REPORT: Wetherby Athletic 0 v 2 East End Park
Misfiring Wetherby Dominate, but Stung By East End Park!
Wetherby’s inability to convert chances proved to be their downfall again as East End Park staged a first half smash and grab to leave The Ings with all three points and Athletic wondering what could have been!
The game started scrappily, with both sides finding it difficult to get the ball out of midfield and get any resemblance of a tempo going.
The first shot of any note came from Josh Wilson after he had danced his way round a couple of challenges. Letting loose from outside the area, his effort was straight at Nicky McGuire and the custodian collected with ease.
McGuire was soon in action again as he raced off his line to smoother Arran Horton’s pass to Anthony Walsh.
Wetherby were being allowed to get crosses in and a dangerous one by Wilson was only half cleared. Despite getting the power right, Liam McEntee could only pick out McGuire and the keeper gratefully grabbed the ball to his chest.
It took until the 17th minute of play for the visitors to mount their first meaningful attack, and it nearly resulted in the opening goal when a corner found an unmarked player at the near post, but his header failed to trouble Mike Recchia.
Following an Athletic move which had broken down, some tidy passing by East End Park saw them work the ball down the pitch and only a good tackle from Brian Blewitt saved Wetherby facing a shot on goal.
The visitor’s backline were finding it difficult to deal with Wilson’s pace and he nearly made them pay in the 23rd minute when he latched onto Horton’s long pass. Racing into the area, the youngster could only find the side netting from an acute angle.
A trio of well-directed headers by Joe Whiteley, Walsh and McEntee released Wilson but, not for the first time, his shot from distance was straight at McGuire again.
An innocuous looking challenge in the centre of the pitch signalled game over for left back Tom Frost as he was forced to leave the pitch in the 27th minute, being replaced by Phil Milsom.
Wetherby’s backline was coming under a little more pressure as East End tried to find a way through, but the central pairing of Andrew Graham and Blewitt were managing to repel what came their way.
Wetherby’s best chance of the half fell to Wilson in the 34th minute after Horton had released him with a superbly weighted pass. Sprinting clear of Brad Pearson, he tried to power his shot into the net from the edge of the area, when perhaps a closer approach may have benefitted more and the ball cleared the crossbar by inches!
With the chances racking up for Wetherby, you could sense the inevitable was going to happen and in the 40th minute it did! Some slick passing through the middle of the pitch allowed Sallo Dawo to round Recchia and flick the ball into the net to give the visitor’s the lead!
Two minutes later, East End delivered another body blow when Milsom lost out in a footrace with Gareth Mitchell and he clinically fired past Recchia to double the visitors lead.
The Tangerines started the second half by creating two half chances, but in the end McEntee could only shoot over from a tight angle, much to his frustration!
A dangerous free-kick by Horton begged for an orange shirt to gamble and knock it in, but along with the East End defence, Wetherby’s forward line was caught flat footed and the ball travelled through the area unimpeded.
Manager Martin Powell sent on John Tehrani for McEntee in the 55th minute as he looked to increase the dominance that Wetherby were enjoying. A minute later, it nearly paid dividends as Walsh sent in a dipping shot which was just diverted behind for a corner.
Wetherby were trying to reduce the deficit and time after time they forced East End into producing a great tackle to halt them. Tehrani picked out Horton with a pinpoint pass and despite dribbling past two defenders, the captain’s shot was blocked by Shaun Coggill.
Blewitt and Freddie Jackson were combining well and another towering headed clearance from Blewitt saw Jackson release the ball down the wing to Wilson. However ganging up on the youngster, two East End players were able to dispossess him and remove the danger at the crucial moment.
Despite Wetherby having the lion’s share of play, the visitors always looked dangerous on the counter and in all fairness should have had a third in the 62nd minute. However, the header at the back post was planted firmly wide with the goal at his mercy.
Two free-kicks in good positions allowed Horton the chance to test McGuire, but both times, the shot was straight at the keeper, who had an easy time collecting them.
Throwing on Jamie Gillies for Paul Hustwit in the 70th minute, Wetherby went for all-out attack in an attempt to try and rescue something from the game.
Another surging run from Horton saw his shot deflected out for a corner and from the set piece, Wilson’s teasing in-swinger just cleared the crossbar, when it looked like it might drop into the far corner.
The final ten minutes saw another onslaught by Athletic with Walsh the closest to scoring with a first time shot that McGuire just managed to hold, whilst his flicked header moments later saw the custodian need a double bite at the cherry to catch the ball at his near post.
A disappointing defeat for Wetherby and one that, in all honesty, shouldn’t have happened! By the time East End scored, Athletic should have been three or possibly four up. Dominating a game is one thing, but if you don’t get the ball in the net, it’s all for nothing and Athletic need to learn this fast if they want to challenge! Congratulations to East End Park, who produced two pieces of clinical finishing to top the league this weekend.
Report by Pete Arnett
The Red Lion Wetherby Man of the Match: For all the attacking play we had, Brain Blewitt wins this award for a solid defensive display. He won practically everything that came his way, be it in the air or on the ground and it was through his clearances that Wetherby set up several attacks. Special mention also to Arran Horton, whose drive and direct running were always a menace to defenders.
Post-Match reaction from the Gaffer: “It was a poor game in certain respects! Granted we created chances and you could say that we were unlucky with some of them, but the plain fact is you can create fifty chances, but if you don’t score one it’s game over! We got beaten two-nil, we shouldn’t have, but they finished and we didn’t! Not much else to say really, I ‘m very disappointed!”
Wetherby Athletic AFC are sponsored by: