REPORT: Featherstone Colliery 2 v 2 Wetherby Athletic
Wetherby Fall to The Penalty Curse.........Again!!!!
On a perfect day for football, Wetherby took to the field for a County Cup tie against Featherstone. The last meeting between the two sides produced eight goals, so the prospect of an entertaining game was always on the cards!
After a tentative start from both sides, Wetherby stepped up the pace. A neat move down the right found Jamie Gillies who shot just wide. Next a cross from the right found Liam McEntee. His first-time effort flew just over.
A last ditch save from Ryan Smith in the Featherstone goal was just enough to deny Josh Wilson, whilst a close-range effort from Gillies went wide of the far post. Twenty minutes gone and somehow the score remained 0-0.
At the other end both Dave McKay and Anthony Walsh were having a real battle with the physical threat of the Featherstone strike force, led by the excellent Kyle Pearson.
Wetherby were having the best of the game out-wide and full-backs John Tehrani and Thomas Frost were causing problems down the flanks. From a raid down the right, Brian Blewitt fired in a shot, again only to be denied by the keeper.
As the half wore on Michael Recchia was called into action and made two excellent saves, the pick being from a Thomas Carr long range free kick, which he somehow managed to parry away.
A case of history repeating itself was about to strike. As with the previous week against Brighouse, Wetherby failed to capitalize on their chances and right on half time conceded a goal. This time a quick break down the left and a looping cross to the far post found Pearson unmarked and his header was powered home.
In their half-time team talk, both Manager Martin Powell and Blewitt told the lads to keep playing the football and the chances would come. The effort and commitment were there, chances just needed to be put away!
The second half saw Featherstone go for the all-important second goal. Recchia was called into action straight away and made two excellent close-range saves. In the middle of the park Freddie Jackson and Paul Hustwit were starting to impose themselves and the game was starting to get very stretched.
A ball through the middle found Wilson near the edge of the Featherstone area. A quick turn found the number 9 in space on goal, only to receive a push in the back from his marker and straight away, a penalty was awarded. Up-stepped John Tehrani, who gave the keeper no chance and it was 1-1 and was the least Athletic deserved.
Featherstone came back and the defence of Wetherby were again put under sustained pressure. From a corner kick the ball was not cleared and as Hustwit went to tackle the ball, he unfortunately connected with the Featherstone player and a penalty was awarded. This time, it was Pearson who made no mistake from the spot.
Chances came and went for both sides, with McEntee going closest with a long-range shot. Legs on both teams were starting to tire and Phil Milsom was introduced for the hardworking Gillies.
A turn and shot from Wilson came back off the bar and as the clock ticked down it looked like Featherstone might hold on. Then as confusion reigned in the Featherstone penalty area, Blewitt was on hand to fire home from close range to bring Wetherby back level.
This is how the score remained until the final whistle. Both sides had a couple of half chances to win it, but these were not to be taken, so it remained to be decided by the dreaded spot kicks. Both keepers pulled off some incredible saves during the spot kicks, but it was Featherstone who emerged victorious 4-3.
An excellent game to watch, but for the penalty shoot-out at the end. Both sets of players should be commended for their levels of fitness on a very testing pitch. Credit must go to the Wetherby Management Team and the training sessions they run. Every Athletic player put in 100% commitment and this is what will stand us in good stead for the up-and-coming fixtures. Good luck to Featherstone for the rest of the competition.
Report by Andy Young.
The Red Lion Wetherby Man of the Match is a difficult one! Anthony Walsh and Dave McKay were excellent at the back and Josh Wilson a real handful up-top. Michael Recchia pulled of some excellent saves, but for me, Brian Blewitt just edges it for his all-round level of commitment and non-stop work rate.
Gaffer’s Post Match Reaction “I’ll keep this short and sweet. I'm very proud of every one of my players. Featherstone are a big strong outfit who put us under pressure from the off. But we stood up to them and competed for every ball. A very good game of football, sadly decided by penalties in the end. We continue to create chances and this is a positive. Featherstone will be in the shake-up come the end of the season and this proves we can compete with this strength of team. We will now focus on Aberford in the League next week, which again will be a difficult game.”
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