Maloney stars as Athletic climb off the bottom
Jon Maloney was the star of the show as Wetherby Athletic moved off the bottom of the West Yorkshire Football League Premier Division table courtesy of a 2-0 home success over Oxenhope Recreation.
The striker netted a brace for Mark Forster’s strugglers, helping them complete a league double over their visitors and secure a first win in eight top flight games in the process.
Returning to the side, Maloney was a threat for the Tangerines all afternoon and he set up a chance for Jack McGahan in the first minute with a low cross into the box, but the latter’s effort was straight at the visiting goalkeeper.
Maloney thought he should have had a penalty when he was impeded in the box before play switched to the other end and Sam Moore pulled off two fine saves in the Athletic goal to keep the scores level.
The first saw him stick out a foot to divert a powerful near-post drive just wide, and the second was a great reflex stop to his left to push the ball out from close range.
Maloney then broke clean through on goal but placed his effort too close to the Oxenhope stopper before volleying just over the bar following good work from Josh Wilson.
The sides went into the interval with game still goalless, but Athletic began the second period strongly and it wasn’t long before they took the lead.
There were 49 minutes on the clock when some great work by Josh Kirk saw him wriggle free of a challenge and shoot for goal.
Having spilled the strike, Oxenhope’s keeper tried to beat the onrushing Maloney to the ball, but the Wetherby man got there first, took it round him and fired home, despite the efforts of a covering defender who tried to block the strike on the goalline using his hand.
A second goal arrived 20 minutes later when Maloney stuck out a foot and poked in Wilson’s free-kick through a crowd of players.
Moore was forced into another good save in the closing stages, tipping an effort onto the crossbar, but he was not to be denied a clean-sheet as Athletic held out to take the points.
Victory lifts Forster’s men one place in the table, off the bottom of the pile and above Brighouse Old Boys, but they remain in the relegation zone, eight points shy of safety.