athletic and for the first five minutes, Wetherby couldn’t get out of their half, but again the backline held firm and the visitors were unable to fashion a clear shot.
Working their way back into the game, Wetherby found space on the left flank and another decent cross by Caulton picked out Straker senior, but again he found his way blocked by Denholme’s defence.
Working the ball down the pitch well on the counter, the visitors forced a good save by Plews when he had to leap backwards, and tip a cross-shot over his crossbar.
The opening goal came in the 56th minute from the penalty spot after a tackle just inside the Wetherby area had been deemed illegal. Striding up confidently, the Denholme player sent Plews the wrong way to score.
The goal had given Denholme the impetus and it took two terrific goal line clearances from both Misir and Connolly to prevent Wetherby from conceding again soon after.
Breaking up a Denholme attack, Wetherby countered and Sam Straker powered down the right wing. Picking out Travena, his shot was blocked and eventually cleared.
Enjoying a purple patch, Athletic were awarded a free-kick just outside United’s area. Aiming towards the near post, Misir’s free-kick was on target, but the keeper was able to reach it and turned it away. Reacting well, Wetherby crossed back into the area, but despite stretching, Travena couldn’t connect and the chance was gone.
Athletic brought on two substitutes in quick succession with Oli Kemp and Tim Mallen replacing Michael McCartney and Caulton.
Getting back into their stride, Denholme forced another good save by Plews low down at his near post and from the resultant corner, the ball travelled across the face of goal with no player able to get a decisive or defensive touch.
Wetherby produced their best chance to equalise in the 72nd minute when a deep corner was met by Travena. Heading towards goal, it took a good leap by the custodian to knock the ball over the crossbar.
With ten minutes remaining, the visitors sealed the win with a quality goal when Wetherby only managed to clear the original danger to the edge of their area. Taking the ball in his stride, a lurking Denholme player saw his first-time rocket of a strike fly past Plews and nestle into the back of the net.
Three minutes later and United had added the gloss to a good performance when a free-kick was fired in low, beating everyone, before finding the back of the goal!
With the game coming rapidly to a close, it was the Halifax based side who came closest to scoring again, but not for the first time, Plews came to Athletic’s rescue as he collected the ball down low.
Not a great performance at all by Athletic and one that now sees them out of the Trophy. Congratulations to Denholme who progress, and we wish them well for the rest of their season.
Report by Pete Arnett
The Red Lion Wetherby Man of the Match: Despite the result, there was some decent performances with Sam Straker standing out. Taking this one however was Chris Misir, who worked hard and tried to get Athletic going all throughout the match. He was also unlucky with a free-kick that saw the Denholme keeper pull off a decent save.
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