REPORT: Wetherby Athletic 5-4 Aberford Albion
Athletic Ride Their Luck In Nine Goal Thriller!
Athletic turned in a Jekyll and Hyde performance at the Ings today but, somehow, managed to claim all three points in a match that saw eight second half goals, a missed penalty, a disallowed goal and some dubious offside decisions!
Following the game, a pragmatic, but annoyed, Manager Martin Powell commented “We have come off disappointed that, even though we have won, we haven’t played well and that is a contrast to last week where the football was excellent, but the result was absent. I’m glad that they are disappointed as I know that they can play better and hopefully it will spur a few on to not let this kind of performance happen again. However, it’s three points and we have to be happy with that!”
With both teams testing out each other’s defences with long balls, it took six minutes for the first real chance and it fell to Aberford’s Jamie Hadland when he burst through the middle of the Tangerines defence. Keeping stride with Hadland, Dave McKay produced a good block low down to deflect the shot clear.
The warning signs for Albion came moments later when Dom Creamer broke free and lashed his shot just wide of the far post.
Athletic opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Brian Blewitt won a tackle just outside the area. Freeing Josh Wilson, the youngster showed an eye for goal and fired past Fletcher Paley into the net.
The home side nearly doubled their lead three minutes later when Anthony Walsh pounced on an error following a poorly executed free-kick. Trying to get past Paley, the keeper stood up well and got his foot to the ball to push Walsh wide.
Aberford countered and a long pass down the right saw a low shot beaten away by Mike Recchia. Minutes later Recchia was forced to collect another shot, despite the claims for a penalty ringing around the Ings, which were ignored by Mr Knaggs.
The official was causing a bit of consternation with a series of offside decisions which left both teams shaking their heads and remonstrating with the referee.
Wetherby were enjoying most of the midfield play, but it was the old case of the final ball which let them down. Blewitt, Creamer and Wilson all tried to latch onto through balls, only to run out of pitch before being able to shoot!
McKay was called into action again as he showed his speed to snuff out the danger following a good run by Bradley Newton.
Wilson was the next to try his luck when he cut across the back of Jack Matthews and shot from the edge of the area. Diving to his left, Paley produced a good save to push the ball clear.
Both teams were squandering chances and a free header at the back post flew just wide for Albion whilst Paley had to be quick off his line to scoop the ball from the feet of Walsh.
A moment of misjudgement by Paley nearly cost Aberford dear as he let a cross squirm through his fingers, however the ball bounced just the wrong side of the post for Wetherby and from the corner Liam Parker cleared.
The amount of offsides for both teams were increasing rapidly and it was becoming almost farcical that every time the teams broke, invariably Mr Knagg’s whistle brought the play back!
Hadland was left with his head in his hands at the end of the half following a header from a corner that flashed just wide, although with a Wetherby player on the line, it was debatable if it would have gone in.
With the score 1-0 at half-time, it seemed that Wetherby were in control with a solid defensive display and purpose when moving forward … however then the second half started!
Aberford bared their teeth first as they broke down the right flank following a failed raid down the centre of the park. Fortunately, Graham has seen the danger and was able to poke the ball clear.
With 50 minutes on the clock, Albion were level. Pressure was increasing on Wetherby’s backline and despite Recchia pushing the original shot clear, the ball fell to the feet of the Aberford player, who found the goal with ease.
Parity only lasted three minutes before Wetherby took the lead again. Winning a free-kick for a foul, Walsh and Wilson flicked the ball into Blewitt’s path and he poked home from close range.
Wetherby’s defensive frailties raised their head again a minute later when a long cross deceived Recchia, bounced through his legs and into the net, despite Graham’s attempt to clear from off the line!
Aberford stepped up through the gears and it was suddenly backs to the wall for Wetherby as they were forced to defend, and another slice of luck came Athletic’s way when a shot from just inside the area smashed off the crossbar and went over with the defence motionless.
The visitors finally took the lead in the 62nd minute when John Mallinson received a good through ball and shrugged off the attentions of McKay before slotting past Recchia.
The goals were raining in and two minutes later it was 3-3 when McKay rose highest to power his header past Paley and two defenders from Wilson’s cross. In the process, a collision with his own player left Paley in pain with a shoulder injury, but after several minutes of treatment, the custodian was able to continue. In amongst the injury, Jamie Gillies replaced Freddie Jackson, who had had a decent game.
Using the height and strength of Parker, who had been moved up into an attacking position, Aberford took control of the game again and Athletic were having trouble getting the ball clear and it was little surprise when they conceded again in the 71st minute. Another unnecessary foul outside the area saw Stefan Small produce an acrobatic kick to steer the cross past Recchia.
Recchia produced a good save to deny Mallison in the 74th minute after the striker had broken clear and cut in off the right wing, firing the ball in low, Recchia spread himself well and deflected the ball away.
Minutes later, Wetherby’s custodian pulled off another point blank save when the cross beat all the shirts apart from the one at the back post, but Recchia’s feet were in the way and the ball bounced clear.
The scores were level in the 80th minute when Wetherby won a corner following pressure by Walsh. Playing a deep ball, Blewitt picked out Walsh and Athletic’s leading scorer headed home past Paley.
Wetherby were awarded a penalty in the 82nd minute when Wilson was adjudged to have been fouled in full flight. Stepping up, John Tehrani saw his low shot to his left well saved by Paley.
Aberford were left venting their frustrating at Mr Knaggs in the 86th minute when he ruled out a goal for offside. Despite several protests from players and management alike, the official held firm in his decision.
Athletic suddenly found their shooting boots and chances fell to both Wilson and Creamer, but neither could find the target and when Gillies brought another good save from Paley in the final minute of normal time, most people sensed that a draw was inevitable, especially as Hadland missed a golden chance for Albion with a free header from a corner.
However, Wetherby produced an escape act that would have left David Blane swooning when Gillies collected the ball in the area, spun and fired past Paley in the 93rd minute to seal an unlikely, but much welcome, smash and grab of all the points.
Not our finest match and one that was certainly the old cliché of two halves. First forty-five saw Wetherby strong and in control, the second period however belonged to Aberford and they can certainly feel aggrieved at not claiming at least a point! Credit goes to Wetherby’s spirit and dogged determination and in the end three points belongs to us!
Report by Pete Arnett
The Red Lion Wetherby Man of the Match: Kind of hard to pick one due to the second half display, but due to just sheer determination and drive, Brian Blewitt gets it. However, mention must go to Anthony Walsh and Dave McKay as well.
Post-match from the Gaffer: “Unbelievable from last weeks game, it was a total contrast! We started well and looked comfortable and then you just can’t legislate for errors and there were quite a few, but I do have to give credit to the lads as they have held their hands up and taken responsibility in the changing room for them. We can’t be good every week, we all make mistakes, including me and we all get things wrong, but they showed great character in coming back and chasing the game. We got the three points and that is what matters in the end.”
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