EV2 Sportswear Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League Division One - Saturday 31st October - Athersley Rec Res vs WTFC
The Wellers returned to action on Saturday at a wet and windy Sheerien Park, sharing the points with a young and resilient Athersley Rec reserve side.
Wombwell Town were fielding several new faces in the match day squad as result of injuries and suspensions. With Lycett, Kerr and Peace still suspended, first choice goalkeeper Jono Davis injured, and centre half Joe Egan unavailable the Wellers called upon their large squad for this fixture. Fresh from his live appearance on Britain’s’ Got Talent, Lee Day took up his place in goal with Saba Tedoradze and Jak Rennison deservedly getting a place in the squad. Town were also encouraged by the return of Mark ‘Willy’ Wilson after recovering from a troublesome calf strain and Luke Norbury after suspension.
Athersley were much the better side for the first ten minutes and were unlucky not to take the lead after several attempts on the Wellers goal. Taking advantage of the strong wind, Athersley continued to plough forward with probing balls behind the Wombwell back line. However, it was Wombwell that broke the deadlock after 18 minutes with a well-worked corner routine. A corner to the edge of the box by captain Luke Exley was met with a superb volley by Luke Norbury. As the ball careered toward the Athersley goal, Gareth McDermott got a decisive headed flick that alluded the goalkeeper. The goal kicked the Wellers into life and for several minutes looked like they may well double their lead. After a strong start, Mark Harling was forced off through injury in the 35th minute and this created a slight disruption in the game that Athersley took full advantage of with replacement Rennison up-ending the Rec winger for a 37th minute penalty to the hosts. As with Wombwell’s response to their first goal, this equaliser buoyed Athersley and they took the lead just four minutes later after the Rec striker took advantage of a Wombwell mix up in the box to nod the ball home from close range.
Following the break, the next goal was always going to be decisive and it was Athersley that scored it following a full-pitch break away and a cool finish by the Rec forward to make it 3-1. At this stage, it did seem that the game had gone beyond Wombwell as Athersley continued to apply pressure to the Wellers back line. However, the introduction of ‘Willy’ Wilson on 55 minutes changed the course of the game as he used all his experience to drag the Wellers back into the fixture. On 68 minutes, Steve Bennett got on the end of a pinpoint cross from Byrnes to pull a goal back, and this was followed up by a second from Bennett as he responded the quickest to a cross from the left by McDermott. The Wellers were understandably in the ascendancy at this stage and it came as no big surprise when Wombwell were afforded the opportunity to take the lead via a penalty won by skipper Exley. Over-looking the chance to complete his hat trick, Steve Bennett passed the ball to brother Lee who duly despatched the spot kick with confidence.
Although it looked at this stage that Wombwell had completed an amazing fight back, it was clear that Athersley were still determined to take something from the game, remaining a goal threat throughout. Their resilience was rewarded in the 88th minute when Athersley were awarded a contentious free kick on the end of the Wombwell box. Clearly aggrieved by the decision, Wilson’s remonstrations with the official only resulted in him being sin binned for the remainder of the game. The seemingly innocuous free kick that followed was spilled by Day in the Wombwell goal and the inrushing Rec forwards took full advantage by poking home the equaliser with only seconds remaining.
Although a very bitter pill to swallow at this stage of the game following the spirited come back, a draw could easily have been seen as a fair result. Overall, a fantastic game, played in a great spirit both on and off the field. Fingers cross that it’s not too long before we see the Wellers in action again!
Wombwell Town Line-up:
1. Lee Day
2. Ben Phillips
3. Mark Harling
4. Chris Byrnes
5. George Westwood
6. Kieran Price
7. Luke Exley (Captain)
8. Lee Bennett
9. Steve Bennett
10. Luke Norbury
11. Gareth McDermott
12. Mark 'Willy' Wilson (on for Norbury, 55)
14. Jak Rennison (on for Harling, 35)
15. Saba Tedoradze
16. Rob Harrison