Not really sure where to start with pigeon-holing this one.
The consensus on Twitter last night from those neutrals that attended was that it was “an entertaining game”. It was, to an extent, but it was also terribly scrappy in parts with both teams surrendering possession cheaply and/or resorting to long ball. It didn’t feel as “high key” as perhaps it should have been.
All plans I had of avoiding the use of Halloween cliches in this match report were thrown out of the window in the fourth minute when the visitors took the lead.
A ball that had been sent down the left channel and heading harmlessly for the byline was retrieved and then cleared, inexplicably, straight back into our own penalty area and into danger. Waiting on the edge of the area was Wythenshawe’s Sam Marshall who looked up and cracked home a fierce drive.
Horror show of a goal to concede. The nightmare start. Et cetera.
In the opening ten minutes the visitors had given us plenty to think about as we failed to get going.
James Dunn had to intervene with a fantastic last-ditch tackle even before we had conceded and an opportunity from a good position was wasted, thankfully, when they were in down the left-hand side once again.
Rhys Clooney’s long-range effort that went just wide on 11 minutes signalled our awakening and we were level just three minutes later.
Collecting a ball in from the left wing, Tom Ratican [and not Rhys Clooney as I had originally reported on Twitter] did very well to evade a series of challenges before rounding the keeper and slotting home from close range.
Just a minute later Robbie Wallis was sent scampering down the right but could only drag his resulting shot wide of the far post.
Danny Whiting then had to claw an awkward cross-shot from underneath his own crossbar on 20 minutes but then could do nothing about Wythenshawe re-taking the lead four minutes later when Brad Byrne latched onto a dinked ball down the right and waited for it to sit just right for him to unleash an unstoppable shot into the far corner.
And that was that in terms of goals, but certainly not in terms of chances as both teams poked and prodded each other in the second half.
Wythenshawe had two great chances within the opening six minutes of the restart.
A ball in from the right was met in the area with a great turn but the resulting shot was screwed well wide with Danny Whiting then doing very well to beat away a fierce shot at his near post.
Ben Brooks was then sent clean through down the right but was denied by a great stop by the keeper before a lull in proceedings was broken by substitute Rhys Webb’s fancy footwork down the left, annoyingly resulting in his shot cannoning off the post.
A Danny Whiting save at the far post in the 72nd minute was the final act on goal as the match petered out to its unsatisfactory conclusion.
The gap between us and the top spot is now 10 points. Of course there is still time to challenge for it but that will have to start now as we have a clutch of key matches coming up, mainly against those that have the same promotion ambitions as us.
Next up is a visit from high-flying Abbey Hulton United this Saturday.
TEAM: Whiting, Neild (Webb), Sherrington, Russell (Collinson), Harrison, Dunn, Wallis, Hincks, Clooney (Ambrose), Ratican, Brooks. SUBS: Collinson, Ambrose, Knight, Webb. Morrison (gk)