REPORT: Featherstone Colliery 5 v 3 Wetherby Athletic
Not A Day To Remember For Athletic As Featherstone Win First Meeting!
The first meeting between these two teams turned out to be as miserable as the weather for Wetherby, as they chose to turn in one of their worst performances of the season.
Freddie Jackson returned to the team in place of Dom Creamer. Sam Harrison also made his debut between the sticks in place of Mike Recchia, who was unavailable for this match.
The game was barely three minutes old when Harrison was picking the ball out of his net! A fierce back pass by Andrew Graham spun off the custodian’s boot and fell nicely for the onrushing Featherstone forward to slot the ball home.
Wetherby retaliated and an over the top ball by Paul Hustwit found Jamie Gillies. Ignoring the calls for offside, Gillies was thwarted by a good save by Ryan Smith in the home goal. Picking up the loose ball, Anthony Walsh went round Smith, but his touch was too heavy and a defender nipped in to clear.
The next attack brought Wetherby’s equaliser in the 6th minute. An in-swinging corner was headed back into the area by Graham, flicking the ball on, Josh Wilson forced another decent stop by Smith, but as the ball fell, Greg Harrison reacted quickest and powered it into the net.
Athletic were trying to use the pace of Jackson and his darting run down the left wing was knocked out to start a series of throw-ins. Despite gaining good positions, Featherstone defended resolutely and cleared.
Switching the play to the right wing, John Tehrani released Walsh, looking like he was going to shoot, he switched play into the middle and Wetherby won a corner. Another in-swinger was only partly cleared, but as the ball came back to Milsom, Mr McDonagh adjudged him to be offside.
A nicely weighted cross-field pass picked out Thomas Field and the Featherstone winger took off down the right and whipped in a low cross, which Graham had to clear whilst under pressure.
The match was already showing signs of being a physical affair and another infringement by Featherstone gave Wetherby a free-kick fifteen yards outside the area. Standing over the ball, Paul Hustwit delivered his cross to the back post, but Walsh could only head wide.
The Tangerines were having trouble keeping hold of the ball and on several occasions this inability nearly cost them dear. Harrison was called into making a good save in the 20th minute when he dived to his left to block a shot from close range.
Disaster struck Athletic in the 25th minute when two defenders failed to cut out a low pass and the Featherstone player finished well, converting a nice chip over the onrushing Harrison.
Featherstone nearly increased their lead when Jackson produced a great block on the line to deny James Dunn a headed goal from a corner. Minutes later and a backpass by Hustwit had to be headed and then volleyed clear by the keeper.
A slip by Tom Frost as he cut across the backline to clear the ball allowed the Featherstone player time to pick his spot and he drilled home at the near post to make it 3-1 after 33 minutes.
Gillies produced a great headed pass to set Wilson up with a one on one with Smith, but the keeper just won the foot race and smothered the ball.
Smith was in fine form again in the 38th minute when he dived to his left and pushed Hustwit’s stinging drive away for a corner.
Another cross field pass proved to be Wetherby’s downfall again in the 40th minute when they were too slow to react and the ball was placed over Harrison and into the net.
Fashioning two half chances soon after, Greg Harrison and Walsh both had headers that Smith dealt with.
Wilson pulled one back for Wetherby in the 44th minute when he raced clear of Featherstone’s backline and collected Hustwit’s pass, moving into position, he calmly slotted past Smith.
The second half started with Wetherby on the attack and Walsh tested Smith again with an angled drive, but the custodian beat the ball away.
Frost’s afternoon finished when he landed awkwardly following jumping for the ball. Unable to continue, the defender limped off to be replaced by Liam McEntee in the 52nd minute.
The fouls were continuing to flow and the game was being steadily punctured by the sound of the referee’s whistle and from one such exchange, Gillies managed to get to the ball, but his shot flashed wide.
Another substitute occurred in the 56th minute as Joe Whiteley made his return from injury and replaced Gillies.
Both teams were managing to fashion half chances, but the driving rain was making the pitch difficult to play on and accurate passing was quickly going astray.
The hosts were working breaks down the left hand side well, but like Wetherby, they found the final ball the problem and attempts were either driven wide or not gambled on at all.
A flurry of action saw Sam Harrison block a backpass in his area, before a good ball from Jackson found Milsom who appeared to be bodychecked as he broke into Featherstone’s box. However unmoved, Mr McDonagh waved away Wetherby’s penalty appeals.
Putting pressure on Featherstone’s backline, Wetherby forced a series of corners, but no clear cut chance presented itself and eventually the home side cleared.
With 83 minutes on the clock, Wetherby were given a life line when McEntee got ahead of his marker and forced the ball past Smith.
Of course the obvious usually happens when you are searching for that equaliser and despite putting great pressure on the Featherstone goal, including another series of corners, it was the hosts that exploited the space left by Wetherby and in the 88th minute, a long ball out of defence found substitute Del Pollock and he raced half the pitch and produced a well taken clipped finish over Harrison.
With seconds ticking away, another freekick from a foul found its way to Walsh on the back post, but he was unable to direct his header goalwards and Featherstone claimed all three points.
Not a great game in the slightest from Wetherby’s point of view. Unable to get a rhythm going, we had problems getting our passing game going and suffered as a result. The lads will need to get this one out of their system in time for next week’s West Yorkshire League Cup match against Ossett Town Reserves at The Ings.
Report by Pete Arnett
The Red Lion Wetherby Athletic AFC Man of the Match – Not many stand out performances for this one, but I have given it to Paul Hustwit. He won more than his fair share of balls in the centre of the park with some great tackling and at least got us going. He was also extremely close with a great drive that the keeper saved.
Post-Match from The Gaffer: "Totally unacceptable today, we didn’t play anywhere near the standard I know we can. I very disappointed with a lot of aspects. We need to get over this one quickly and back to the way we can play. I’ve nothing really more to say, very unhappy!"
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