Forth 1 Wishaw 3
The Wanderers lost 3-1 to Wishaw at the Beltane tonight, despite Chris Gordon netting an early opener. To add to the Wanderers woes,Craig Crawford was sent off at the death for a second bookable offence.
Forth made three changes from the Vale of Clyde match, Ian Mathers and Allan Stevenson coming in for the unavailable Scott Gibb and Barry Canning and Paul Cawley deputising for the suspended Tony Traynor.
The game wasn’t even a minute old when Chris McGroarty was clattered in the back with a badly timed challenge and required lengthy treatment before being able to continue. Chris Gordon was next to be felled as Wishaw set out their stall. Unperturbed, Forth began to pass the ball around smartly and a good move involving Stephen McQuade, Yami Misanjo and Paul Cawley ended with the ball being cleared for a throw.
Craig Crawford was prominent throughout the first half and signalled his intent on 7 minutes with a shot which he pulled wide. In response, John McStay fired high and wide for the hosts, but at this stage the Forth defence was dealing comfortably with any Wishaw attacks. Yami Misanjo then burst directly towards the Wishaw goal but the attentions of several defenders proved adequate and he ran the ball out.
McStay then found Paul Woodlock in a decent position on 15 minutes and only an excellent tackle from Marc Howson averted the danger. Nicky Moore was next to try his luck but blasted over from distance. A goal was only momentarily delayed however and it fell to the Wanderers on 18 minutes. A incisive Crawford run ended with the midfielder unleashing a powerful shot which Ross Harkness in the Wishaw goal was unable to hold and Chris Gordon was on hand to net the opener. Wishaw responded with a Moore header from a Mackie corner which called JC Hutchison in the Forth goal into action for the first time, the big keeper turning the ball away for a corner.
Forth were spreading the ball about with confidence at this juncture and should have doubled their lead on 25 minutes when a great move involving McGroarty, Gordon and Howson saw Misanjo head the full back’s pinpoint cross wide. Craig Crawford then had a couple of chances to put Forth further in front. Firstly, another good move involving Harty and Gordon saw Paul Cawley fire over an inviting cross which Misanjo failed to connect with but the ball fell to Crawford around 12 yards out but he fired wildly over. Two minutes later he was presented with another chance after the Wishaw defence failed to clear but again he failed to hit the target when the ball fell to him.
The Wanderers were made to rue those misses just prior to the interval when Wishaw hit back. Forth didn’t heed the warning when Hutchison somehow managed to turn a Woodlock header on to the post and two minutes later Nicky Moore evaded the Forth defence with a searing run and a cool finish into the corner to level the scores at the interval.
Boosted by the late first-half leveller, Wishaw began the second half positively, taking the game to the Wanderers without creating any clear cut chances. Crawford was then booked along with a Wishaw player after the latter appeared to strike out at him, an act which many referees may have deemed a red card offence. Regardless, it was Forth who almost regained the lead when Yami Misanjo just failed to get his head to an excellent in swinging free kick from Paul Cawley and the ball rolled narrowly wide with Harkness stranded. Unfortunately for the Wanderers, that proved to be their best chance of the second period as Wishaw began to dominate proceedings. John McStay, who had proved a handful all evening, blasted the ball out of the park from a good position before Chris Faulds fired narrowly past.
A goal looked to be coming though and it duly arrived on 64 minutes when Moore latched on to a ball from the left and dispatched the ball into the net for his second of the evening. Things got even worse for the Wanderers barely 90 seconds later when, after a Forth attack had broken down, a long ball found John McStay and Ian Mathers in a chase for the ball. McStay won the race, rounded Hutchison and rolled the ball into the empty net. In response, Forth could only muster long range efforts from Wright and Gordon, both of which sailed over the bar without troubling Harkness.
Woodlock should really have sealed the points when he dispossessed Hutchison mid-way inside the Forth half and raced towards the open goal, but, as he steadied himself to shoot, Hutchison raced back and made the save. Crawford then received a second yellow for dissent as the game drifted away from Forth and only an excellent save by Hutchison from McStay at the death kept the score at 3-1.
Another disappointing result considering there only looked to be one winner after 40 minutes, but we move on to Maryhill on Saturday hoping to put a dent in their title ambitions.
‘Mon The Forth.
Forth team : Hutchison,Howson,McQuade,Harty,Mathers(McKenzie),McGroarty,Crawford,Stevenson(trialist),