Battling Wisbech lose seven goal thriller to title hopefuls
Wisbech Town 3, Belper Town 4
Pitching In Northern Premier League Midland Division
Against Spalding last week and today when entertaining the Nailers, Wisbech proved they can mix it with the top teams – it's now time to start turning that into results.
A good defensive performance against the Tulips saw The Fenmen wanting up front... today they got three goals for the first time this season but conceded too many at the other end.
But after fielding the same starting eleven in consecutive games for the first time this season, Brett Whaley's men are now showing the fight and determination demanded by the home crowd and they should be too good to finish in the relegation places.
After a week which saw defender Ben Richards, midfielder Eoin McQuaid and forward Flo Tsaguim exit Fountain Fresh Park, Wisbech are third from bottom.Were they to stay there they would face a relegation play-off against a Step Five team.
So it is vital they get points in upcoming games against those around them, including next Saturday's game at Sporting Khalsa and festive fixtures against Soham Town and Yaxley.
Against their high-flying opponents on Saturday, Wisbech got off to the best possible start, when Toby Allen won the ball on the half way line and ran through to coolly slot home his seventh goal of the season.
And 12 minutes later the Fenmen were close to capitalising even further on a sluggish start from the visitors, but Danny Draper's outstretched leg was just an inch away from turning in Allen's cross from the right.
But Belper are in the top places for a reason. They are big, physical side and play percentages football – it's not pretty but it works at this level. They equalised after 33 minutes when a blocked shot fell kindly for Italian midfielder Prince Mancinelli, who drilled the ball home.
The Nailers smelled blood and really upped their game, making it 2-1 five minutes later when a superb drive from Nathan Curtis came back out off the post to imposing captain Danny South, who finished with aplomb.
But three minutes before the break, it was 2-2 when an Allen drive was deflected to give the former March Town striker his eighth of the campaign. Seconds later it was nearly 3-2, but Allen just failed to get a foot on Dylan Edge's lob over the visiting defence.
It was Wisbech who started the second half slowly and they conceded a silly 59th minute penalty, which the division's top scorer, former Hull, Lincoln and Scunthorpe striker Jonathon Margetts, scored from.
Against opposition packed with such quality players, you wondered if Wisbech's chance was gone, but it was 3-3 just eight minutes later when Dylan Edge found space just outside the penalty area and picked his spot superbly for his fourth goal of the campaign.
Two minutes later though and the pendulum turned again, as the impressive South – usually a centre back but a quality striker too – rose above everyone else to head home a whipped in free kick.
A grandstand finish by the Fenmen saw several corners and free kicks but no real threat as the visitors defended deep and time wasted to a degree the referee should really have got a better grip of.
So the point wasn't to be, but for the second Saturday on the trot, Wisbech gave their all and were deservedly clapped off the pitch.
Wisbech Town (4-3-3): Pearson: Keeble (Warren 80 mins), Fairweather, Wilson, Marshall; Hart, Murphy, Chingoka (Maddison 70); Edge, Allen, Draper. Subs (not used): Mcleish, Osilaja, Kimber.
Belper Town: Battersby, Rhodes, Beejer (Woodcock 45 mins), Mancinelli, Bertram (Waldram 76), Wilson, Curtis, Litchfield, South, Margetts, Nelthorpe. Subs (not used): Kozluk, Haywood, Peterson.
Bookings: Chingoka, Edge (Wisbech); Mancinelli (Belper) – all fouls.
Star man: Jon Fairweather – it might seem strange giving the award to a central defender when the team have conceded four, but Jonno was immense against a physical and strong striker.