Having battled hard the week previous against a well organised Burley Trojans team Wigton welcomed another promoted team, Pool ‘A’ as they looked to improve on what was a performance the week before which lacked cutting edge.
With their attacking threat blunted out by Burley the week previous the Gaffa was looking for a much better offensive display and that all important win in what was scheduled to be Wigton’s last league fixture of the calendar year, unfortunately though, despite an impressive opening 15 minute spell it wasn’t to be Wigton’s day.
With the pitches now becoming heavy and difficult to play the quick passing game that Wigton favour, the game became very difficult once the pitch began to cut up. The bright opening by Wigton had Pool on the back foot as the visitor’s somewhat aging team struggled to live with the pace and movement of a young Wigton team.
Warren Manners partnering Ebun up front worked the Pool back line tirelessly all day and showed a level of work rate and commitment that was missing from a number of Wigton players. His efforts were rewarded however when he was able to earn Wigton a penalty mid way through the first half. Warren chased down a pass before nicking the ball past a despairing Pool defender however his sliding tackle took Warren’s legs from beneath him leaving the ref no opportunity but to point to the spot.
Mike Shaw, having missed a penalty against Dalton earlier in the season stepped up but saw his effort saved by the Pool keeper, Captain Shatwell followed up with the rebound but saw his effort go wide of the post.
Unfortunately despite giving Pool a lesson early on in ball retention and passing and movement Wigton failed to create any other real chances for themselves and with the penalty save Pool began to grow in confidence.
As the half wore on and the pitch deteriorate the big and physical Pool team came more into the game and began to cause Wigton some problems with their direct attacking tactics whilst their aerially strong back line snuffed out any attempts by Wigton to release their forwards with the high ball.
It was still however somewhat against the run of play when Pool were able to take the lead shortly before half time with a quick counter attack as they worked themselves a 3 against 3 opportunity before one of the forwards was able to place the ball beyond Grimes.
The second half continued in the similar vain as the first had finished with neither team being able to take control of the game however shortly after the hour mark Wigton drew level when Warren finished from close range following some good work and a decent cross from Scott down the left.
Mike Shaw shortly after made way for Jamie Sheard in midfield and gave the Pool midfield something to think about as his energy and industry gave Wigton a more dynamic look to their play. Ed Tink and Scott also made way for Trigger and Gary respectively as the Gaffa looked to add some much needed impotence to their play.
As both teams looked for a winner the game became somewhat stretched with quick counter attacks a plenty on both sides however Grimes kept Pool at bay as he denied them on at least two occasions with good saves when finding himself in one on one situations. Wigton however despite their own attacks failed to create any real chances with the Pool keeper remaining genuinely untested throughout the game.
The clock did eventually run down with both teams sharing the points and whilst it was another game in which Wigton avoided defeat when they were not at their best, a trait essential in any successful team, it was disappointing from an offensive point of view as for the second week running Wigton failed to create many clear cut opportunities. .
Whilst Wigton’s title aspirations remain very much alive and most importantly, in their own hands, dropped points against lower placed opposition means that the games against fellow title challengers such as Harlow and Westbrook are now MUST win games as opposed to games when simply avoiding defeat would have been sufficient.
With the Xmas break now upon us and the next league action not until the 2nd January the Gaffa will be hopeful that the last 2 games were simply blips and that they will return to their usual high tempo level of play in the new year.