Impressive Wisbech defeated by injury time scorcher
Wisbech Town 2, Loughborough Dynamo 3
Pitching In Northern Premier League Midland Division
When substitute Dylan Edge scored a 68th minute equaliser for the Fenmen this evening (Tuesday), a home victory seemed almost inevitable.
But football can be a cruel game and, despite dominating for 70 minutes since going 2-0 down, Wisbech were beaten by a 94th minute winner to take their opponents up to sixth in the league and leave the home side in 18th, two places above the drop zone.
The Fenmen brought in former favourite Luke Wilson – now dual registered with Holbeach United– at centre back alongside former team mate Jon Fairweather, and also gave a first start of the season to keeper Luke Pearson, replacing Charlie Congreve. Striker Toby Allen was missing through illness.
In front of a sparse crowd, probably deterred by bad weather and the fuel crisis, Wisbech started slowly in a game played in heavy rain and strong winds and conceded after 16 minutes when former Grantham Town defender Rory Coleman headed home powerfully from a corner.
Dyanamo had done their homework on Wisbech and were trying to isolate captain and left back Liam Marshall against pacey Kevin Da Silva Bastos. The winger drilled just wide in the 20th minute but made it 2-0 seconds later, fizzing an effort past Pearson.
At this stage there looked only one winner, with former Boston United player and Dynamo captain Rob Norris bossing midfield and Pearson making good saves to deny Alex Steadman and Courey Grantham.
But after 36 minutes Wilson's effort from Liam Adams' corner was brilliantly saved by young keeper Rueben Rabstein, only for Fairweather to smash home the rebound and give Wisbech a lifeline.
It was like someone had flicked on a switch – suddenly the reds were attacking with pace, guile and purpose and should have pulled level just before the break when Danny Draper's inviting cross was headed wide by striker Avi Vieira from close range.
The Fenmen started the second half still on the front foot and teenage striker Flo Tsaguim, whose willingness to run at defenders is already making him popular with the home faithful, headed over another Adams corner in the 53rd minute.
Two substitutions then helped give Wisbech even more attacking purpose as Zimbabwe U23 international Wilson Chingoka replaced Eoin McQuaid in midfield and Dylan Edge came on up front for Vieira. And it may have been Edge's first touch when he turned in a 69th minute Adams corner to equalise and net his second goal of the campaign, both from the bench.
The final change for Wisbech saw Remi Thompson on for Adams, who had been booked for his protests after Fairweather was victim of a rough challenge. Thompson was in academies at Huddersfield, Manchester United and Fulham and with his pace, energy and skill, the 19-year-old will be a real favourite with the Fenmen faithful if the club can hold on to him.
Wisbech pushed and probed for the winner as the rain drove down, but looked to be undone in the 82nd minute when the outlet to Bastos worked again and the chasing Marshall trod on the back of his boot in the penalty area. Up stepped Curtis Burrows but his spot kick was excellently saved by the feet of Pearson.
Back came Wisbech, with Rabstein saving well from a cheeky angled effort by Thompson. They were forcing corners, whipping in crosses and dictating play but the goals wouldn't come...for Wisbech.
In the fourth minute of extra time, Dynamo won a disputed free kick, the ball ricocheted to sub Daniel Collins and he rifled home an unstoppable effort from 25 yards.
An obviously disappointed Fenmen manager Brett Whaley said after the game: "For 20 minutes Loughborough were very good and for the next 70 we were the better side. It's all about points but we deserved one as a minimum today.
"Defensively were were excellent after that first 20 minutes, we carried a real threat, we played with real energy, we were exciting, and we are moving in the right direction. We have lost 3-2 but it's the best performance since we (Whaley and assistant Chris Lenton) have been here.
"It is absolutely gutting but in this league you can be brilliant and get nothing because of the quality of the opposition. We just didn't deserve to lose. Loughborough are a good side who were desperate to get away with a point and ended up leaving with all three.
"I don't think anyone had an off night tonight and now our squad is stronger we can make substitutions that really impact the game. And, after all the injuries, we now have players playing in their proper positions, and it's no coincidence that performances are improving.
"We also have continuity now with players getting more games, so it is starting to come together as a unit. We want to build something here, and if we can keep the group together over time, there is no doubt we will keep improving, but it's got to happen quicker as we are right in a relegation fight.
"And we have to do it again on Saturday against Halesowen, who are league leaders and a better side than Dynamo. We know we will be up against it but if we show tonight's intensity for the rest of the month, by the end of October we will be away from the bottom of the table.
"All of a sudden you look around and you have players to change the game, you have little partnerships developing all over the pitch and that has to continue. A run without injuries and we are going to be a different side."
Dyamo manager Lee Attenborough told his club's website: "We won the battle for the first 25 minutes, got on top and scored the two goals. But the goal for Wisbech before half time gave them a foothold in the game and gave them confidence in the second half to come out and stroke the ball about."
Wisbech Town (4-3-3): Pearson; Hart, Wilson, Fairweather, Marshall; Draper, Palacios, McQuaid (Chingoka 61 mins); Tsaguim, Vieira (Edge 65), Adams (Thompson 75). Subs (not used): Mcleish, Williams.
Loughborough Dynamo: Rabstein, Smith (Markelic 80), Coleman, Norris, Jacklin, Gordon, Bastos, Burrows, Grantham, Steadman (Collins 65), Matthews. Subs (not used): Alexander, Young, Munn.
Bookings: Adams (Wisbech) – dissent; Smith (Loughborough) – foul.
Star man: Flo Tsaguim – worked hard, ran fast and was a constant menace for the Dynamo defenders all evening.