REPORT: Wetherby Athletic 6 v 0 Brighouse Old Boys
Athletic Prove Too Hot To Handle As They Hit Super Six.
A first half goal blitz left Brighouse Old Boys down and out at The Ings, but any hopes for more of the same during the second half were dashed as the visitor’s dug deep and kept Wetherby at bay.
Keeping faith with the vast majority of the team that beat Kippax FC 6-1 a fortnight ago, the one change saw Jamie Gillies start in place of work tied Arran Horton. Liam McEntee, back from holiday, returned to the subs bench alongside Tom Frost.
Within seconds, Athletic poured forward and a reverse pass by Gillies found Dom Creamer. Cutting across the area, he kept his shot low, but George Clarke in the Brighouse goal, pulled off the first of several impressive saves as he deflected the ball clear.
Josh Wilson was the next to try, when he latched onto Paul Hustwit’s pass down the left wing. Letting fly with a long range shot, the ball sailed wide of the target.
The Tangerines thought that they had made the breakthrough in the 11th minute when Gillies controlled Brian Blewitt’s high pass. Shaking off the attentions of the Brighouse centre-backs, he shot low, but Clarke got a leg to the ball to send it wide. Working the ball back out to the wing, Blewitt swung in a cross that was met by a Gillies header, but again Clarke kept him and Wetherby at bay with a superb diving save.
Clarke was becoming a thorn in our side and he showed great agility to palm a curling shot from Wilson over the cross bar. Soon after a pass across the area picked out the unmarked Anthony Walsh, but much to the dismay of the crowd, he put his shot wide of the post.
Gillies was left shaking his head in disbelief when Clarke stuck out a leg again to deny him in the 14th minute. Getting his timing right, he met Walsh’s cross with another powerful header, but the custodian was equal to it.
There was an audible sigh of relief both on and off the pitch when Walsh finally fired Athletic into a 16th minute lead. Receiving Gillies's pass, following a great tackle by Creamer, the striker steadied himself and finished well past Clarke.
The goal hit a nerve and the visitor’s worked the ball down the pitch well, winning a corner. Swinging it in deep, Andrew Graham rose to head clear.
Wetherby survived a major scare when a shot was well saved by Mike Recchia, diving to his left. Brighouse appealed that the ball had crossed the line before Recchia pushed it out, but Mr Collins was unmoved and the game continued.
The clock was reading twenty minutes gone when Phil Milsom’s cross picked out Walsh at the far post and his header bounced into the back of the net.
Suddenly the floodgates opened and two minutes later it was 3-0 when Creamer swept home Gillies’s pass from just inside the area.
The score became 4-0 to The Tangerines on the half-hour minute mark when, under pressure from Walsh, the covering defender could only divert Blewitt’s cross into his own net.
If one player was deserving of a goal, it was Gillies and he had a triple attempt to try, however his first shot rebounded off Andy Graham whilst his second shot was saved by Clarke’s legs before his final shot crashed into the side netting!
Wetherby claimed their fifth goal in the 38th minute and it was one that contained a whiff of controversy. Jumping high, Wilson nicked the ball away from Clarke, who had come a long way to claim it, demanding a high foot against the keeper; Mr Collins waved away Brighouse’s protests but was quickly signalling a goal when Wilson flicked it into the net seconds later.
Brighouse weren’t giving up and a wicked in-swinging corner needed a goal line clearance by Graham to keep Wetherby’s clean sheet intact.
With half time looming, Gillies finally got on the scoresheet when he met Blewitt’s cross with, what is rapidly becoming his trademark move, a diving header that left Clarke no chance of stopping it.
A smattering of rain greeting the players as they started the second half and it became apparent that the visitors were spending this half in a much deeper position as they looked to limit Wetherby’s strangle hold in midfield.
Catching Athletic on the break, Brighouse fashioned a two on one against Graham, but the defender used his experience to ease Declan Halliday off the ball and clear.
Brighouse were suddenly in the ascendancy and a deep cross by Niall Jerome was watched over the bar by Recchia.
Gaining some momentum again, Hustwit picked out Creamer on the right wing. Crossing into the area, Gillies’s header was comfortably plucked out of the air by Clarke.
Still feeling the effects of a bad tackle sustained during the first half, Blewitt was replaced by Frost in the 56th minute and soon the substitute was involved in a move that saw Gillies pull off a sensational scissors kick that went just wide of Clarke’s post!
Wetherby introduced McEntee into the fray for Walsh in the 65th minute, but it was Milsom who nearly scored Wetherby’s seventh when his darting run down the left wing was halted just as he was about to shoot.
Athletic were still pressing and John Tehrani nearly forced his way through, but in the end his shot was stopped by a sea of legs before Gillies’s snap effort went wide of the target.
The game was momentarily paused in the 72nd minute when Mr Collins showed both Graham and Jason Armstrong a yellow card for misdemeanours.
Moving onto Tehrani’s pass, McEntee tried a chipped shot, but didn’t connect with the ball cleanly and Clarke watched as it sailed wide of his goal.
McEntee was in action again when an intended cross nearly fooled Clarke, with the custodian back peddling, the ball landed on the roof of the net.
Just as with the first half, chances were racking up for Wetherby, but they just couldn’t convert. Wilson flashed a free kick wide, before Tehrani put his shot just past of the post. Soon after another Wilson free-kick was saved by Clarke and in the final minute, a jinking run by Milsom ended with his pass rolling across the face of the goal, but untouched by either side.
A comfortable win for Wetherby but one that they would have liked to see accomplished with a better score. In truth, the Tangerines should have been in double figures before half-time, but what we did see was a good display of attacking football. Brighouse are a young side and couldn’t cope with Athletic’s movement, but you do get a sense that when they click, the Old Boys will be a hard team to beat.
Report by Pete Arnett.
The Red Lion Wetherby Athletic Man Of The Match: This one goes to Jamie Gillies for not only scoring with another superb diving header, but for his movement in the front line. He never gave Brighouse a moment’s peace and had that scissor kick gone in, we would have been talking about it for quite a while!
Special mention also goes to Paul Hustwit, his tenacity in the heart of midfield saw him win plenty of tackles and he got Athletic moving forward on most occasions.
Post-Match Reaction From The Gaffer: “In fairness, we should have been four up after twenty minutes, but credit to their keeper who was fantastic and I said that to him after the game. He kept them in the game although after we got the first goal it was one way traffic really. I think it should have been double figures, but come the end of the day, a 6-0 win, three points and a clean sheet, I can’t really ask for more.
You could tell the lads were up for it today after not playing last Saturday, there was a buzz around the place, the warm up was good and we started at a great tempo. We have a massive game next Saturday and it will be a tough game, but we will be ready for it.”
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