With the weather wreaking havoc with fixtures across the Alliance we were fortunate to be able offer Wideopen a reversal of the fixture to Temple Park, following an initial postponement due to frost.
We’re grateful they took us up on the offer as a fixture pile-up at the back end of the season is never desirable.
With a full squad to choose from and the inclusion of our new signings we were able to change formation in the hope of controlling the number of goals conceded.
We started the game in comfortably with Davey Conroy controlling things in the middle of the park and Dan Wilson & Grant Willis getting plenty of joy down the flanks.
Willis in particular taking on his full back and delivering some decent crosses in to the box that alluded the front pairing of Anthony Chapman & Andy Smith.
Wideopen were defending resolutely and limited our chances to speculative long range efforts that failed to test the keeper.
At the other end we were defending comfortably against any threat from Wideopen.
A lapse in concentration nearly cost us as their right winger found himself played in but his shot from the corner of the box sailed narrowly wide.
We continued to probe, with the energetic Jordan Howe looking to break the Wideopen defensive line from midfield.
About 35 minutes in we got our breakthrough.
Midfielder Mick Cave playing in Howe from deep and he applied a calm finish past the keeper after surging past the Wideopen defence.
Our lead was then doubled as we controlled possession.
Again good work down the left saw Smith played in, by strike partner Chapman, as he rifled a shot past the keeper into the net via the inside of the back post.
HALF TIME: 2 - 0.
We felt at half-time that a further goal or two would be crucial in killing the game off and I urged the lads to be clinical in doing so.
We took a little while to get going again and were nearly caught out but the Wideopen striker skewed his shot wide when well placed.
This was the kick up the backside we needed and we furthered our lead on 50 minutes.
Howe again getting in to the box to follow up with a side-footed finish.
Two minutes later we got our fourth.
Chapman played through on the half way line, he strode forward in to the box, sliding in to beat the keeper to the ball, following a heavy touch that the keeper thought he could get to.
Wideopen got themselves on the score sheet 5 minutes later, the number 9 sneaking in behind the defence and finishing in assured fashion.
We were beginning to take advantage of the width of the pitch and playing out easily from defence in to midfield and then out to our wingbacks who were full of running all afternoon.
We extended our lead further after 60 minutes.
Caffrey fouled 20 yards out and Conroy stepped up to despatch the free-kick in to the top bin, curling over the wall to leave the keeper stranded.
Just after the 5th we added to our days scoring tally.
Conroy playing in Craig Mann on the right side he strode forward 30 yards with the ball and when we all expected him to cross for Chapman in the box, he surprised everyone watching with a sublime dink over the keeper that nestled just inside the far post.
We were almost attacking at will and substitute Sean Caffrey was causing problems with his pace and nearly got in on the act, but couldn’t quite find the target with his lob from 25 yards.
Howe grabbed his hat-trick minutes later.
In similar fashion to his second, an attack was blocked inside the wideopen box and Howe was on hand to follow up and smash the ball home from 18 yards.
Wideopen were still game and found a late spurt of life.
They played themselves in to a good position in our half and our defence was caught ball watching and the Wideopen winger was slipped in and finished calmly.
The scoring for the afternoon wasn’t completely over.
Andrew Jaggers, another second-half substitute twisted and turned in the box.
His initial shot was blocked but the ball fell to him again as he regained his footing.
He managed to poke the ball to the on-rushing Willis who slotted home to wrap up the scoring.
FULL TIME: Whitburn Athletic 8 – 2 Wideopen FC