REPORT: Wyke Wanderers 1 v 0 Wetherby Athletic
No More Cup Interest For Athletic After Defeat Against Wyke.
A scruffy goal in the 73rd minute was enough for the ten men of Wyke to end Athletic’s interest in the West Yorkshire League Cup this season, but Wetherby will point to their Achilles heel of the inability to convert chances as being instrumental in this defeat!
With Mike Recchia, Andy Graham, Freddie Jackson, Jamie Gillies, Dominic Creamer all absent and Brian Blewitt being names as a substitute due to injury he received against Rothwell, Manager Martin Powell had to reshuffle his deck with Darren Hooper making his return between the posts and the Straker duo of Sam and Joe (making his first team debut) starting in midfield. Anthony Walsh dropped down into defence whilst Tom Warrington led the attack, assisted by Josh Wilson.
Kicking off in bitter conditions, both teams had early chances to test the opposition goalkeeper, but Wilson found his route to goal blocked after a promising run down the right wing and at the other end, Tom Frost twice blocked Wyke shots from outside the area.
An under-hit clearance gave Athletic a sniff on goal when Wilson lifted the ball over the retreating keeper, however his aim was off and a race between the two ended when the custodian wrapped himself around the ball near the goal-line.
It was evident from the start of the game that the pitch would play its own part in this match. Both teams were having problems with staying upright with several players sustaining heavy falls when turning with, or without, the ball.
The right flank seemed to be a focal point of attack for both teams with the Strakers, Frost and Wilson all making good attempts to force a goal scoring chance, whilst the hosts also showed their pace with raids that ended in shots being deflected wide or placed over Hooper’s crossbar.
The referee, having allowed several late tackles to go unpunished, produced the first yellow card of the match after sixteen minutes when Wyke’s number four had felled Joe Straker. Three minutes later and the same player was shown a second yellow and ordered from the pitch after a reckless challenge on Paul Hustwit left the Wetherby player on the ground.
When order had been restored by Mr Brayshaw, Athletic looked to press home the advantage in numbers, but it was a corner for Wyke that came closest to breaking the deadlock when the ball was only cleared to unmarked player at the back post, but his shot arced high and wide.
Liam McEntee showed some good feet on the churned-up surface to jink past a couple of players, but his shot smashed into a covering defender and spun clear of any of the Wetherby players coming to assist.
Phil Milson and McEntee combined well in the closing seconds of the half, but despite getting a decent head to the cross, Wilson could only find the keeper’s gloves as he jumped to collect the ball.
The second half started with Milson producing another fine run down the left wing, however an overhit cross meant that Wilson was forced to veer wide and by the time he had the ball under control, Wyke had closed him down.
The game settled into a pattern of Wetherby controlling most of the play in midfield, with some nice touches by both Hustwit and Joe Straker, but having to be wary of Wyke’s counter attacks, which, although sporadic at first, proved to be decisive in the end! For Athletic, despite driving forward well, it was the final cross or shot that lacked the little bit of composure or quality needed to create a decent goalscoring chance.
McEntee was being busy down the left and his cross nearly picked out Warrington, but he couldn’t get enough traction on the pitch to be able to turn sharp enough and the ball rolled past him and was half-cleared. Chipped back into the area, the custodian showed a deft piece of footwork to take the ball away from Wilson and clear from danger.
Another good move down the left from Wilson saw him pick out Milsom, who had found himself free in the area, and his stinging shot was turned away by a superb save from the diving custodian.
Wetherby received their only booking when McEntee was carded following his reaction, after he had been brought down in full flight, which earnt the Wyke player a yellow card as well. Curling in the free-kick, Hustwit forced a melee in the area with a succession of shots being blocked until the ball was finally hammered clear of danger.
Wyke produced a flowing move of their own down the left. Reaching level with the Wetherby area, it finally took a combination of Frost and Dave McKay to rob the attacker when it looked like a pass into the middle could have produced a real opportunity.
Hooper had to be quick off his line as a slip in defence allowed the ball to go past the stricken Wetherby player, but fortunately for Athletic, the original pass had enough pace in it and Hooper was able to scoop it up with pressure closing on him.
Powell swapped his pack around in the 62nd minute when Blewit replaced McEntee who hobbled off the pitch in some discomfort. Almost immediately, the assistant manager released Sam Straker with a pass that the youngster controlled well, just as he was about to shoot, the ball lifted off the pitch and Straker’s shin connected with it instead and the shot spun horribly wide, much to the verbal delight of the Wyke bench!
The only goal arrived in the 73rd minute when good build up by the hosts saw a miskicked shot bounce past Hooper and into the corner of the net. It was one of those shots that if it had been hit cleanly, then the keeper may well have had a chance, but as it was, a goal’s a goal, no matter how it’s scored, and Wyke had broken the deadlock!
Wetherby tried to respond and came close to equalising twice when Wilson burst through, but the keeper saved well with his legs and minutes later the custodian also stopped Walsh’s header on the line, after it had bounced through a defender’s legs!
With the minutes being eaten away, Wyke were defending well and blocking most of what Wetherby threw, although they did escape a penalty claim when Blewitt and the keeper collided, but Mr Brayshaw ruled that the custodian had got to the ball first.
The last piece of action saw Warrignton try and float his shot over the keeper from the edge of the area, but rising well, the stopper collected the ball cleanly and the whistle signalled the end of the game seconds later.
A disappointing defeat for Athletic, especially with the hosts down to 10 men for much of the match. It will have been a great learning opportunity for the youngsters in the (both) team in how to play the conditions as well as the circumstances, but we do need to find a bit of composure in the final third and the goals will come! Congratulations to Wyke and good luck in the future rounds!
Report by Pete Arnett.
The Red Lion Wetherby Man Of The Match: Difficult one as the conditions made it hard for flowing football to be played by either team, but for Wetherby I thought that Phil Milson played well. Solid in defence, he also came down the wing well when needed and his shot nearly opened the scoring.
Post-Match Reaction From The Gaffer – Coming soon.