REPORT: Wetherby Athletic Res 1 v 2 Whitkirk Wanderers Res
Last Minute Goal Sinks Reserves!
A goal in the dying seconds of this match condemned the Reserves to their second defeat in a row by the same scoreline.
Whilst a draw would have been a fair result for both teams, credit has to be given to the visitors who didn’t give up and ultimately claimed their reward in the fifth minute of added time.
The match started with Athletic in the attack and within seconds, Chris Plews had picked out the run of Tom Warrington, but the winger pulled his shot across goal and the ball travelled out for a corner.
Straight back on the attack and Whitkirk’s custodian showed safe handling to out jump and claim the ball under pressure From Anthony Walsh and Sam Straker. Moments later he also produced a good block to deny an attempt on goal following Plews’s free-kick.
Showing their speed on the counter, Whitkirk came down the right wing, but the cross was short and Walsh stooped to head clear.
The opening goal arrived in the 10th minute and it was Warrington who was celebrating as he turned in Liam McEntee’s low cross from close range.
Whitkirk won a free-kick in a dangerous area and again it was Walsh who came to Wetherby’s rescue as he deflected a fierce drive behind.
Breaking clear from a Wetherby corner in the 18th minute, Whitkirk moved the ball down the right flank at speed, riding two sliding tackles from Athletic’s defence, the striker stayed on his feet, rounded Mike Recchia and fired home.
The Tangerines were having the better of the ball in midfield and McEntee nearly set up Plews, but a defender intervened at the crucial moment and then minutes later, McEntee and Warrington nearly combined in a carbon copy move of the first goal, but despite lunging for the ball, Warrington couldn’t reach it.
Wetherby had a golden chance to score in the 36th minute when Plews’s ball was pulled back by Warrington, shooting goalwards, Walsh’s shot bounced off a defender into the path of new boy Oli Kemp, but his shot just cleared the crossbar.
With the first half entering the last five minutes, Athletic survived a game of pinball in their area. Recchia pushed the original free-kick wide only to have it fired straight back in, however the ball struck Michael McCartney and fell to a Whitkirk player who inexplicably produced an air shot when positioned right in front of goal.
The half-finished with Walsh rattling the post when he headed Plews’s free-kick against the woodwork, following a foul thirty yards from goal.
Whitkirk started the second period on the front foot and it took a wonderful diving save by Recchia to push a dangerously dipping free-kick wide. Straight away the visitors were on the ball and an angled drive cannoned off the crossbar and bounced back into play with the Wetherby backline caught flat-footed.
Warrington was being involved in most of Athletic’s attacking moves and he picked up a pass from Walsh. Striking the ball well, Whitkirk’s keeper managed to get something on the shot to take the sting out of the drive and in the end managed to drop onto the ball.
Wetherby were having a good spell and another good pass by Plews released Walsh, striding into the area, the striker was being urged to shoot by the crowd, but he tried to cut past his marker and he lost the ball as the defender got a foot in to disrupt the play.
It wasn’t hard to see how the visitors had scored so many goals on their travels and it took another great tackle by Matthew Connolly to dispossess their striker as he looked to burst straight through the middle.
Both teams had decent shouts for penalties turned away by Mr McHale, first Wetherby were left aggrieved when a claim for handball in the area was brushed aside. Going down the pitch, Whitkirk were then left fuming as they adjudged a tackle in the area to be overzealous in its application.
Wetherby made their first change in the 60th minute when Andy Dowling replaced Walsh. Minutes later Plews came off as well to be replaced by his son, Brad Spencer.
Wetherby had a let off in the 69th minute when a deep Whitkirk corner was headed back into the area, spinning his marker, the visiting striker pulled his shot just wide off Recchia’s far post.
You got the feeling that despite trying, Athletic were just not going to get a second goal! Warrington produced some great footwork to force a good save from the keeper. Collecting the loose ball, McEntee drove a shot that just missed creeping in at the far-post by inches!
Recchia was becoming the busier of the two keepers and he showed his speed off his line to out sprint the forward to clear the ball. Minutes later, he dived full length again to push a shot wide, before showing his agility again to drop on a low cross before it reached its target.
The 80th minute nearly brought a goal for Whitkirk, but despite lifting the ball over Recchia, the striker could only watch as his effort dipped over the crossbar as well. Soon after a free-kick from ten yards outside the area joined it as well.
Forcing a corner in the last few minutes of normal time, McCartney headed just wide under pressure, before a similar outcome also occurred for Whitkirk as a free header was watched out by Rob Caulton on the post.
With both teams urging the official to blow the final whistle, Whitkirk snatched all the points when another corner wasn’t marked properly and the header looped over Recchia and dropped into the goal. Wetherby claimed that their keeper had been fouled in the build-up to the corner, but again, Mr McHale waved the protests away.
Well done to the visitors as they proved persistence does pay off, but this is a match that Wetherby will look at and think what if!
Report by Pete Arnett
The Red Lion Wetherby Man of the Match: Goalkeeper Mike Recchia takes this one for some breathtaking saves and safe handling. Goalkeepers are often blamed for teams losing, but this time Recchia was the reason why the scoreline wasn’t a lot worse.
Special mention also to Matthew Connolly who produced some excellently timed tackles to deny Whitkirk.
Post-Match from the Gaffer: “I thought it was a good game and the commitment from everyone was 100% better. Everyone really put a shift in and I can’t really fault the lads at all. We have some really young lads out there with two nineteens, a sixteen and seventeen year old playing, if they stick together, they will be ok. I think we just ran out of legs in the end and I thought it was a good header that won it. Whitkirk, along with Huddersfield were easily the best two teams we have played this season.”
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