REPORT: Wetherby Athletic 3 v 3 Robin Hood Athletic
Heartbreak For Tangerines Deep Into Stoppage Time!
It was heartbreak for the Tangerines after a goal deep into stoppage time robbed them of a vital three points, especially as the strike had a strong element of offside about it!
With both Matt and Josh Forster unable to play today, coupled with Andrew Graham and Jon Maloney being both unavailable, Manager Mark Forster introduced new signing Matthew Bower to the team as he partnered Jonathan Brown and the returning Josh Kirk in defence in a new 3-5-2 formation.
Wetherby went straight at Hood from the kick-off and some smart play down the left wing saw Josh Wilson and Kirk combine. Feeding a deep cross into the area, Kirk tried to find Arran Horton, but he was beat out of contention by a firm header from a Hood defender.
It wasn’t long before the visitor’s found their feet and a lovely delivered free-kick from the right wing needed Mike Recchia to produce a good save to knock the ball over.
Robin Hood were producing some nice pressure all over the park as Wetherby were still coming to grips with the new positions. However, despite looking for the final ball, the Wetherby backline proved to be just as strong and Brown and Bower both made crucial tackles.
A quickly cleared corner by Rob Etherington was played out to Kirk who made a 50 yard run down the pitch. Trying to pick out Wilson, the pass ended up in a foot race between the striker and keeper, which the custodian just managed to win.
Robin Hood took the lead in the 8th minute with some nice football. Winning the ball in a challenge on the right side of the area, a cross area ball found an unmarked player on the left of the box and he drilled his shot past Recchia.
Some fluid passing by Hood saw them try and break into the Wetherby area again, but just over playing the final ball allowed Recchia chance to claim the ball.
Wetherby’s stopper came to the rescue again with a wonderful save after a free kick had eluded the wall. Sticking out a foot, the Hood player looked to have steered it into the goal before Recchia dived full length to save the ball.
It was 1-1 in the 16th minute when Wilson sped onto Horton’s high pass. Controlling the ball well, he curled his shot from the edge of the area past the keeper and into the net.
Not surprisingly, Robin Hood tried to establish their advantage from the restart and it took a good show of strength from Bower to prevent them from profiting from a corner.
Wetherby were using the pace of Wilson well and it was obvious he was the main focus of the Tangerines attacks. Within the space of a couple of minutes, he nearly had a second, but each time, Robin Hood’s keeper came to his sides’ rescue.
A dangerous free-kick for the visitors was blasted straight at Recchia, before Brown showed his superb reading of the game, by stepping forward at just the right time and intercepting a through ball.
With nine minutes of the half left, Wetherby caught Hood on the hop with a quickly taking free-kick. Lining up his shot, Horton let fly from distance, but Hood’s keeper dived to his left and smothered the ball.
Wetherby started to ply on the pressure and Hood’s defence started to have issues reading the long ball. Twice the keeper had to race of his line to help his defence out, but even he was thanking the football Gods when Horton’s powerful drive rebounded off the near post, slammed into his body and then bounced back off the post for a second time!
The start of the second half saw Joe Whiteley meet Horton’s in-swinging with a powerful header that required a superb diving save from the keeper.
Coming forward, Hood were stopped by Etherington and then Brown as they looked to unlock Wetherby’s defence.
Play was switching between halves at a breakneck speed and no sooner had Kirk flashed a long shot wide then Hood replied with a chance of their own, which flew over Recchia’s bar.
Wetherby took the lead in the 57th minute when Wilson collected Kirk’s short pass, following a knock on by Dave McKay. Still with a lot of work to do, Wilson evaded several challenges before slamming the ball home from close range.
Bower’s long throws were causing panic in the Hood area and it took a strong punch from the keeper to clear from Brown, although in the process he gave his own defender a face full of fist that shook the cobwebs clear!
Applying pressure on Wetherby, a clever ball saw a shot land just on top of Recchia’s net. Straight away, Hood pressed again, but this time the combination of Brown and Josh Buckley stopped them from entering Wetherby’s area.
Mark Forster changed his pack around in the 62nd minute when Joe Garside replaced Etherington.
It was Wilson who was celebrating his hat-trick in the 65th minute when he reacted quickest to steer home the rebound after Tehrani’s scuffed shot had been saved. Credit must also go to Brown, who kept a tricky ball in play before hooking it back into the area.
Wetherby were enjoying a purple patch and passing the ball round nicely, Wilson nearly got in for his fourth, but reading the through ball well, the defender was able to shepherd it back to his keeper.
Robin Hood exposed Wetherby with some neat passing just outside the area in the 71st minute, which resulted in a long shot deceiving Recchia and flying into the net, leaving the keeper beating the ground in frustration.
Wetherby tried to respond, but found themselves being pushed back by Hood’s attacks. Bower, Buckley and Kirk all needed to make interventions within a short space of time, whilst a superb tackle by Brown also cleared Wetherby’s ranks.
As well as Wetherby’s tackling coming to the rescue, the Tangerines were also thankful for the miskicking of Hood’s players in front of goal, as two whipped crosses were steered wide of Recchia’s net!
Turning provider, Wilson flicked a pass into the middle for the unlikely figure of Buckley to try and get to. However, as the keeper clipped the defender and sent him crashing to the ground, he was relieved to see the linesman flag already raised to indicate an offside against Wetherby’s youngster.
With the game nearing the end, Hood were pouring forward looking for the equaliser. Two corners had Wetherby’s hearts beating quicker when the first one rebounded off an orange shirt onto the roof of the net, whilst the second one needed another clever block by Brown to stop it on its way to goal!
Not for the first time this season, Wetherby’s hope of a win were dashed by a questionable effort of time keeping. With nearly five minutes of extra time played, Hood received the ball in the area and, despite a volley of offside calls by Wetherby players and fans alike, the attacker rounded Recchia and powered the ball into an empty net!
With the whistle in the lips of the ref, Brown surged into the area, beating several men. However, trying to flick the ball into the corner of the goal, he could only knock it wide and Wetherby’s hope of a much needed win went with it!
Report by Pete Arnett.
Wetherby Athletic Man Of The Match (chosen by Pete Arnett): It has to be Josh Wilson who takes this one. A superb hat-trick, including two pieces of clever footwork gave Wetherby a solid lead. Josh Kirk, Arran Horton, Jonathan Brown and new player Matthew Bower also deserve a mention.