Wrecclesham traveled away to Surrey Athletic for their last League fixture of 2016, looking for a fourth consecutive victory to stay within touching distance of 2nd placed Horsley heading into the new year.
With the team lining up 4-4-2, Mike Newton and Nick Sims spearheaded the Wolves strike force in a competitive, battling performance against bottom of the league Surrey AFC.
The early part of the game was even with both teams carving opportunities out in the opening minuets. The first goal of the game though went to Wrecclesham, as Nick Sims opened the scoring with a nice finish past the Surrey stopper after working the opportunity nicely with strike partner Newton and the supporting midfielders after 15mins. This pushed Surrey up a gear and they had their rewards shortly after the opener. Wrecclesham switched off, lost the ball in the midfield and allowed Surrey a shot inside the box which found its way past Warren Thompson in the Wolves net.
The first half continued with the play going from end to end and chances for both teams. Warren Thompson preserved the parity for the Wolves with a fantastic double save midway through the first half after a fierce dipping shot managed to wriggle out of his grasp and the rebound fell to the Surrey attackers but Thompson was again able to save another rasping shot and Wrecclesham eventually scrambled the ball clear. Seemingly a turning point, Wrecclesham dominated the closing stages of the first half from this point and took the lead 10 minutes before the half time whistle, this time Sims providing the cross for Newton to head home from just outside the six yard box.
Unfortunately this again saw Surrey up the ante and push forwards in search of their second equaliser which came with only minuets left of the half to play. Another shot from the edge of the box creeping in to the bottom left hand corner of the Wrecclesham net to leave the game poised at 2-2 at the break. This prompted a reshuffle of the team and formation during half time with Wrecclesham going to a 3-4-3 formation to try and provide a little further attacking impetus. Centre Backs Liam Gardener and Ollie Temple either side of captain Luke Wainwright were to provide the last line of defence, while full backs Alex Rigby and Lee Phung were pushed higher up the pitch to provide support on the wings for Axel Galvani, moving to a more central role from the wing to support, Elliot Worsel and Drew Unsworth adding to the pace upfront alongside Sims and Newton in attack in a new look formation for the Wolves.
The new formation took a little while to settle into for Wrecclesham and were almost behind straight after kick off but Thompson tipped a low effort just around the post. Wrecclesham were in a generous mood and they almost handed Surrey an early Christmas present shortly after at the beginning of the second half, as Lee Phung got the wrong side of his man in the box and both took a tumble, penalty! After some arguments from the Wrecclesham players, Surrey stepped up to the spot but fired wide from 12 yards. As Wrecclesham settled into the second half the Wolves dominance grew from here and 10 minutes later Wrecclesham had a spotkick of their own. Axel Galvani touching a loose ball past his man in the box and received a wild kick to the shins for his trouble but it did give Elliot Worsell the opportunity to regain the lead from the spot which the central midfielder took with aplomb, cooly sending the goalkeeper the wrong way to make the scores 2-3 to the Wolves.
The game was, again, open as Surrey pushed for an equaliser but this left Wrecclesham open to push for more goals and dominate possession in the midfield. Warren Thompson had to make several fine stops over the course of the half but was determined not to be beaten again and this gave the Wrecclesham players the confidence to continue pushing forwards instead of trying to retain the slender lead. 15 minutes for time Nick Sims wrapped up the victory after receiving the ball on the edge of the box and beating a challenge, slipped the ball past the goalkeeper to give the Wolves a 4-2 lead. Wrecclesham saw the game out with relative ease hereafter to finish the calendar year with another victory and within touching distance of the promotion positions heading into 2017.
Some fine performances during the game made it another hard choice but Warren Thompson took home the final Man of the Match award for 2016 for some stunning saves and keeping the team in the game when needed most. Nick Sims and Michael Newton upfront also deserve a special mention for their link up play during the game having not had much game time with one another this season so far.
N. Sims (2), M. Newton, E. Worsell
Last updated about 2 years ago
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