Having been held to a 1-1 draw the previous week at relegation rivals Burley the Gaffa was looking for his troops to bounce back and get back to winning ways in the return home league fixture. With fellow relegation battlers Spa Athletic picking up a shock win at Beckwithshaw the previous week the bottom of the table is very tight with 4 teams starting the game on the same points total and so a win from this game was essential.
Unfortunately, it was not to be.
The first half started off slowly as Wigton failed to get a grip on the game as the organisational presence that had been evident in the previous 3 outings wasn’t there to be seen and after 15 minutes Burley took the lead. Burley had a different keeper in between the sticks this week and when the Wigton back line failed to deal with his long clearance the Burley right winger latched onto the loose ball before drilling a finish high into Grimes’ net with what their first effort on target.
Wigton fought back and were the better team for the remainder of the half as Burley were not allowed any more chances on goal however Wigton were struggling to create any real chances of note themselves as Burley played with a deep back line to counter Wigton’s pace in attack. Unfortunately, despite recent weeks, Wigton were unable to get their passing game going as poor decision making and a lack of movement off the ball made it hard for Wigton to play their usual free flowing passing.
Wigton were able to tie the scores up before half time when an Eddie Tink free kick was bravely met by Darryl just inside the area. The Burley keeper making his only mistake of the game as he came rushing out to punch the ball, only for Darryl to beat him to it and the ball to cross an unguarded goal as the advancing keeper was left totally stranded.
Despite a half time talk Wigton failed to improve second half and despite instructions to use the wings and get in behind the deep sitting Burley full backs Trueman and Darryl were hardly involved in these areas on the pitch for the first 30 minutes on the second half.
With just over an hour gone Ebun came deep to collect the ball before turning and running at goal only to see his effort narrowly clear the Burley cross bar as he fell under the pressure of a Burley player. Despite it appearing as though Ebun had been fouled the ref signalled for a goal kick. Ebun was slow to get to his feet and the reason soon became apparent, unfortunately in putting his arms out to cushion his fall Ebun had dislocated his right elbow.
After a lengthy delay the game restarted and once again Burley were the team who looked more of a threat as cracks began to appear in the Wigton defence as they began to drop deeper. With 20 minutes to go and with Shatwell sitting in his usual deep position both Burley strikers pushed on beyond the other 3 Wigton defenders and when the ball was squared to the second striker he was clean through on Grimes. His shot though rebounded off the post before the fellow striker who was marginally onside at the time of the shot was able to prod home into an unguarded net.
With Wigton a goal down the Gaffa made a tactical substitution and changed formation to a more attacking 3-5-2. The change of system brought Trueman back into the game and Scott impressed down the left side also. Wigton had the better of the remaining 20 minutes and squandered a handful of opportunities they had created however it was not through any of these that Wigton got themselves back into the game.
The Burley keeper calmly collected a Wigton corner but to everyone’s amazement the ref then awarded a penalty for a push on a Wigton player that nobody, other than the ref had seen! Mike Shaw stepped up and casually placed it to the keepers left giving the keeper no chance.
Wigton created a few more half chances in the dying moments but were unable to force any of them home and were in the end fortunate to take a point from this game.
There is no doubt that this performance was sub-standard and that the desire to win both these crucial back to back relegation games was more apparent in the Burley players than ours. Despite having turned out 2 excellent performances against Pannal and Harlow an element of complacency has been shown in the last 2 performances as we appear to think that ‘weve cracked it’. Unfortunately this is far from the case and that we have to all work hard collectively as a team EVERY GAME to earn our victories. Next week sees us travel to fellow relegation strugglers Spa Athletic were a considerable improvement in our play and mental focus on the game is needed if we are to get back to winning ways.