After a break of 7 weeks since their last competitive match Wigton were thrown back into league action against fellow title challengers and local rivals Westbrook YMCA.
With a strong squad available to the Gaffa Wigton were hopeful of taking the spoils going into the game but were aware that a tough challenge would lie ahead of them. Despite the lengthy break Wigton were into their grove right from the off forcing an early corner and were unlucky not to take an early lead when Thomo saw a decent effort from the edge of area rebound off the cross bar, despite Trueman getting to the rebound first he saw his header go wide of goal.
Wigton continued their positive start and were quickly on the offensive again when Warren made a good run down the left before cutting inside and squaring the ball for Thomo who hit the prefect volley back across the Westbrook keeper and into the far corner. Westbrook did look to get back into the game as they continued to employ their long ball tactics however the Wigton back line, well marshalled by Captain Shatwell and assisted by good defensive work by Scott and Trueman on the wings limited Westbrook to little chances of note.
As both teams neautralised each other out neither keeper was really tested until the half hour mark when Wigton doubled their lead. A well taken corner was met by Jack who saw his header crash against the bar and back down off the goal line before Scott was able to get the finishing touch and nod the ball in from close range.
With Westbrook still shell shocked Wigton extended their lead further within a few minutes when the hard working Warren made another good run down the left before beating two defenders as he cut into the box before placing a neat effort in off the far post.
As expected Westbrook began the second half with much more directness and purpose and despite having appeared to have weathered the early pressure Westbrook were given an opportunity to draw one back from the penalty spot when Wil Harris felled a Westbrook player in the Wigton area. Former Half Moon striker Shane Grace stepped up and despite Grimesy guessing the right way he wasn’t able to get a strong enough hand to the ball as he deflected it in off the post.
Moments later the game saw another key moment when Westbrook were able to create an opportunity from which a rebounded shot fell to a Westbrook player who was at least 3 yards offside, his effort beat Grimesy and despite Wigton’s appeals for offside the ref allowed the goal to stand. Despite every Wigton player feeling agrieved at the decision Eddie Tink managed to talk himself into the book for his remonstrations. Unfortunately, Eddie’s remonstrations didn’t stop after being shown the yellow card as he was then shown a straight red card for allegedly telling the ref to f&*k off.
As a result of a terrible opening 10 minutes in which Wigton had seen their 3 goal lead reduced to a single goal and having been reduced to 10 men Wigton knew theywould need to battle hard for the remaining 35 minutes if they were to hang onto those valuable 3 points. An enforced change due to Eddie’s red card saw Jhon withdrawn up front and Trigger brought on to shore up the back line as Wigton switched to a 4-4-1 formation.
Over the following ten minutes Westrbook continued to pile forward as they sought an equaliser however Wigton’s 10 men held out well as they continue to restrict Westbrook to no clear cut opportunities, the closest they came was well the ball was knocked loose from Grimes’s grasp but the ref judged that the challenge on Grimes had been a foul.
With 15 minutes to go and with Wigton still looking comfortable, despite their numerical disadvantage the Gaffa brough fresh legs on to to bolster midfield as Mike replaced the hard working Will who had performed admirably on his debut outing for the first team and Ebun who replaced Scott.
As the game entered it’s final stages Ebun created a half chance before seeing his effort go wide before Wigton were able to see the game out 3-2 and secure all 3 valuable points. After the final whistle, the referee who had a shocker having stopped the game at every opportunity by continuously blowing up for petty fouls showed a further 2 red cards to Westbrook players after the whistle.
Aside from the referee’s poor display, everyone of Wigton’s players worked hard and contributed to an important win, the back line copped admirably with Westbrook’s long ball tactics whilst being aided by the hard working Scott and Trueman who performed their defensive duties well helping out the full backs when necessary. Meanwhile Will and Thomo dominated the midfield battle whilst Warren and Jhon worked tirelessly to constantly pressue Westbrook’s back line.
The win now puts Wigton in pole position and the title now back in their hands. As long as no complacenecy slips into Wigton’s performaces and they continue to work hard every game, they have a real chance of achieiving something special this year.
Grimes 7, Ed Tink 7 (Sent Off) (Trigger 7), Jack 8, Shatwell 8, Arron 8, Stephen Trueman 8, Will Harris 8 (Mike Shaw 7), Thomo 9*, Scott Turner 8, Jhon Machado 7 (Ebun 7), Warren Manners 9