14 Sep 2019 in Match Reports
Smalley on the chase
Hugs all round
Lads in the dugout
Wythy Town produced a second half fight-back to progress into the next round of the FA Vase thanks to goals from Brad Byrne and Stuart Wellstead.
Wellstead may have begun to believe in the Friday 13th hoodoo after his penalty in the first half ricocheted off the same post that had thwarted his effort from 12 yards against Cheadle Town.
However, the former Rylands man wasn’t to be denied for a second time when he struck what ultimately ended up being the winning goal after Jack Timmons deflected effort fell kindly at the feet of the forward who was only too happy to oblige.
Brad Byrne struck the leveller after Skelmersdale United’s winger Luke Holden-Moakes had given the hosts the lead against the run of play.
How the game panned out
Town came out of the traps far more sprightly than the hosts, creating a plethora of chances but being unable to breach the Skelmersdale rear guard.
Jerome Wright continuously made forays forward from left back, beating Matthew Coughlan all ends up before his left-footed effort towards the near post was fended off well by Ben Barnes.
Wellstead came close to opening the scoring after a poor defensive error let in Byrne and gave him ample space to find the striker who was unbalanced when taking on the shot and failed to get enough purchase on the ball.
The referee then signalled for a Town penalty after Byrne was once again causing havoc and was eventually toppled inside the area.
As the designated spot-kick taker, Wellstead stepped up to the mark but sent his second penalty of the season onto the upright.
A sense of belief seemed to all of a sudden wash over the hosts as they began to rally back from such a fortunate let off, and their bombardment of the Town goal got underway.
Callum Jakovlevs came to Town’s aid after an awkward ball across the face of goal bamboozled the backline before reaching an unmarked forward at the far post but the Town number one was able to retain parity by spreading his body and smothering the effort from close range.
However United forced themselves into a 1-0 lead after the defence let slip Holden-Moakes who made no mistake as he coolly slotted past Jakovlevs who had charged out to make his presence known, but alas to no avail.
United came perilously close to doubling their advantage on the stroke of half time when John Keatley rattled the crossbar with a deftly dipping half volley before Richard Brodie picked up the pieces on the edge of the area only to strike the left-hand post. A lucky escape would be putting it lightly.
With Town down but by no means out, half time came and the team talk from Kinsey would have been a simple one. Simple but effective.
There was a sense of urgency about Town, an urgency that hasn’t necessarily been incredibly key in the previous few fixtures because of the comfortable nature of the victories.
However, this team showed the character and grit required to overturn supposedly larger outfits in the face of adversity, representing the dynamism amidst their armoury to grind out results as well as produce scintillating whitewashes.
Brad Byrne has been one of the players within this squad that has epitomised that battling nature as he found the equaliser on the hour mark, following up on Wellstead’s freekick that was only parried as far as the forward who was there to pounce on the loose ball, sending the Wythy faithful into raptures.
Missing a penalty kick may well have sparked a nagging sense of doubt into any sane person but this Town team are proving that this run of sparkling form is nothing from the realms of the ordinary.
Stuart Wellstead as he so often does, found himself in the right place at the right time to squeeze his effort past the Skelmersdale keeper after Jack Timmons deflected effort found its way to the six-yard area for the attacker to turn the tie on its head.
“It was a massive relief to get the goal, especially after the disappointment of missing the penalty. As a team we worked really hard for the first 30 minutes but after me missing that penalty it seemed to turn the game in Skem’s favour.
“But we hung in and after going in one down at half time and some inspirational words of wisdom from Kinsey I felt we dominated the second half. It’s great to go through into the hat for the next round and once again against another higher ranked opponent.”
As the game drew to a nail-biting finale, screams of “TAKE IT TO THE CORNER!” could be fathomed and eventually the referee blew the whistle on what was a pulsating game and a wonderful watch…if you’re a Town fan.
Seven games consecutively have elapsed without really faltering and the run shows very little signs of slowing down.
James Kinsey: “I thought we dominated the match apart from the last twenty minutes in the first half. We would have been good value for the lead if the penalty goes in at 0-0 but it wasn’t to be. We were frustrated as the miss affected us.
“There wasn’t that confidence about us that we’ve seen in recent weeks. People demanding the ball and wanting to go and do something with it. We spoke about that at half time and the second half was one-way traffic.
“When everybody is wanting to get on the ball it’s hard to defend against. The movement and work rate second half were superb. We have to maintain that for ninety minutes against Oswestry next week and we are confident of going there and winning. One game at a time but the lads are really digging in now.”