This week saw a festive fixture as Wigton travelled away to local rivals Leeds City in what was always going to be one of the most difficult games of the season having already been on the receiving end of two Leeds City defeats earlier in the season.
A number of missing first team regulars for this fixture saw the Gaffa not only recall himself for a rare start but included Lee Sharpe at centre halve, Greg Thomson at right midfield and Chris Bainbridge deputising for the absent Chris Grimes between the sticks.
Leeds City started brightly however despite some sustained pressure they failed to break through a resolute and hard working Wigton back line. The first half offered little by way of goal scoring opportunities for either team, Leeds City going close with a well struck free kick that clipped the far post whilst also being unlucky to be denied a penalty when Sharpie brought down one of the Leeds City strikers. Wigton’s only effort of note meanwhile was a Paul Bedford header from a well flighted free kick by Greg Thomson.
The second half started in same vein as the first had ended with Leeds City dominating possession and territory as Wigton defended resolutely however the deadlock was finally opened 10 minutes after the interval when a ball down the left side was played across into the Wigton’s six yard box where a Leeds City midfielder was able to time his run before giving Bainbridge no chance from six yards out. Just after the hour the Gaffa rang the changes as both himself and Darryl were replaced by Dom Hallas and a sober Chris Lone, a tactical switch also saw Sharpie replace Bedders in midfield and it wasn’t long before Wigton began to regain not only possession of the ball but also territory as they started to put the Leeds City back line under the pressure. In fact they were somewhat unlucky themselves to have a shout for a penalty waved away when Ebun Lennon was felled in the area.
As the game entered the last 10 minutes Wigton pushed on for an equaliser and when it did finally come it was a spectacular one, a Wigton cross was heading out by a Leeds defender and as the ball fell on the edge at the area it was met perfectly on the volley by Chris Lone as the ball flew past a stranded keeper into the far corner.
In the dying minutes however Wigton’s hard work was nearly undone when the ball fell to the feet of a Leeds City forward who with only the keeper to beat from a few yards out must surely have thought he had won it for his team however the deputising Bainbridge amazed everyone with a world class double save to deny Leeds City a last gasp winner as Wigton held out for their deserved point.
Leeds City are in my opinion the best team in this division and have proven that by winning every game, be it league or cup before this match. The lads that played this game can take great pride in their performance as every player showed fantastic battling spirit and character with each player playing their own part in this well deserved point. Hopefully the poor start to the season is now behind us and we can build on our improving recent results. Well done lads.