Wedmore vs Wrington Redhill Reserves
21 February 2015 2.00pm
Having won the Division 4 Cup last season, Wrington began their campaign to win the Division 3 Cup with a quarter final win away at Wedmore, having received a bye in the first round. The two sides had yet to meet in the league, so the fixture also served as an important statement of intent ahead of those two fixtures, a fact pointed out by stand-in manager Phil Williams in the absence of Julian Moss.
Both sides started slowly on a heavy, uneven surface, but Wrington were the earliest to settle, getting the ball down and playing some decent passing moves. Strikers Jan Nielsen and Tom Johnson were dropping slightly deeper to collect the ball and bring Wrington’s midfield into the game, particularly wing-backs Joe Moore and Paul Faulkner. Inside 10 minutes Wrington were awarded a soft free-kick , setting the tone for a fussy refereeing performance thoughout, and Mick Edmunds stepped up to fire a fierce low shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Wrington grew in confidence and could have extended their lead to put the game safe. Phil Hartnup, Moore and Neilsen linked up well to create an opening for Neilsen to strike the foot of the post, and the same trio went even closer shortly afterwards as Moore flicked on Hartnup’s cross for Neilsen to finish, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.
Wrington were left rueing these missed opportunities as Wedmore levelled with virtually the last kick of the first period, after a long ball into the away side’s box wasn’t cleared and the Wedmore striker converted the loose ball from close range. Returning keeper James Vowles had been largely untroubled except for a corner that he claimed well, so the equaliser was a disappointment for the away side. Nick Curtis, Paul Burnett and Louis Rouvrais had provided excellent protection from Wedmore’s direct approach, the latter in particular winning headers throughout the afternoon.
With Johnson retiring injured at half time, Dan McMullen was introduced in attack, and an entertaining game developed as the heavy pitch sapped energy from the players’ legs. Wrington came closest to winning the game in normal time – hitting the crossbar twice and failing to convert from a series of corners. A final chance to avoid extra time fell to Rouvrais, who had been moved into attack following Dan Burnett’s introduction in place of Nielsen, but he slid a one-on-one chance agonisingly wide.
With both sides tiring, Wrington stepped up a gear in the first period of extra time and extended their league following another terrific free-kick from Edmunds in a similar position, this time firing low to the left side of the goal off the inside of the post. Wrington then appeared to have put the game safe when captain Nick Buck showed vision to play a delightful through ball for Rouvrais, who this time made no mistake.
Wedmore were not out of the game however, particularly with a series of free-kicks that they were awarded in dangerous positions. Wrington did not heed the warning, and Wedmore eventually converted such an opportunity with a top-corner effort that Vowles could do nothing to keep out.
The goal set up a nervous final 15 minutes for the away side, but some solid defending, at times desperate, saw them hold on to progress into the semi-finals.
FULL TIME Wedmore 1-1 Wrington (2-3 after extra time)
Wrington: Vowles, Curtis, Rouvrais, P. Burnett, Faulkner, Moore, Buck (C), Edmunds, Hartnup, Nielsen (D. Burnett), Johnson (McMullen)