Wishaw 3 Forth 1 22nd February 2014

Wishaw 3 Forth 1

Forth lost 3-1 to Wishaw at the Beltane this afternoon in a game in which the Wanderers enjoyed plenty of possession. However, clinical finishing from the hosts ensured that Chris Lennon’s late goal was merely a consolation.

Considering the recent onslaught of bad weather, the Beltane pitch was in remarkably good condition and credit must go to the Wishaw ground staff. Forth were missing striker Jamie Lindsay through work commitments and thus started without a recognised centre forward, while Wishaw had two ex-Forth men in their squad, Craig Crawford starting in midfield and striker Chris Gordon on the bench.

It was the home side who began the brighter although the Wanderers defence was equal to their efforts in the early stages. Forth threatened with a couple of Andrew Gilchrist free kicks, neither of which hit the target although the second had home keeper Ross Harkness scrambling across his goal.

The game was swinging from end to end and on 12 minutes Chris McGroarty fired over for Forth from a good position before a sustained spell of Wishaw pressure required some resolute Forth defending to keep the scores level. The deadlock was almost broken on 18 minutes when Wishaw skipper Neil Newman found himself unmarked to meet a Crawford corner with his head but Forth keeper JC Hutchison was equal to his effort and pulled off a fine save. Crawford indeed was finding plenty of space in midfield and as a result was pulling the strings for Wishaw.

Wishaw continued to press without creating any clear cut opportunities until the 30th minute when they opened the scoring. Chris McGroarty was adjudged to have fouled Crawford just outside the box and, after a delay of several minutes to treat a Wishaw injury, a short free kick from Boal found the run from Kevin Barry Grant and he blasted the ball into the bottom corner with the Wanderers defence caught cold.

Forth reacted well to this setback and four minutes later a good run from Chris Lennon was cut back to Gilchrist who turned his man before shooting wildly over. On 37 minutes Forth came even closer when a Gilchrist free kick was headed back across goal by Jordan Smith and David Grant was inches away from supplying the finishing touch. As the half drew to a close Harkness saved comfortably from John Watson and McGroarty fired over as Forth sought to level the match, but the interval arrived with the hosts still a goal to the good.

The Wanderers took the game to their hosts at the beginning of the second half, although Wishaw always looked dangerous on the counter and could have increased their lead on 56 minutes when Paul Woodlock played in Nicky Moore. The home striker couldn’t get a decent connection on the ball however allowing Hutchison to gather.

Undettered, Wishaw increased their lead on 63 minutes when a Crawford free kick was met by the head of the unmarked Newman and dispatched into the net, Forth failing to heed the warning of the chance created by the same players in the first half. Worse was to follow for the Wanderers on 74 minutes when home substitute Chris Gordon pounced on a poor clearance to run free and fire the ball low into the left-hand corner of the net, scoring against his former club becoming somewhat of a habit for him.

Forth reduced the deficit two minutes later, when a Chris Lennon free kick took the slightest of deflections before nestling in the corner of the Wishaw net. The Wanderers now threw caution to the wind, deploying defender Smith as an auxiliary forward, and efforts from Gilchrist and Misanjo flew over the bar in quick succession as they sought another goal. Their all out attack policy almost backfired on them as Wishaw had three men over after a quick break from a Forth corner but they couldn’t take advantage of their numerical advantage and the ball was eventually deflected from a corner.

To their credit Forth continued to attack as the minutes ticked on, David Grant firing over from a good position after the ball had broken to him and Harkness pulling off a tremendous save from Jordan Smith on 90 minutes, but it wasn’t to be and Wishaw claimed the spoils.

This result puts a severe dent in the Wanderers promotion hopes, but we move on and welcome St.Roch’s to Kingshill next Saturday where we’ll hope to get back on track.

‘Mon the Forth.

Forth team : Hutchison,Watson,McQuade,Smith,Grant,Canning,Traynor(Corbett),
McGroarty,Gilchrist,Lennon,McLean(Misanjo)