Wrington Redhill Reserves vs Hutton
13 December 2014 1.45pm
A much improved second half performance was not enough to stop the reserves exiting the Atwell Shield after failing to overcome a poor first period which Division 1 side Hutton capitalised upon to put the game safe.
Midfielder Mick Edmunds deputised for the absent James Vowles in the Wrington goal, behind the usual back three of Phil Williams, Nick Curtis and Callum Briggs, who was playing his final game of the season for the club due to a new job. An unfamiliar midfield trio of Dan McMullen, Dan Burnett and Phil Hartnup joined Joe Moore and Paul Faulkner in the wide positions, with Tom Johnson and Chris Vowles leading the line.
Wrington started slowly and were immediately under pressure, as Briggs ended his fine record of not having conceded a goal this season by burying a bullet header into his own net on 10 minutes from a Hutton free-kick. Further soft goals followed on 19 and 32 minutes as Hutton walked straight through Wrington’s midfield unopposed.
In truth, the away side could have easily been more than three goals to the good at half time, as they passed up more opportunities to extend their lead. Playing directly into the low winter sun, the hosts were finding it very difficult to pick even simple passes, Moore among a number of players failing to find a teammate as he over-hit a through ball for Johnson.
Manager Julian Moss has made no secret of his aspiration to compete at division 1 standard or higher, and in recent seasons Wrington have enjoyed the cup competitions as an opportunity to test themselves against the very best in the league. On the evidence of the first half they were still some way short, and Moss demanded that the players go out salvage some pride by winning the second half.
The injured Briggs was replaced by Louis Rouvrais at the back and Wrington immediately started the brighter of the two teams, finally getting their passing together and beginning to apply some pressure. The home side did fall further behind against the run of play on 55 minutes though, as they were guilty of pushing too many men forward in attack, allowing Hutton to beat the offside trap to tap home in a second phase of play.
Moss made a final switch to replace McMullen with James Marshall, who joined Vowles in attack, with Johnson pushing wider and Moore returning to his central midfield berth. Wrington were not disheartened by the goal and kept pushing forward, finally getting the reward their second half efforts deserved as Johnson notched his fifth of the season and fourth in four games, which was richly deserved for a hard afternoon’s graft against a well organised Hutton defence.
Buoyed by the goal and as Hutton appeared to tire on a heavy pitch, Wrington were awarded a penalty for a foul on Johnson, which Moore converted in the absence of usual penalty taker Nick Buck, for his fourth in three games.
Moments later, an even stronger penalty claim was waved away by the referee as Johnson was tripped from behind. Johnson commendably tried to stay on his feet, which allowed the referee to deem that he had received an advantage, despite the attack coming to nothing.
It was clear to see that Wrington now believed that they could still force extra time, as they poured forward with a sense of injustice, which was added to when Vowles had the ball in the back of the net moments later after a teasing cross from Johnson, as the goal was disallowed by the Hutton linesman.
Wrington continued to push forward, but the full time whistle was blown, and despite a creditable fight back the hosts were eliminated from the cup. The home side were left rueing what might have been had the two key second half decisions gone their way, but in truth reaching extra time would have been undeserved after a lacklustre first half in which they were well below their best and where the game was all but lost.
FULL TIME Wrington 2-4 Hutton
Wrington: Edmunds, Briggs (Rouvrais), Williams (C), Curtis, Faulkner, Moore, McMullen (Marshall), Hartnup, Burnett, Johnson, C. Vowles.