Depleted Wisbech Town fall to defeat
Wisbech Town 1, Shepshed Dynamo 4
Pitching In Northern Premier League Midland Division
You had to feel sorry for Wisbech Town this afternoon as they once again went into a game with a severely depleted squad.
The Fenmen had six first team regulars missing and only two fit defenders as they took on a settled team full of attacking intent. Two reserve team players, the assistant manager and the physio, who is also a goalkeeper, made up four of the five subs.
You could not question the commitment of the side, but when injuries, unavailability and Covid-19 cases mean the manager Brett Whaley is scrabbling around just to get a team out each game, you can't be too critical.
Central defender Ben Richards was unavailable today through Covid, midfielder Layton Maddison and left back Tom Mcleish are both out for at least another fortnight with muscle injuries, and striker Dylan Edge missed the game with an ankle niggle.
Two of the club's most influential players, midfielder Sam Murphy and defender/midfielder Jack Keeble are a couple of weeks away from even training again, and full back Aaron Hart and attacking midfielder Danny Draper went through the pain barrier this afternoon with injuries that would have ruled them out under ordinary circumstances.
The FA's decision to start non league seasons thick and fast, with three games a week, to negate any potential coronavirus circuit breaker lockdowns, is hitting small squads like Wisbech's hard. Nine games have been played and only goalkeeper Charlie Congreve has started every one.
Dynamo arrived at Fountain Fresh Park below Wisbech in the league table but most with knowledge expecting them to rise as the season progresses.
After an even start they opened the scoring after just seven minutes through Karl Demidh but it should have been level a few minutes later when striker Avi Vieira set Draper free on the right and his perfect pass saw Eoin McQuaid poke wide from eight yards out.
The Leicestershire side then got on top and the home team were grateful to Congreve who made good saves from a Liam Canavan free kick in the 25th minute and a close range Reece Morris effort seven minutes before the break.
There was a let off for the Fenmen early in the second half when Congreve took out Morris in the penalty area. Matt Melbourne's goal from the penalty spot was disallowed for encroachment and he hit the bar with the rebound. But in the 56th minute the strong striker did score and it looked like game over.
But Shepshed sat back and Wisbech scored nine minutes later when Liam Adams' cross from the left was superbly headed home by Toby Allen for his fourth goal of the season.
A comeback looked on the cards but four minutes later and Morris scored the easiest of goals to make it 3-1 and Wisbech had shot themselves in the foot. The fourth came deep into injury time when sub Josh Mundell spotted Congreve off his line and scored with a superb lob.
It's the third time the former March Town keeper has been beaten this season after straying off his line - but, to put it in context, he's yet to play with the same defensive group in front of him and these errors do happen under such extreme circumstances.
Wisbech Town: Congreve, Draper, Adams (Hempson 84 mins), Marshall, Fairweather, Hart (A Williams 57), O Williams, McQuaid, Vieira, Allen, Gow. Subs (not used): Bradshaw, Lenton, Robinson.
Bookings: Marshall, Fairweather, Gow (fouls).
Star man: Danny Draper: Usually an attacking midfielder, he started at right wing back, switched to left wing back and ended up in his usual position, giving 100 per cent all the time.