Saturday, 28 May 2016

Wetherby Athletic 1 v Oxenhope Rec 4 - West Yorkshire League Premier Division

Saturday 28th May 2016
West Yorkshire League - Premier Division
At the Ings, Lodge Lane, Wetherby
Wetherby Athletic (0) 1
Matt Forster 51
Oxenhope Recreation (2) 4
James Bailey 14
Tom Marshall 29, 55
Dan Moriarty 68
Attendance 53
A few more pictures from this game, click HERE
Wetherby Athletic:
Joe Knowlson, Harry Finney, Ryan Hepinstal, Tom Hesketh (C), Matt Forster, Andy Graham, Sam Straker, Joe Whiteley, Ben Lambert, Bobby Stevenson, Tom Woolard
Subs - Josh Forster, Alistair Bowles, Mark Forster
Oxenhope Recreation:
Nick Hudson, Dayne Ward, Mark McGee, Jay Walton, Sean Quinlaw, Josh Kaine, Tom Marshall, Dan Moriarty, Joe Jalil, James Bailey, Owen Williamson
Sub - Rob Pullan
The A1 northbound had been a complete nightmare yesterday afternoon, en route to the England game at the Stadium of Light, so I gave myself an extra thirty minutes to make the drive up to Wetherby, which turned out to be a good idea in the event. The M18 junction onto and off of the A1 has become a proper bottleneck these last couple of months and today was no exception.
But Wetherby's ground which is just off of Junction 45, is dead easy to get to and when you arrive, the clubhouse facilities offer a vast array of refreshment and sustenance to revive even the most weary traveller.
There were three other games in the West Yorkshire League Premier Division this afternoon, including the potential title decider between Beeston St. Anthony's and Carlton Athletic, which attracted a crowd of 225.
Beeston fought back from 4-1 down to clinch a draw claimed the league championship as a consequence.
On Tuesday night the champions are at home against Wetherby (LS11 8DT), while Carlton entertain Leeds City (WF3 3QU).
Both games are scheduled to kick off at 6.30pm.
I know you're all very tempted!
Whenever I have dipped into the West Yorkshire League on my travels, it's been apparent that the standard of football is better than it is at a comparative level in the east & north midlands and although both of today's teams will finish the season in fifth (Wetherby) and twelfth (Oxenhope) place respectively, in a division of fifteen teams; on this showing they could hold their own against the majority of NCEL Division One and a fair few of the NCEL Premier Division clubs.
My Nottingham based pal Howard Bacon was at the game too and he agreed with that estimation, so it must be right, because he knows far more about non-league football than I ever will... and the matchday programmes he used to produce for Radford FC were pretty awesome too and far better than anything I've ever had a hand in putting together.
Talking of programmes (did you see the almost seamless link there?), Wetherby Athletic issue one for all of their home games, in an online format.
This innovative and very professionally presented idea, is ingenious and if it was to be adopted across non-league football, it would save clubs a fortune and do more for the environment and rain forest preservation, than Sting and Bono ever did put together.
Just saying.
Here is today's issue for your perusal: Wetherby Athletic v Oxenhope Recreation programme.
If you really need a paper cop to cling on too as a memento of your visit to the Ings, you can alweays print one off yourself.
The best ideas are always the most simple ones.
While some of those present seemed to be anticipating 'a typical end of season game, with nowt to play for', it was refreshing to see that neither team had adopted that mindset, as they were both evidently striving to take all three of the points on offer.
Wetherby won a corner out on the right wing from the first attack of the game, but as Andy Graham connected with the ball at the back post, the delivery was too high for him to keep it on target and he headed wide of the left hand post.
Oxenhope broke forward from the goal kick and James Bailey muscled his way into the goal area through the right channel, before dropping the ball just past the far post, with Dan Moriarty arriving right on cue to pick up any rebound... elementary goal poacher's instincts, you might say.
Oxenhope put together a great passing move, with Tom Marshall stroking the ball wide to Bailey, who picked out Moriarty with a long range cross field pass, that he laid backwards for Owen Williamson to nudge the ball inside to Joe Jalil, who cracked the ball narrowly wide on the half volley.
Having survived a bit of a scare, Wetherby hit back and when the Rec could only clear a Bobby Stevenson free kick as far as Tom Hesketh, the home sides captain wasn't too far away from opening the score from twenty five yards out.
Williamson rode two challenges as he headed towards Athletic's goal and unleashed a shot that forced a great save from Joe Knowlson.
But Knowlson was beaten on 14 minutes, when Moriarty threaded a pass through the back four into the path of Bailey, who made no mistake from ten yards.
The visitors were in the ascendancy for a spell as they forced Wetherby onto the back foot, with Joe Whiteley and Matt Forster both needing to make last ditch challenges to keep the team from 'Bronte Country' at bay.
There was a moment of apparent controversy, when Marshall knocked the ball forward from just inside his own half for Bailey, who was level with the last Wetherby defender to run onto, as Williamson, ten yards away across the pitch who wasn't interfering with play moved back towards his own half, from a position that would've been considered to be offside a few years ago.
As Bailey cued up to shoot on the edge of the area, Knowlson charged from his line and upended the Oxenhope forward, just outside his area.
The Wetherby players and a handful of their supporters on the touchline, made their feelings on the matter very clear towards the assistant referee Danielle Whitworth.
But it was very reassuring to see with so many alpha males demanding answers, that at least there was a calm and assured woman present to explain the offside rule to them all.
I'd imagine that Knowlson was quite relieved that amidst all of the shouting and posturing, he escaped unpunished for his transgression on the edge of his box, as he got down well to keep out Moriarty's thumping free kick and watched Williamson scuff the ball over the bar from the rebound.
Every time the female official raised her flag from then on in, her actions were met by ironic/sarcastic cheers, but she obviously knows her stuff. 'Nuff said!?
The visitors doubled their lead on 29 minutes, when Marshall turned home Bailey's right wing cross, from just inside the area.
Oxenhope had two more clear cut chances before half time, but didn't convert either, with Moriarty shooting straight at Knowlson and Williamson planting his header over the bar from Moriarty's cross.
HT: Wetherby Athletic 0 v Oxenhope Rec 2
The home side came out after the interval (Oxenhope didn't even go in,they stayed out on the pitch), with a renewed vigour and they were almost gifted an opportunity straight from the restart, when Nick Hudson had to charge out of his goal to whack the ball to safety, when Tom Woolard almost latched onto Josh Kaine's under hit back pass.
Dayne Ward clipped Sam Straker as he burst into the visitors area and went to ground, but from the angle that the match referee Arran Williams saw it, there was 'nothing doing' and Oxenhope got away with that one.
Bailey had the ball in the back of the net again, but his strike was ruled out by Craig Frost, the other assistant referee. He looks a 'bit handy', so he didn't get anything like the grief that his female co worker had done earlier in the game.
Stevenson picked out Woolard with a pass down the left and he rolled the ball to his right, to where Matt Forster trapped it and chipped the ball into the left hand corner of Oxenhope's goal from twenty yards.
It was a sublime finish and seemingly Wetherby were back in the game and had the bit between their teeth now.
Having netted the goal that put the home side back into the mix, Forster started another attack, with a measured pass out wide to Woolard, who wrong footed his marker by slipping a quick pass in side to Whiteley whose goal bound strike was blocked by Kaine.
Alas, all of Wetherby's hard work at the start of the second half was undone, when Moriarty crept undetected into the home side's penalty area and nicked the ball, saw off a challenge and put the ball on a plate for Marshall to side foot into the back of the net from just to the left of the penalty spot.
Pushing forward in numbers, chasing the game, had left Wetherby exposed and light handed at the back, but there weren't many other options open to them.
Straker and  Stevenson were trying to probe their way into the visitors goal mouth down the right, but Mark McGee shut down the space they needed and cleared the visitors lines; Whiteley's shot from just outside the area took a wicked deflection off of Walton, but Hudson got across his goal to keep the ball out.
Whiteley rolled the ball to Hesketh who launched a dipping thirty yard shot, which unfortunately for the home side, didn't actually start to alter it's trajectory and drop until it reached the car park. But I didn't mind too much because it hit the vehicle next to mine.
At the other end, Hesketh atoned for the miss, when he put himself in between Marshall's shot and the goal and managed to divert the ball over the bar.
Bailey combined with Moriarty to give Marshall the simplest of chances to tuck away and at 1-4 Wetherby looked beaten, despite having taken the game to their visitors after the break.
The home side kept plugging away until the end, in a vainglorious attempt to give the final score a more respectable appearance, but as Hesketh crashed the ball narrowly wide of the right hand post, Woolard turned the ball a fraction wide from Forster's through ball and Hudson turned Whiteley's shot wide away with a good reflex save, it was obvious that this just wasn't going to be Wetherby's afternoon.
FT: Wetherby Athletic 1 v Oxenhope Rec 4
Both sides saw plenty of goalmouth action, but in the final analysis, the visitors were that little bit sharper with their final touch, while Wetherby were just a fraction off the mark and not quite clinical enough at times.