Axbridge vs Wrington Redhill Reserves
Weston & District Division 2
27 February 2015 2:30pm
As the annual fixture backlog started to reach crisis point, an unfamiliar Wrington side were pleased to finally play a game, as league strugglers Axbridge played host. Wrington were under no illusions that this would be a tough game – despite being toward the bottom of the table, Axbridge have recorded several narrow defeats, and so it proved as the visitors ran-out winners by a single goal margin. What turned out to be the winning goal was scored by Tom Johnson, poking home from inside a crowded box, although the game could have been made safe far earlier, when the same man saw his tame penalty well-saved.
Wrington started brightly, with Alastair Caulfield in goal and son Adam in the right back position. Old guard Chris Holland and Phil Williams marshalled the centre of defence with evergreen Mike Clements on the left.
As both teams tried to play football on a bobbly surface, the game was played at a decent pace, Axbridge perhaps benefitting from having a fixture the previous weekend to increase their match-sharpness. That said, Caulfield was only called into action on a couple of occasions in the first period, claiming well from a low cross and tipping a shot over the bar in relative comfort.
Wrington’s available personnel meant they were playing a 4-4-2, with returning Johnson and Rory Thomas getting well forward at pace on the wings, and Joe Moore joined by Owen Withers in the centre, matching up well against an Axbridge “midfield three” in a hard-working performance. Up top, Simon Lee again partnered Michak O’Connor, as the two continued to build their understanding.
Having been judged offside on several occasions, Lee finally managed to break the trap after a visionary ball from Holland, only to have his shot well-saved by the keeper. Shortly before the end of the first half, though, he made no mistake, when Moore’s hounding forced the right back into a poor back-pass, which Lee pounced upon to fire into the corner.
In the second half it was more of the same, and as the game wore on Axbridge shuffled their pack to throw more men forward, leaving Lee and O’Connor more space to operate, the former fouled inside the box to give Wrington the opportunity to extend their lead. After that chance was spurned, further opportunities for O’Connor and Thomas followed, before Johnson put the game safe in front of his visiting fanbase.
The visitor’s defence had stood firm all afternoon, particularly Adam Caulfield, as the youngster put in a faultness performance, but a rare failure to clear their lines presented the Axbridge forward with a late chance to dent a deserved clean sheet, which he duly did with a smart finish.
James Birbeck was introduced for Withers for his debut in a nervous finish, in which the away side did little to help themselves with some poor game management which saw possession squandered far too easily, but in the end the visitors held on for another valuable 3 points.
FULL TIME Axbridge 1-2 Wrington
Wrington: Alastair Caulfield, Adam Caulfield, C. Holland, P. Williams (C), M. Clements, T. Johnson, J. Moore, O. Withers (J. Birbeck), R. Thomas, S.Lee, M. O’Connor
MOTM: Adam Caulfield (Pictured)