REPORT: Tadcaster Magnets 1 v 1 Wetherby Athletic
Athletic Knocked Out Of Challenge Cup Following Penalty Shootout.
The lottery of penalties proved to be unlucky for Athletic as they crashed out of the Barkston Ash FA Challenge Cup and derailed any hopes of retaining the cup for a third season running! However, The Tangerines will be left greatly ruing the chances that they wasted throughout the ninety minutes!
The game kicked off with Jamie Gillies breaking the Magnet’s offside trap, but his pull back was deflected wide for a corner. From the resultant kick, Anthony Walsh controlled the ball, spun well, but placed his shot over the bar.
A long pass by Brain Blewitt picked out Phil Milsom on the left wing, holding his man off he rolled the ball to Josh Wilson, but his shot cannoned into the body of a defender and was cleared.
Wetherby were using the wings well and crosses by both John Tehrani and Milsom set up half chances, but Tadcaster defended resolutely and managed to produce blocks at crucial moments.
Tadcaster’s Phil Smith received a driven pass and tried to jink past Andrew Graham, but Graham showed his experience and made sure the striker didn’t get into the area.
Magnets took the lead after ten minutes and it was a super goal! Pouncing on a loose ball from Wetherby’s defence, a shot from distance by Matthew Howgate flew past Mike Recchia and into the top corner.
Wetherby nearly replied instantly when Gillies showed great control to bring down Walsh’s pass. Riding a challenge from the final defender, he took the ball past the keeper, but in doing so was forced wide and his shot crashed into the side netting!
The weather was starting to cause problems for both teams and the heavy rain was making it hard to judge passes. A long free-kick by Tadcaster’s keeper needed Recchia to take charge in his area with Smith closing him down.
Despite having most of the possession, Athletic were being wasteful in front of goal, although credit must go to Magnets’ backline who were willing to throw themselves at every shot and another superb block denied Gillies just before Walsh and Wilson couldn’t connect to a teasing cross by Blewitt.
With the game entering the half hour mark, possession switched, and Magnets looked the more potent of the two teams. A well worked move down the right needed Graham to concede a corner at the near post and then it was Tom Frost’s turn to block a shot as it crept in low.
The sense of goalscoring problems increased for Athletic when Wilson missed a golden chance to equalise. Doing the demanding work with ease, the youngster brought down Gillies’s pass and rounded his marker before totally screwing his shot off the side of the pitch for a throw in!
Turning up the pressure again, Magnets forced three corners on the bounce, but despite coming close, Athletic held firm and the ball stayed out of the net.
The rain had been replaced by a strong cross pitch wind for the second half and straight away both teams were left scampering for passes that had been completely blown off course.
It wasn’t too long before Athletic fashioned another chance when Walsh unleased a long low shot that the keeper just managed to push around the post.
Tadcaster worked the ball down the right and a chain of passes across the area ended when Tehrani slid the ball clear of the final man and out of play. Straight from the throw in Tadcaster threatened again, but Athletic’s defence forced them back.
Streaming down the pitch after Tehrani’s pass, Wilson pulled the ball back for Milsom who shot goalwards only to see another white and green shirt block his effort.
With play switching ends more often this half, Frost needed to produce a stunning block at the near post when Tadcaster broke through Wetherby’s rearguard.
The first substitution for Wetherby occurred in the 62nd minute Milsom was replaced by Freddie Jackson.
With all the chances that Wetherby mere making, it still came as a relief when Wilson finally scored the equaliser in the 64th minute. Winning a tackle in his own area, Tehrani nut-megged his marker before releasing Wilson with a superb pass down the right wing. Cutting in, Wilson beat his marker and rounded the keeper who came out to meet him. Shifting the ball onto his other foot, he buried it into the back of the net, despite the attentions of a player near the line.
Wetherby had a penalty shout turned down when Jackson was appeared to have been caught from behind as he strode into the area. Waving away the protests, the referee soon had to sprint as Tadcaster fashioned a great chance for themselves which saw Recchia at full stretch to turn it wide.
A free header by Graham at the back post nearly paid dividends for Athletic, but the captain’s effort bounced off the floor and just over the crossbar, landing on the roof of the net instead.
Recchia was the hero again for Wetherby as he produced a full-length dive to his right to holds onto a stinging drive following a corner.
The second sub for Wetherby occurred with seventeen minutes of the game remaining. This time it was Liam McEntee who entered the fray, replacing Joe Whiteley who had a decent game in midfield.
Wetherby couldn’t believe it when Tadcaster produced yet another block to deny Gillies an easy tap in! Wilson’s original shot had been parried by the keeper and following up Gillies hit the ball well, but a superb sliding block forced the ball over the bar.
It looked like Athletic had been given the best possible chance of sealing the game in the 87th minute when Gillies was unceremoniously bundled over in the area. Pointing straight at the spot it was Gillies himself who took on the responsibility, but his low shot to the left was beaten clear by the keeper.
With a minute to go Wetherby won a corner which saw the ball pushed onto the crossbar, Walsh then headed to Graham who shot from three yards out, only for the ball to appear to strike the raised hand of a defender on the line, however the referee was unmoved and Tadcaster cleared the ball.
Following six minutes of extra time, the game was eventually ended, and penalties became the focus. With the first four successfully converted (Tehrani and Gillies), Recchia then pulled off a great save to his right to hand Wetherby the advantage. However, McEntee and Wilson both shot over the bar and with Tadcaster successfully converting their two spot kicks, it was the white and green hoops who were celebrating.
Well done to Tadcaster who dug in deep and frustrated Wetherby. A cracking goal by the hosts should have woken us up, but we wasted too many chances and in the end, we paid the price. We wish Tadcaster the best of luck in the next round.
Report by Pete Arnett.
The Red Lion Wetherby Man of the Match: Despite the result, there were some good performances, but the standout for me was Paul Hustwit. Paul is a player who breaks up attacks and gets the ball rolling so well and he did it multiple times today and his driving runs caused Tadcaster plenty of problems. Special mention to John Tehrani and Josh Wilson who also had good games.
Post-Match Reaction from the Gaffer: “Bitterly disappointed with the result and overall performance. We had enough chances in the game to be leading comfortably but we must start learning to take our chances and be more clinical. It’s a positive to be creating so many chances but if we don’t take them then you get punished like today when in theory the game should have been over before the penalties.”
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