WEMBLEY 1, CRAWLEY GREEN 2,
Saturday, 4th February, 2017,
Spartan South Midlands League – Premier Division
Poor defending during the latter stages of this contest cost Wembley dear, and any lingering aspirations they had of achieving promotion (having acquired just nine points from seven previous Premier Division games) were probably ended with this surprise home defeat by newly-promoted Crawley Green.
Admittedly, the Lions were severely depleted, particularly in the up-front department.. They had defeated their opponents quite emphatically, five-nil away, earlier in the season. However, their strike force that evening: Messrs. Wright, Witham, Fehmi-Gil, Laraba were all missing, and with Jermaine Heron Charlie McKee and Calvin Kasirye also unavailable, Wembley’s attacking options looked extremely threadbare.
Adrian Dinham, still regaining full fitness following a hernia operation, was Wembley’s main forward focal point, while Toby Webb, despite wearing the over-coveted number ten jersey, together with Jonathan Iley both fulfilled a wide role on each flank in a revamped line-up.It did take a long while for the Lions to get used to the change of formation, but they gradually made their presence felt. Webb delivered several excellent highcrosses into the danger zone, but sadly heading the ball was not in either Dinham’s or Iley’s forte, and chances went begging.
Wembley, however, maintained the pressure, and the breakthrough came in the 30th minute. Webb was denied a certain goal by the Crawley goalkeeper’s outstanding instinctive save, but from Zaied Sabti’s corner that followed, Ayoub Amellal found the roof of the net with a delicate, lofted strike from just inside the penalty area.
One goal ahead, everyone expected the Lions to build onto their lead, but oddly they declined to do so and spent much of the rest of the game on the back foot.
Przemyslaw Mierzwa became the busier ‘keeper, and he made several superb stops to prevent the visitors equalizing. The old adage of ‘whoever scored the next goal…….’ came into affect. During a brief sortie, Wembley went close to doing so. But once again the diving Crawley’s keeper produced heroics, making two quick successive saves to fend aside a couple of point blank strikes from Iley and substitute Charlie Weir respectively.
This perhaps became the game’s turning point. Crawley looked the more likely scorers there after. Mierzwa made another great save. And just when it seemed Wembley’s lone goal would be enough for victory, thanks to some slovenly defending, Crawley struck twice to claim the points.
In the 74th minute, Charlie Clayton reacted quickest to stab home the equalizer following a ball into the six yard box. And then, with six minutes remaining, Clayton nipped through a statuesque Wembley rearguard to net his second goal from close range and the visitors’ winner.
WEMBLEY: Mierzwa, Carroll, Humphries, Walters, Brown, O’Reilly, Sabti
(Salako 65), Amellal, Dinham (Bumbu 80), Webb (Weir 57), Iley.
|February 4, 2017||3:00 PM||SSML Premier League||2016-2017|