REPORT: Wetherby Athletic 1 v 3 Rothwell FC
Rothwell Take The Points From Wasteful Wetherby!
There was little Christmas Cheer for Wetherby at The Ings as Rothwell went back to Leeds with all three points. Had Athletic been deadlier in front of goal however, this game could have finished a lot differently!
Athletic looked for a positive start and within minutes a good save by Danny Greaves had denied Jamie Gillies, and a header from Andy Graham had crashed into the side-netting.
With six minutes on the clock, Wetherby’s pressure paid off and they took the lead when Dave McKay swept home Josh Wilson’s corner through a sea of legs.
Winning the ball just outside Wetherby’s area following a sweeping break down the right flank by the visitors, Graham fed the ball to Gillies, who released Liam McEntee. Forced away from goal by Luke Wallace, McEntee’s persistence paid off and he won a corner, which saw Greaves pull off another good save low down to deny McKay his second from close range.
A sign of the frustration that was to plague Athletic came in the 11th minute when a mazy run from Freddie Jackson culminated in another save by Greaves. As the rebound fell to Gillies, he saw two quick shots in succession blocked by determined Rothwell defending.
Coming down the left, Rothwell asked their own questions, but Wilson was able to nip in and rob the player just as he looked to pull the trigger.
Wilson was proving to be a handful down the flank and twice he left his marker floundering, but both times, despite good balls into the area, Wetherby found their way blocked by Liam Marshall and Jack Greaves.
Rothwell were coming back into the game as an attacking force and it needed a headed clearance near the goal-line by Jackson to deny the visitors an equaliser.
Brian Blewitt was providing his trademark bullish runs through the middle of the park and from one such manoeuvre, he found Gillies, but not for the first time, a well-timed block forced the ball out for a corner.
The visitors fashioned their first real shot in the 23rd minute following a nice move that caught Wetherby out of position, however as the cross from the right came in, the striker hit it too well and the ball sailed over the crossbar.
It was level in the 25th minute when a quick series of passes found Athletic unable to respond and as the ball fell to the striker, he found the target from close range.
Wetherby knocked at the door again, but were finding Rothwell’s defence willing to throw themselves in front of the ball and both Gillies and McEntee saw shots blocked.
Rothwell had their tails up following the goal and impetus had certainly swung their way. Surging down the left, it needed a last-ditch tackle by Dom Creamer to put the attacker off his shot and the ball smashed into the fencing behind the goal.
Athletic were having trouble keeping up with the visitor’s quick passing and it became their downfall again in the 36th minute when an undefended ball fell to the front man and he made no mistake lifting home over Recchia.
Spurred on by a very unhappy Manager, Wetherby came forward through Wilson, crossing low to Gillies, who did look to be impeded by his marker, as he fell however, he still managed to shoot, but the keeper produced another save.
Athletic thought that they had equalised minutes before the break when a long goal kick was flicked into Creamer’s path by Gillies. Getting his shot away, the midfielder looked skywards as his attempt rolled just the wrong side of the far post!
Urged to get back into the sort of form they showed against Altofts recently, Athletic can out firing in the second half and within two minutes of the restart, both Gillies and McEntee had seen chances blocked by resolute defending.
The groans were soon heard around the ground gain when a curling corner was met by Graham and his header just cleared the Rothwell crossbar. Minutes later a free-kick by Blewitt was flicked goal-wards by Gillies, but a save by Greaves pushed it clear and Graham’s shot from the rebound was blocked just short of the target!
Wetherby were racking up the chances and Graham forced another good save by Greaves from a Paul Hustwit free-kick, before Wilson was foiled by a tackle as the winger looked to convert at the near post.
Rothwell reminded Wetherby that they could attack when a quick break was only ended by an overhit cross which neither the front two of the visitors could get to.
Athletic made their first change when Phil Milsom replaced Jackson. As a result of this, Tom Frost switched from left to right back and it was his ball that started another Wetherby attack that culminated with Creamer shooting over from outside the area.
Creamer was nearly on target soon after when he picked up Blewitt’s pass just inside the area. Twisting well, he shot low, but a combination of keeper and defender diverted the ball clear for a corner which ended in McEntee heading over from close range.
An offside decision by Mr Foster angered the Rothwell bench as their player had broken free, in truth it was a very close call and we have certainly seen them go either way!
Gillies was left with his head in his hands following another impressive block by Rothwell. This time, the original punch by Greaves travelled just inside his area, but as Gillies released a fierce half volley, Ben Andrews stood firm and the ball cannoned off him.
Breaking Wetherby’s offside trap, Rothwell looked to increase their lead, but a well-timed tackle from Graham saw him slide the ball clear from danger at the last second.
The final change of the match occurred when Blewitt, who had received a hefty challenge couldn’t continue and he was replaced by Chris Plews.
The match took on a feisty nature when tackles from both sides left opposing players on the ground for prolonged periods, but Mr Foster deemed neither challenge worthy of a card, much to the chagrin of both benches.
Rothwell wrapped up the points when a clever reverse pass released their player in the 78th minute and he ran on and slotted low past Recchia.
The afternoon was summed up perfectly when Hustwit’s drive from outside the area smashed against the crossbar, leaping highest, Milsom directed the rebound goalwards, but Greaves managed to cling onto it.
Well done to Rothwell on their win, but this is a game that Wetherby will rue for a while as they spurned chance after chance and that is something we can’t continue to do!
Report by Pete Arnett.
The Red Lion Wetherby Man of the Match: This one goes to Dave McKay, not just for a well taken goal, but also for several tackles that stopped Rothwell from progressing on the counter.
Post-Match Reaction From The Gaffer: “Not much to say really, we have created enough chances to win two games but how many times have we had this conversation this season now, we need to start taking them but we don’t and if you don’t, you don’t win games!
You could see it coming, you could see that they would score and they did, but there is only much you can say from the side-lines and it’s really disappointing to have lost it. In some ways, that game sums up our season!”
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