Machama on target as improving Wetherby edge past Knaresborough

Tendai Irvine Machama netted the decisive goal as Wetherby Athletic won at Knaresborough Town Reserves. Picture: Peter Arnett
Tendai Irvine Machama netted the decisive goal as Wetherby Athletic won at Knaresborough Town Reserves. Picture: Peter Arnett

Improving Wetherby Athletic claimed a 1-0 win on the road at local rivals Knaresborough Town Reserves courtesy of Tendai Irvine Machama’s second-minute goal.

Mark Forster’s side are now three games unbeaten, although their end-of-season resurgence looks to have come too late to save them from relegation from the West Yorkshire League Premier Division.

While survival is not yet mathematically impossible, second-bottom Athletic are still 10 points from safety with just six games left to play.

The Tangerines made a positive start to Saturday’s clash at Manse Lane and forced their hosts into several early mistakes, with Town defenders and goalkeeper failing to clear their lines.

From a throw-in by Phil Milsom, the ball was flicked on to Machama and in one movement the visiting number nine controlled the ball on his chest, before powering an unstoppable shot past the outstretched hands of Jack Rushworth.

The Athletic defence remained resolute to keep the home attack at bay and midway through the half an excellent pass from Joe Garside almost put Josh Wilson clean through on goal, but Knaresborough’s captain was equal to the task and made an excellent clearance.

Town looked dangerous at set-pieces and Wetherby had to ride their luck, making a number of scrambled clearances from well-taken corners.

A free-kick late in the half also flew just over the top of Mike Recchia’s crossbar.

Right on the stroke of half-time, it looked like the visitors would double their advantage after a ball into the box found Machama with the goal at his mercy, only for Byron Littlefair to produce a superb last-ditch tackle to thwart the danger.

Wetherby almost snatched a second goal on the hour-mark when Arran Horton saw a shot half-cleared and Wilson followed-up only to be denied by Rushworth.

Knaresborough pressed for an equaliser and went very closeto grabbing one through a dipping free-kick struck from just outside the area.

Right at the end of the game, an 80-yard lung-busting run from Matty Forster almost teed up substitute Rob Etherington to finish the game, and although the chance went begging, the Tangerines had already done enough to win the day.

Centre-half Jonny Brown was named man of the match following a commanding display at the heart of the away defence.