REPORT: Wetherby Athletic 8 v 0 Carlton Athletic
Wetherby Battle Bravely Despite Heavy Defeat!
In what Manager Mark Forster described as a “black day for Wetherby", the Tangerines took to the pitch with only ten men, after absences had prevented them from kicking off with the normal amount of players.
It might appear to the casual observer that Carlton had a stroll in the park for ninety minutes, but only the spectators will know the effort that Wetherby put in, especially when they were reduced to nine men following an injury to Josh Forster after twenty seven minutes (it never rains, but it pours!!!)
Without much surprise, the league leaders set about Wetherby from the off, looking to secure an early lead. A break down the right wing saw the ball crossed to just outside the area, where it took a brave block from Andy Graham to stop a blue shirted player from getting a shot away cleanly.
Another piece of good defending from John Tehrani, Josh Foster and Graham again prevented Carlton from taking the lead in the third minute, when they stood their ground and stopped the visitor’s from being able to get into the area.
Despite the defence trying to hold firm, Carlton opened the scoring in the fifth minute when Mike Recchia produced a good diving save from the initial shot, but the ball dropped kindly to the onrushing player, who shot high into the empty net.
Wetherby swept the ball down the pitch and debutant Jonathan Brown fed the ball into Josh Wilson’s path. Turning his man, he crossed back into the area, but the ball fell into Carlton’s path and they cleared.
Carlton turned on the pressure again, but this time the foot race was won by Recchia who was able to scoop up the ball, despite pressure from the striker.
Aiming to use Brown’s pace, Wetherby tried to release him on several occasions, but Carlton’s defence were afforded the luxury of being able to put an extra man on him and despite several close exchanges, Brown often cut an isolated figure.
Again Carlton came forward, but Graham was marshalling the defence well and Matt Forster was able to get a strong challenge in to knock the ball away.
The visitor’s doubled their advantage in the 19th minute and it was a simple pass through the middle that was flicked out to the left hand side of the area. Turning well, the Carlton player fired hard past Recchia.
A fortuitous rebound nearly cost Wetherby when the ball bounced off one Carlton player into the path of another, however not for the first time, Recchia saved low down to his right.
Things got worse for the Tangerines in the 27th minute when Josh Forster fell heavily into his right knee following a challenge. Shouting out in pain, it was evident straight away that the midfielder was in trouble and the sight of him limping back to the dressing room, accompanied by his father, confirmed that his involvement in the game was over.
Reshuffling themselves, Brown went into defence, leaving Wilson to do the running at the front and it was the youngster who nearly pulled one back when Dave McKay’s ball was misjudged by Carlton’s defence. Sprinting towards goal, a last ditch tackle by the visitor’s right back pushed the ball to safety at the final moment.
With minutes left on the clock, Horton tried to play Wilson through but Carlton intercepted and fashioned a quick counter. Taking on Matt Forster on the inside, a shot at the near post was well saved by Recchia and seconds later the keeper had pulled off a great double save as he pounced on the follow up header.
Needless to say, it was Wetherby backs against the wall and the second half started with Recchia producing another save to push clear a fierce shot from the edge of the area.
Wetherby were awarded a free kick fifteen yards outside the Carlton box, which allowed the orange shirts a bit of a breather and from the first Horton effort that was cleared, the ball fell back at his feet and this time it required Carlton’s keeper to show safe hands as he went low to collect the shot.
Carlton were awarded a penalty in the 51st minute when one of the players was clipped from behind as he strode into the area. Powering the ball to the left, Recchia dived the other way and the score was 3-0 to Carlton.
A narrow offside decision against Wilson prevented the front man from going one on one with the Carlton keeper. It was a decision that frustrated several of the Wetherby contingent watching as they clearly, and vocally, believed that he had started his run from behind the last defender!
Graham had to produce another great block to prevent Carlton from scoring in the 57th minute. Straight away from the corner, it took a great header from McKay to clear Wetherby’s ranks.
One thing that nobody could deny was the effort that the Tangerines was putting into the game. Yes they were being out passed and out manned, but they were not being out played and each orange shirt was certainly putting in a shift.
Winning another free-kick, Wilson nipped in to rob his man of the ball, but again, just as he looked to pull the trigger, he was dispossessed by a sliding tackle.
Carlton added to their score in the 63rd minute when the ball was crossed low into the area with pace. Sliding in with Graham, the Carlton player got to the cross first and steered it past Recchia.
Following a clash, Brown had to leave the pitch for a couple of minutes whilst he received treatment for a cut above his eye which was bleeding.
The fifth goal arrived when a high ball was well controlled and despatched past the advancing Recchia in the 73rd minute. It was soon six when, minutes later, a freekick was headed home from six yards out by an unmarked Carlton player.
Wetherby continued to try and play and some nice passing in the middle of the pitch released Horton. As he got to the edge of the area, he released a low shot that was just too close to the keeper and he was able to make the save.
It was another deep cross that proved to be Wetherby’s undoing in the 86th minute and in a carbon copy of goal number six, a free header flashed past Recchia and into the net.
Carlton’s final goal arrived in the 88th minute and there was an element of offside as the front man lurched forward, however a deft chip sent the ball dropping over the retreating Recchia and into the open goal.
Not Wetherby’s finest day in any shape or form, but for those that watched the game, the admiration for the ten players that took part went up another couple of notches.
Report by Pete Arnett
Wetherby Man Of The Match (chosen by Pete Arnett): I don’t like normally doing this, but to be honest all the team deserve this! They battled, they fought and they never gave up chasing. Despite being reduced to nine men, they never let their heads drop and they kept on going, even when tiredness took hold!
“I thought all the players were magnificent today, the spirit that they showed was first class. What happened today was a black day for Wetherby. It might also be the first time that we failed to put a full side out, it’s shameful. I’m so proud of those lads out there today who have turned out to play and some have spent an hour getting here!
It’s difficult to say anything about the game really, we ran our socks off. Players ran and ran and all of them put a shift in. I thought to be just 2-0 down against the best team in the district at half time was a phenomenal achievement, especially as we were down to nine men! The second half we tired and Carlton took advantage of that and towards the end we struggled, but we kept on trying and I can’t praise them enough.”