Away league match played on 19 August 2012.
Kicked off at 11:00 AM

Coach and Horses FC returned to competitive match action after a summer of hard work, only to succumb to a 2-0 defeat, away at Wetherby Athletic. A managerial debut for duo Tyler Watts and James Keogh made the short journey to Wetherby with high hopes, but after two second half strikes from the hosts, the Coach were sent back to Harrogate with a result they hadn’t hoped for.  


The Coach handed debuts to returning winger Lewis Mallinson and central midfielder Paul Hardcastle, while veteran Mark Franklin, 33, dropped back to centre half, an almost natural switch for the old stager. Due to a succession of injuries in the goalkeeping position, James Lee returned to field in between the sticks after having played there previously for the Coach earlier in his career.

In front of a local fiery crowd of 23, the visitors were unfortunate to go into the break with the scores deadlocked at 0-0, but a resurgent Wetherby managed to overcome their illustrious opponents from Harrogate, courtesy of two neat finishes, which left makeshift goalkeeper, Lee, with little chance.

Both sets of players had to endure humid conditions in West Yorkshire this morning, and despite being on away soil, the Coach adapted quicker to the pace of the match much to the surprise of the home side. Co-manager Tyler Watts remarked in his pre-match press conference that his new look team, sporting a new kit of AFC Bournemouth origins, were fully prepared – his thoughts were initially proved correct as a midfield dominating display from Mallinson, Hardcastle, Jarrod Marchant and Watts, showed maturity in addition to technical and physical prowess that their opponents seemingly didn’t have in their locker.

Although chances were far and few between for both sides, the Coach looked promising down the flanks, and in hindsight will have been disappointed not to have registered on the giant scoreboard mounted on the bank of the Wharfe Stand. Efforts from Watts and Shand flew past the opposing goalkeeper’s post, and two saves of note from Coach’s Lee, meant that both sides went into the sheds at 0-0 after the first half whistle.

Referee Graham Poll was on the end of a chorus of boos as he exited the pitch after the natives strongly believed that pantaloon defender Franklin had fouled within the penalty area just shy of the first half whistle, but despite the home supporters best efforts to sway Poll’s opinion, play was waved on.

After a promising opening 45 minutes to Coach and Horses’ 2012-13 campaign, the same 11 players struggled to exert their previous dominance on the match, and despite the best efforts of each player, the hosts, dressed in tribute to football stewards throughout the nation, slowly built up a head of pressure which before long would see them holding a 2-0 advantage. Good saves from Lee kept Wetherby at bay, but unfortunately, it was only a stay of ution for the Coach, as towards the hour mark, the first goal of the season was imminent.

The match had turned from a deluge of Coach and Horses pressure, to a more even game, and somewhat against the run of play, the offspring of the Seven Dwarves Doc, unleashed a volley through a body of players into the bottom right hand corner which sparked wild celebrations from the home supporters, as their side went 1-0 to the good.

At this stage, a double substitution from Keogh, meant that Hardcastle and target man Pete Voakes departed the fray as they were replaced by fashion guru come right winger Henry Bennett and striker Ross Marchant. Controversy reined however, as former Coach and Horses manager, now coach, Ben Rome lambasted manager Keogh’s changes, much to the confusion of the Coach’s away travelling contingent of 5.

The first goal of the season from Wetherby proved to be the foundation of their first three points of the season. After an initial reaction from the Coach, Athletic doubled their scoreline to 2-0 as a corner kick was headed in at the back post, to somewhat make Watts & Keogh’s task doubly harder with only 15 minutes left on the clock.

Before long, despite Coach’s best efforts to salvage something from the match, the final whistle sounded. After the match, co-manager Tyler Watts was graceful enough to speak with Coach Media, and despite the less than satisfactory result seemed in good spirits for what lay in the future.

Watts speaking: “Our first half performance showed promise, and spells of what the team are capable of both defensively and offensively.

“Additionally, we looked good at the back first half against a talented Wetherby outfit, and if we can continue to build on consistency and concentration across the full 90 minutes I see us causing trouble for other teams that come to play us.”


Coach and Horses: Lee, Solts, Bennett O, Bradley, Franklin, Watts, Mallinson (Keogh), Hardcastle (Bennett H), Marchant J, Shand, Voakes (Marchant R)

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