Wigton travelled to Spa Athletic for the Alverton Trophy ¼ final with high hopes of progressing to the next round having dominated proceedings the week earlier in their league encounter. The Gaffa however was forced to make a number of changes with defensively stalwart Shatwell missing together with midfield duo Adam and Captain Bedders.
In an attempt to out think Spa who set up the week previous with a 4-5-1 formation Wigton adopted a 3-5-2 shape from the start. Spa however, with a number of different players in their team from the previous week changed their formation as they deployed a 4-3-3 system and looked an instant threat when going forward against Wigton’s 3 central defenders.
Within 10 minutes Spa took the lead when a long ball was played against the wind holding up for the Spa forwards to chase onto over the top of the Wigton defence, the Spa forward getting the better of the foot race and beating Grimes with a well hit volley on the run. Wigton however hit back immediately when Greg Turner found himself in space in the Spa box to place a well struck effort past the Spa keeper. As the game continued in it’s hectic end to end manner Spa re-established their lead with a carbon copy of their first goal, another long ball over the top resulted with the Spa forward getting the better of Grimes in a 1 on 1 situation.
With the score at 2-1 inside the first 15 minutes and with Wigton looking unsettled in their 3-5-2 formation a change was made to switch back to their more familiar 4-4-2 formation. The results were instant as Scott was able to poke home from a tight angle to re-establish parity in the scores.
Wigton began to find their feet with the change of formation and they began to create more opportunities whilst also looking more reassured at the back and it wasn’t long then before Wigton took the lead and from that point on, there was only going to be one winner. Following what was Wigton’s best attacking move of the half some good quick intricate passing allowed Darryl to run onto a neat pass and drill a low finish past the Spa keeper from the edge of the area.
Wigton now had their tails up as their fourth and fifth goals came before the break, the fourth being a wonderful solo effort from the brilliant Mike Shaw when he perfectly volleyed a well placed corner from Greg Thomson whilst positioned on the edge of the D before reeling away in delight as his low shot squeezed in at the near post.
Spa were now on the ropes and were desperate to hang till half time as they would have the wind advantage in the second half however a push in the back of a Wigton player following a throw from deep in Spa territory led to a penalty which Mike neatly dispatched.
Spa came out for the second half with revised confidence after the re-start in the hope of grabbing an early goal with the wind advantage however the wind was quickly taken out their sails when Greg Thomson struck a free kick from outside the area just inside the Spa keeper’s far post to extend Wigton’s lead.
Wigton maintained their high line as they defended against the wind and continued to frustrate Spa who could see the clock ticking down and any cup hopes they had slowly disappear. With just over an hour gone the Gaffa made a few changes as he looked to bring fresh legs on in midfield and defence for Greg Thomson and Swifty respectively.
With the game at 6-2 Spa grabbed a life line as they scored their third goal with another wind assisted long ball that was met by the Spa manager to beat Grimes with a volley from just inside his penalty area.
This third goal sparked Wigton back into life and within minutes they had re-established their 4 goal cushion with Trueman breaking his goal scoring drought as he beat the Spa keeper from a tight angle. Goal scorer then turned provider as Trueman placed a pin point cross against the face of the Spa goal for Darryl to neatly header into the bottom far post corner.
Next week Wigton will travel to Harold Styans in the cup semi final as they bid to make it to the final where the winners will play Thirsk who grabbed the shock result of the cup with a comprehensive victory over favorite’s Leeds City.
Wigton can take great pride in the way they battled back from behind on two occasions to win this game whilst also again looking a very good attacking team when in possession of the ball.