Wigton Moor were aware going into this game having faced upto the reality that they are now in a relegation scrap following last weeks defeat which put Wigton back into the bottom two.
A number of changes to this weeks team, both enforced and tactically, saw Wigton turn in probably their best first half display of the season. Despite a slow opening 5 minutes during which the visitors were the better team Wigton quickly settled into their stride and dominated the remainder of the half. Darryl looked bright and on his game having linked up with Sharpie up front whilst Trueman, Bedders, Thomo and Scott were also dominating the midfield battle.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 25th minute through Darryl when Trueman was able to beat the keeper to the ball from a Scott Turner corner with Darryl applying the finishing touch from close range. It wasn’t before Wigton got their second when Trueman was able to burst into the box and duly beat the keeper with what was somewhat of a scrappy finish.
A tremendous first half was capped off with a second from Darryl just before the break when a long clearance from Grimes led to an intricate passing move on the edge of the Pannal penalty box before Darryl was played in behind the Pannal defence and casually placing the ball past the Pannal keeper. Wigton had totally dominated the first half with everyone playing their part, the back line looked calm and composed and limited the visitors to a handful of half chances whilst the attacking players had put together some fantastic passing combinations.
The second half started off in the same fashion as the first had finished with Captain Bedders increasing Wigton’s lead within the first minute of the re-start. Sharpie floated a free kick in from the left side and as everyone waited for the ball to arrive a sudden flash of red caught everyone’s eye as Bedders came steaming in like a runaway train to power the ball into the bottom corner, almost bursting the net in the process…! It was to everyone’s delight especially the Gaffa’s to see the old warhorse reel away in celebration.
Within minutes Wigton should have increased their lead further when Darryl broke clear and with only the keeper to beat and a hat trick begging he was unlucky to hit his shot straight into the keepers chest.
What followed however could have turned into a horror story as despite having discussed the complacency issue at half time Wigton began to rest of their laurels, stopped the short high tempo passing they had done so well in the first half and slowly invited pressure on the defence. Pannal were always going to have a decent spell in the game having been totally outplayed in the first half however instead of Wigton simply trying to clear their lines and play the unattractive long ball for 10 minutes to weather the storm Wigton began to dilly dally on the ball and when Eddie Tink was robbed of possession Pannal were able to get themselves on the score sheet. Wigton them went into their shell and withdrew further as the goal appeared to sap all the confidence from the team, especially Eddie Tink who appeared to be having a breakdown on the pitch when at one point he was seen on all fours beating his fists into the ground...! Concentration levels appeared to waive and a general sense of ‘hear we go again’ appeared to swell over the Wigton team especially as Pannal got a second when a shot from the edge of the area was deflected past Grimes.
Fortunately, Wigton were able to put the game to bed with 10 minutes to go when Greg Turner, having come on for his brother and making his debut calmly finished past the Pannal keeper when he found himself in a one on one situation.
A much needed win and a tremendous first half performance can be taken from this game together with a lesson learnt that during periods of sustained pressure against us, playing the long ball into the opposition half with the defence quickly pushing out towards the half way line should hopefully allow us to ride out the storm.