REPORT: Altofts 1 v 7 Wetherby Athletic
Athletic In Seventh Heaven After Improved Performance Brings Early Christmas Present!
After last week’s disappointment of a postponed fixture and the poor weather conditions prior to Saturday, if came as a relief that the game at Altofts was given the go-ahead in the morning. What greeted the players on arrival was an excellent playing surface, for which Altofts must be commended.
The last League outing saw Wetherby produce a very lacklustre display and were punished with two late goals against Kippax. Manager Martin Powell and his assistant Brian Blewitt left the players in no doubt that another display like that would not be tolerated.
The early exchanges were very even with both teams struggling to gain any momentum in terms of passing. However, from the first clear opening Josh Wilson was able to run at the Altofts defender resulting in the defender clipping his ankle as he looked for a clear sight on goal. Wilson stepped up to take the free-kick and the ball beat the wall to nestle in the net. A goal to the good after just 7 minutes and this was the start the Management Duo were hoping for.
The lead was doubled minutes later. Clever work in midfield from Paul Hustwit, David McKay and Blewitt saw a neat ball fed to the feet of Anthony Walsh, who made no mistake from close range.
On 15 minutes, Wetherby found themselves three up and this was a real collector’s item. Tom Frost found Hustwit on the left and his long-range effort evaded everyone and found the net.
At three down so early in the game, teams might start to buckle, but this setback sparked Altofts into life. Their two front runners were proving a handful for the Wetherby back line and both McKay and Andrew Graham were called into action for several important headed clearances. Freddie Jackson and Frost were also busy as the Wetherby team were pushed back time and again.
A long-range effort brought a good save from Michael Recchia and a free kick also rattled the bar. As the half wore on, it felt that Altofts might gain a foothold back in the game. Then just before half time Athletic struck again. The lively Dom Creamer won a ball in midfield and passed to Frost who hit a powerful bending shot into the fat corner of the goal, giving the keeper no chance.
The Half-time team-talk was very easy. Don't ease up. Keep pressing and don't let them back into the game!
This worked as within three minutes on the restart Wetherby were five goals to the good following an excellent goal from Creamer. His powerful run into the penalty area and shot was just what the team needed to put the game beyond reach.
The next goal was a little bizarre and could have benefited from 'Goal Line Technology'. Liam McEntee’s strong run down the left, followed by a low cross that found Walsh with the goal at his mercy. His first effort was stopped on the line and bodies pilled in from both sides as players tried to either force in or keep out the ball. In amongst it all, the referee signalled that the ball had crossed the line and awarded it to Walsh.
Powell introduced Matt Lombard and John Tehrani on the hour mark and both players were soon in the thick of the action with Lombard going close, with the keeper making a good save at the strikers’ feet and John breaking up play with some excellently timed tackles.
The Athletic defence, who had been strong all afternoon, were finally beaten when a corner-kick found its way directly passed the out-stretched keepers arms. Wetherby themselves again went close with efforts from Blewitt, Wilson and McEntee.
The final goal went to the hardworking Jackson. A strong run past several Altofts players found Jackson on the edge of the penalty area and his powerful shot found the net making it a final score of 7-1. At the final whistle Wetherby could celebrate a win that was an excellent team effort.
This was a much-needed performance after the previous league outing and the type of performance that the team will need produce more of as we move into the second-half of the season. Fair play to Altofts, as the team battled for their Manager right to the final whistle and we wish them all the best for the rest of the season.
Report by Andy Young
The Red Lion Wetherby Man of the Match: When a team scores seven, it is usually the forwards that take all the glory. Not today as the goals were spread amongst six different goal-scorers. Paul Hustwit was hard-working as ever in the midfield and scored. Freddie Jackson had a great game and again also scored. But for me the person who never put a foot, or head, wrong all afternoon and gets my vote was Dave McKay.
Gaffer's Post-Match Reaction: "The task was very simple. Don't perform as you had done against Kippax. Play with a high tempo and take the chances that we know we can create. Thankfully the players all responded in the manner I knew they would. They all showed excellent levels of fitness against a very hard-working Altofts side. We never let them settle on the ball and were sharp in the tackle all over the pitch.
When the chances came we took them and I am delighted that we had so many (6) names on the score-sheet. This proves it was very much a team effort. The lads were honest in their assessment of where they had gone wrong the previous week and they all stepped up to the mark. We need to play with this level of commitment every week and just keep plugging away. This is a very tough Division and the adage 'there is never an easy game' is very true. We can now look forward to a very tough game against Wyke next Saturday, but for the moment I am going to enjoy this victory and a very well earned three points."
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