If it wasn’t clear obvious that winter is closing in on us, then today would cast any doubts aside. Although we had bright sunshine to start the game it was a cold afternoon at the Norton Sports Complex.
Washington had long term injuries to Matty Waters, Lewis Herron and Robbie Williamson. Matthew Parker was unavailable, and Shaun Pickford was ruled out at a late fitness test. Michael Laws was served a one game suspension. Washington welcomed new signing Vinny Gash from Brandon.
Both teams and fans played a very respectful minutes silence before kick-off in remembrance for all those fallen in conflict.
Washington had a very lively start and looked the better team for the first 15 minutes. Some good crisp passing allowed Cameron Wilson to get an early shot that was tipped over by the keeper. Washington looked dangerous going forward Especially Dent and Cham down the left. Gash was leading the line well, but frustration was starting to set in as he was isolated at times.
For Billingham it wasn’t till the 20th minute before Gladstone had to make a really telling save. The Washington keeper pulled off a great double save to keep Billingham at bay.
Washington were still looking the better team, Dent came close after a cross by Wilson and Gash almost got on the end of a through ball from Mogwo. Jake Pickard had a chance after 40 minutes. Cham delivered from the left but Pickard just couldn’t get on the end.
At the back it was the usual solid performance from White with Chimbonda showing his class and experience. Andy Brown almost put the ball in his own net in the final minutes of the half. But he managed to keep his head and put the low driven cross past the post.
Into injury time in the first half and Clark was forced into making his first change. Ross Gardner rolled over on his ankle and couldn’t continue. Sam Grieveson came on and Washington ended the half with two upfront.
Billingham Synthonia 0 – Washington FC 0
Second half and Washington once again start the half better.
Gash was able to turn a shot on goal that had Billingham keeper struggling but just didn’t have enough pace to beat him. Some great interchange of play down the right between Brown Grieveson and Wilson looked to have Billingham on the back foot. Gash could only wait in the middle for a cross that never came with Wilson running out of grass and conceding a goal kick.
Billingham were starting to get more into the game. Good defence play from Brown stopped a break down their right. If he mistimed his tackle, then Billingham would have been through on for goal. Not long after a long-range shot caused trouble from Gladstone. The ball took a wicked bounce right in front of the keeper, but he managed to get enough behind it and was quick to react and gather in the loose ball.
Washington then upped their game and started controlling the midfield area. They were pushing for the lead when Billingham took the lead. It came from their skipper for the day, Wilf Dinsdale. He was put through after a cross from the left was not dealt with by the Washington defence.
Washington Would not give up and kept the pressure on Billingham. Dent was struggling with a knee injury so was replaced by Connor Gardner. Washington was constantly probing at the Billingham defence but couldn’t find luck on the day. Nothing was quit working and despite some good play for the forwards, no telling rout to goal could be found.
With 20 minutes to go, Clark brought on Abdull Karim. The youngster climbing through the Washington Youth system had clearly done enough to earn a second call up. He was bright and cause issues down the right. Billingham didn’t know how to deal with him.
But Washington’s luck worsened just a few minutes later. Jake Pickard went down after a tangle and couldn’t continue the game. Washington having just used their final substitution were down to 10 men for the final 17 minutes of the game.
Washington were not to be beaten and continued to push. They dominated the final staged of play pressing to get something out of the game. Karim made a great run down the right and delivered to a waiting Gardner. He manager to get a shot on target but it was saved by the Billingham keeper.
It went form bad to worse for the visitors as Club Captain Alex White limped off. He was able to return to the field but couldn’t really play and active part in the game. Washing were basically seeing out the half with nine men. It didn’t stop them, and they threw everything they could at Billingham. Chimbonda was practically a 3rd striker at times and even Gladstone has a several minutes spell in the opposition half.
It was hearts in mouths with 3 minutes of the half remaining. Billingham broke free, with Gladstone forward the goal was empty. An initial shot was brilliantly blocked by Cham. The ball was then played forward to Jewson and his long-range shot found the back of the net. Billingham were denied their second goal of the day by a raised flag from the referee’s assistant.
You could tell just how much they Washington players wanted the goal that would draw them level. But it wasn’t to be.
Billingham Synthonia 1 – Washington FC 0
After the game we spoke to Manager James Clark
Another defeat where the score doesn’t reflect the game or the effort put in. What was the feeling like in the dressing room after the game?
Everyone in the dressing room was devastated losing today’s game. But determined to keep fighting on
Again, you were forced to make change due to injuries. How are the lads that needed to come off looking?
We are looking at 9/10 injuries now, some of them will be long term injuries, credit to the boys today playing for 20 minutes with effectively 9 men and some even through the pain barrier just to play today.
New signing Vince Gash started today but wasn’t 100% fit. It shows his character and in today’s game showed what he can bring to the team?
No he was desperate to play and try and help the team, which speaks about him as a person. He showed glimpses of what he can bring, he is a big strong boy who isn’t afraid to mix it up and he will get goals for us
You can take positives from the game today and one of them is the character of your team. Andy Mogwo started for the first time this season but looked like he was short of match fitness but still gave his all.
If I was at war I would want people like we have at the club in the trenches, they put themselves on the line and don’t give up. Some great characters. Yes we know Andy is still getting into his full stride but after a lengthy injury lay off it will take time to get to full fitness.
We are also in a position where we are having to rush people back due to the injury situation
When you were forced to make your first change and you brought on a 2nd striker the game seemed to flow better. Is that something to think about going forward?
Each game can bring different challenges. Bringing on a second striker today helped us get up the pitch, but it leaves us sometimes exposed in defensive situations which it’s important to find a balance
You brought on Abdull Karim and for his second game. What does the link with WAFC and having the U23s to look at bring to the overall team?
Given our current situation it’s a bit of a godsend, not all of them are really ready to step up to the first team, but Abdul has come in and not disgraced himself in any way. There are others who are training with us at the minute, who are learning all the time and given time will be part of the group
With WAFC players coming in and training with the First Team we have to remember the bigger picture and the long-term goals of the club. This season would always be a tough one with the transition both on and off the pitch?
Yeah, this project is a long term one for everyone at the club, we were tasked at the beginning of bringing a young hungry, Washington based squad together and in the main we have done that with 5 Washington based 1st team players under the age of 21. These players alongside the 23 players can be the lifeblood of the club for years to come if done correctly. WAFC have every age group covered and now a real pipeline through to the first team and it will be great every year to produce players from it that can come to the first team
Next up for Washington is the League Cup and Division 2 opponents. A game not be taken for granted but could also be the platform to fire up the season?
No opposition should be taken for granted, but saying that we have to try and protect our players and get them all back fit asap for the league campaign. We want to win the game but there will be changes
|11/11/2017||3:00 pm||Northern League Division 1||2017/18|