WENTWORTH SECONDS 2-0 HALIFAX FOURTHS
Images: Philippa Grafton
A match which looked set for stalemate following a particularly uneventful first half was brought to life by two Wentworth strikes soon after the restart.
Despite Halifax fourths making the early running, a thunderbolt from Andrea Marcheggiano and Samir Abdoulaye’s neat header set Wentworth on their way to an utterly dominant second half.
The first 30 minutes lacked purpose, if not endeavour, with Alec Rieck providing a bright spark and some neat touches in an otherwise tepid affair. He jinked past his opponent before striking at the keeper and had another attempt deflected narrowly wide.
A goalmouth scramble ensued from the resulting corner, the ball finding its way back to Petros Giannopoulos, who stung the keeper’s palms with an angled drive.
The best Wentworth could conjure up was an Abdoulaye breakaway which ended with Marcheggiano having his shot blocked, while a dangerously positioned free kick was awarded after Rob Stead picked up the ball believing that play had been called to a halt.
Halifax may have shaded the contest so far, but Wentworth seconds emerged from the break with renewed vigour and greater attacking intent.
They were set on their way by Marcheggiano, who pressured Giannopoulos into a mistake, advanced towards goal unchallenged and then struck the ball sweetly into the roof of the net. It was undoubtedly a great hit but the Halifax defence has to look at its reluctance to close down the forward, and Connor Tait in goal could have done more.
Wentworth were now well in the ascendancy and errors at the back for Halifax continued to aid their cause. They capitalised on a misplaced clearance from Raj Bains, with Abdoulaye heading Cukurova’s curved delivery back across goal to make it 2-0.
During the remaining 20 minutes the fourths side struggled to get out of their own half, Ryan Doherty admirably ploughing a lone furrow up front. His efforts were largely in vain except for a half chance that arose from a throw in, when he rolled the defender to shoot just wide.
At the other end Wentworth continued to press, a slick passing move down the right resulted in Matt Beacham pulling his shot past the far post. Goal scorer Marcheggiano then hit the woodwork with a low skidding volley.
The match ended on a note of unexpected drama, Mark Eslick cynically tripping Doherty as the Halifax striker bypassed him on his way into the box. A free kick was given but no further sanction was forthcoming.
After starting the tournament so promisingly Halifax had slipped to a third straight defeat. Captain Elliott Taylor-Wheeler was distinctly unimpressed at following up an impressive performance against James with this limp display, claiming that his side “weren’t good enough, and didn’t work together as a team”.
In contrast, Wentworth’s victory was well deserved for their second half exploits, Dan Horsfall, standing in for the absent Dan Howdon, commenting that “We were much better today, Halifax tried hard but there was only one winner really”.
Wentworth: Cook, Townson, Eslick, Kosunalp, Sormaz, Beacham, Sutton, Rhodes, Cukurova, Abdoulaye, Marcheggiano. Subs used: River, Kearney
Man of the match: Andrew Sutton
Halifax: Tait, Jones, Stead, Bains, Horn, Taylor-Wheeler, McGuiness, Giannopoulos, Rieck, McNeill, Doherty. Subs used: Stansfield, Tatham, Lockey
Man of the match: Jonny McGuiness