REPORT: Whitkirk Wanderers 4 v 0 Wetherby Athletic
Four Quality Strikes Sink Athletic!
Athletic never recovered from an early goal and despite a period of dominance in the first half, three more unanswered strikes were enough to condemn the Tangerines to their first defeat of the season.
The game was only two minutes old when Whitkirk took the lead. Playing down the left wing, the hosts intercepted the ball and a smart finish from just outside the area flashed into the top corner leaving Mike Recchia no chance.
Coming down the pitch, some lovely skill by Josh Wilson took the ball past his marker, but his long range shot just curled over the crossbar.
The game quickly settled down and became a bit of a midfield slog with Paul Hustwit heavily involved breaking up manoeuvres for Wetherby. Whipping in some deep crossing, Whitkirk gave heading practice to both Brian Blewitt and Andrew Graham.
Utilising Wilson’s pace, Wetherby won a corner which, despite being initially punched clear, fell to John Tehrani. Steering the ball back goalwards, it landed back in the keeper’s hands and was cleared downfield.
Coming up the pitch, Anthony Walsh headed over from a tight angle before Graham rattled the crossbar with his header from a dangerous in-swinging corner that the keeper slapped away and into his path.
A lovely flowing move involving Jackson, Tehrani and Liam McEntee saw Walsh teed up, but his shot ricocheted off a defender and fell invitingly for Wilson to strike, however his shot flew over by a few feet, landing behind the goal.
Whitkirk broke well down the centre of the pitch and some good skill took the attacker past Blewitt, but sliding in was Phil Milsom who cleared the danger. Minutes later it was Recchia who was the hero with a superb diving save to push a header round the post.
Winning a free-kick outside the area, Wilson played a ball into Walsh’s path, but the striker found his route to goal blocked. Picking up a loose pass, Wilson shot from distance but, like before, the shot went harmlessly over the crossbar.
Using Wilson’s pace as an outlet, a long ball by Graham sent the youngster racing to the byline. Putting a decent cross in, Walsh headed just over.
Whitkirk wasted a golden opportunity to score a second when some neat passing allowed them to shoot from just inside the area. However the final effort spun well wide, much to the amusement from the home fans.
Joe Whiteley was proving to be in determined mood and was having a great tussle with Whitkirk’s number six. Gaining the advantage, the left midfielder picked out Wilson, but his cross was claimed by the keeper.
Following the break, Wetherby came out hoping to find the goal that their play had deserved and straight away they fashioned a chance when Whiteley found Milsom and his cross deceived the keeper, however Walsh got too much on his header and it crashed into the bushes behind the goal, much to the relief of the custodian.
Another good ball released Freddie Jackson and he easily outsprinted Whitkirk’s backline, however his touch let him down at the crucial moment and the ball went out of play with McEntee free in the area.
With their first real attack of the second half, Whitkirk doubled their lead when Wetherby’s failure to clear saw a shot from distance fly into the far corner of the net with Recchia unable to reach it.
A superb run by Whiteley resulted in a corner, which fell at Hustwit’s feet. Hitting the ball through a crowd of players, his shot was well gathered by the keeper, who must have seen it late.
Following a knock that had left him in some discomfort, Tehrani was forced to leave the pitch on the 65th minute. Replacing him was Jamie Gillies.
It was all over as a competition in the 67th minute when Whitkirk scored another beauty of a goal! Showing some quick feet, the player beat his marker and found the top corner for the third time.
The goal knocked the stuffing out of Wetherby and it was evident that the Tangerines were struggling to clear their ranks. Blewitt, Graham and Hustwit were having some right battles in the heart of defence whilst Milsom and Jackson were doing their best to act as conduits, however it just wasn’t happening and only a blast from Mr De Souza’s whistle stopped the hosts from adding a fourth in the 72nd minute.
Mr De Souza was the recipient of Wetherby’s protests when he blew for an offside against Walsh with the problem being that the striker wasn’t interfering with play and the ball had been picked up by Gillies who was clearly onside, however that’s football and it evidently wasn’t going Wetherby’s way!
With passes going astray and the tempo now being dictated by the home side, Wetherby were struggling and it needed two good saves from Recchia to keep the scoreline down, however even his agility was unable to stop the fourth when a quick break allowed their winger to surge down the right flank before crossing in for the striker to convert from close range in the 88th minute.
With the seconds counting down, Wilson spun his marker well and released another long shot that bounced a couple of feet away from the far post, but this would prove to be the final chance that Athletic could muster and minutes later the referee ended the game.
Wetherby will have to dust themselves down and prove that they can bounce back with a passionate and energetic display on Saturday against East End Park!
Report by Pete Arnett
The Red Lion Wetherby Man of the Match: Despite the scoreline and second half performance I thought that Paul Hustwit had a great game, his wiliness to stick his foot in, make a pain of himself in the centre of midfield and also trying to move the team forward was evident. Special mention must also go to Joe Whiteley who had a cracking game down the left side.
Post-Match Reaction from the Gaffer. “Very disappointed with this game. Credit to Whitkirk, they scored four fantastic goals, which if I am being critical we could have closed down and pressed them a little quicker, but I’m taking nothing away from the strikes, they were very good."
"I am very disappointed, we went in at half time just one-nil down having played the better football for the past twenty odd minutes and did everything but score. However, if you don’t take your chances, this is what happens and we got punished badly in the second half!”