27 Nov 2019 in Match Reports
Town left frustrated
Town were held to a goalless draw by second bottom, St Martin’s, as Wythenshawe’s chances continued to go begging on a frustrating night for the away side.
However, after a tough opening hour to the match, Town thought they had finally found a breakthrough as Dom Smalley fired the ball into the back of the net from 18 yards, but was ruled offside.
Yet this wasn’t Wythenshawe’s only opportunity to win the game, as Liam Myers had his own chance late-on to be the ‘hero’ for Town.
But it was just one of those nights, the Town players were not clinical or sharp enough in a massively disappointing performance and it now leaves them eight points off a promotion finish – with one game in hand.
Sluggish from the get-go
Prior to the match, head coach James Kinsey, called for his players to remain proficient ahead of a game against a team who had not won since early August.
“The lads can’t afford any complacency at all” said Kinsey, but he didn’t get the reaction from the players that he usually would.
From the start Town were sluggish, very sluggish – however so were St Martin’s.
If they played against a team of better quality then it could have been even worse for Wythenshawe, half an hour it took for the visitors to have their first clear chance on goal.
Dean Warburton delivered a corner which met the head of St Martin’s skipper, Sean Moscrop, yet the headed clearance could only find his captain counterpart, Dom Smalley, 12 yards out.
But Smalley rushed it.
Instead of taking a touch he went straight for the volley, but this just resulted with his head in hands as the ball sailed high and wide – quite from contrast in finishing from the last match which saw Smalley score two.
And things did not get better in the first half for Town.
They were slow, they were sluggish and there was no tempo to their game but to Wythenshawe’s luck, the same can be said about St Martin’s.
Both teams went into the break goalless and the performance could have only got better.
Yet a difference in performance only became evident from the hour mark when new signing, Jordan Burton, was subbed on for Brad Byrne.
Byrne has been terrific all season yet in this match he was off the pace, whilst his replacement was electrifying on the left wing.
Burton constantly bullied Sean Holt and he was a massive lift for Town, in which five minutes after his arrival, the ball was in the back of the net.
A corner was delivered and the subsequent passage of the play was ‘scrappy’, many different players had the ball before it found its way to Will Shawcross twenty yards out.
With his first touch, Shawcross instantly laid it off to an offside Smalley, who shot low and hard across goal to put it past the keeper – as close as it would come for Town.
But Wythenshawe kept pushing, St Martin’s were offering nothing in attack and they were more than happy to camp in their own half to defend – Mason Mostyn could have just got a deck chair out.
Whilst defending for their lives, St Martin’s also continued to waste time with players going down injured to keep Town frustrated – it worked.
And the big chance, the biggest one fell to Liam Myers in stoppage time – the man Town would want their best opportunity to fall to.
A long pass was lofted into the box in which the second ball then fell to Myers ten yards out, but as he chested it he leant back.
Whilst leaning back he then took it on the half volley only for the curling shot to go narrowly over – Jack Perry was beaten, he was a spectator as the ball went towards the goal, but it wasn’t even on target.
Myers has been a goal machine in recent games, yet when he’s missing a chance like that then you just know it isn’t your night.
Shortly after the chance, the referee whistled for full-time and left Town with a bunch of “what-ifs”, as they failed to take advantage of a game-in-hand against a team who were on a 13-match winless run.
It wasn’t the best of places to go for a cold, Tuesday night but they were still sluggish and there was no “punch” in the way they performed – it was a game where they just weren’t clinical enough, but that happens to every team.
- Edward Hardy