Wetherby denied much-needed victory in cruel fashion

Josh Wilson nets his second goal against Robin Hood Athletic. Picture: Peter Arnett
Josh Wilson nets his second goal against Robin Hood Athletic. Picture: Peter Arnett

Wetherby Athletic were denied a much-needed three points by a goal scored in the fifth minute of added time of Saturday’s clash with Robin Hood Athletic.

A stunning Josh Wilson hat-trick looked to have given the West Yorkshire League Premier Division strugglers a precious 3-2 victory at The Ings, only for the visitors to snatch a last-gasp leveller in contentious circumstances.

“To draw to a goal scored in the fiftieth minute of the second half is beyond words,” Tangerines manager Mark Forster said.

“Josh Wilson scored three great goals and I do feel robbed again today.

“I think that some people must think since we are at the bottom, we are an easy touch.

“It’s so disappointing and we didn’t deserve it, but when you are at the bottom of the league, you get nothing.”

Robin Hood made the better start to the game and probed the Wetherby back line early on, forcing home gloveman Mike Recchia to tip a close-range effort over the bar.

It took the Rothwell-outfit just eight minutes to take the lead, however, a ball in from the right wing finished off first time at the back post by a visiting forward.

Having lost their previous three games and been thumped 8-0 last time out, Forster’s relegation-threatened troops could easily have let their heads go down having fallen behind so early on.

Instead, they rolled up their sleeves and set about trying to drag themselves back into the contest.

With Josh Kirk buzzing up and down the left flank and Joe Whiteley showing some nice touches in midfield, the hosts began to knock the ball about with some confidence.

The pacey Wilson looked a threat playing on the shoulder of the last Hood defender and after 16 minutes the Tangerines striker got his side back on terms.

Arran Horton’s pass sent Wilson racing in on goal and he calmly planted his finish over the advancing keeper and high into the back of the net.

Recchia had already made one fine double-save to keep the score at 1-0 before his side’s equaliser, and he was forced into action again, saving a shot from outside the box with his legs.

At the other end, Wetherby continued to look a threat in behind and Horton smashed a drive against a post, the ball then rebounding off the back of the goalkeeper and onto the post for a second time before it was cleared.

If the away team had enjoyed the better of the first part of the opening period, it was Wetherby who finished it the stronger.

Just moments before the whistle, Wilson curled a left-footed effort from 20 yards out just too high with the Hood stopper rooted to the spot.

After a fairly even and uneventful start to the second period, the game burst into life just after the hour-mark when the Tangerines moved in front.

Wilson picked the ball up on the left edge of the penalty area and showed some sublime footwork, shimmying past three defenders and then blasting a low effort past the visiting custodian at his near post and into the bottom corner of the goal.

Buoyed by taking the lead, Wetherby continued to press forwards and when the Hood defence failed to clear a ball into their box, it eventually dropped for Wilson to volley in his third from close to the penalty spot.

Forster’s side were good value for their lead, but as Hood threw caution to the wind and committed more men forward, they inevitably began to look more of a threat.

The visitors trimmed the deficit with 71 minutes on the clock when a low strike from the right edge of the area beat the dive of Recchia at his near post.

With centre-halves Josh Buckley and Jonny Brown impressive and Recchia displaying a safe pair of hands, Wetherby managed to negotiate most of the remaining 19 minutes of normal time without too much alarm.

At the other end, Hood looked increasingly short of numbers and Wilson almost got in on goal on a number of occasions as the hosts looked to counter and grab a fourth goal that would end the game as a contest.

The away side kept pushing, however, and Recchia was at full stretch to save with his fingertips before a visiting player rattled the crossbar with a header.

Despite the match being well into it’s 94th minute, referee David Holmes allowed play to continue and a Hood man burst into the Wetherby box.

With the home side appealing in vain for an offside flag, the attacker took the ball past Recchia and stroked into an empty net to earn his side a share of the spoils with almost the last kick of the game.

“Again it has been another scratch side we have put out, but they played really well, especially since they were playing a different formation which I think that they adapted well to,” Forster added.

“Maybe at the end we showed a bit of naivety as we got deeper and deeper. We seemed to stop playing the football that had seemingly got us the win, but in the end it’s the lads that I feel sorry for as they didn’t deserve what happened to them.”