Wisborough Green back to winning ways - but do it the hard way

Wisborough Green got back to winning ways on Saturday - but did it the hard way in an eight-goal thriller with Horsham Crusaders.

Wednesday, 21st October 2020, 7:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st October 2020, 7:58 pm

The home side almost squandered a 4-0 goal lead - but the points were made safe late on by hat-trick hero Ricky Etheridge as they emerged 5-3 winners in the WSFL Championship North clash.

The home side raced into a three-goal lead before half-time as Taylor Moreton sent a perfectly-weighted pass out wide to Tom Cotterell and he superbly brought it down and finished well into the far corner.

Provider then turned goal scorer as Moreton finished into the bottom left from an Etheridge cut-back. Club stalwart Etheridge then opened his account for the afternoon as he rounded the goalkeeper and rolled hom from a Tom Mapstone pass after some industrial work by the skipper.

Crusaders did cause some problems of their own first half as they got in behind a couple of times, which returned some panicy moments in the Wisborough area, averted by some last-ditch defending and a couple of smart stops from Leon Killford.

The half-time team talk was about cutting out individual errors and not conceding silly fouls - something that the home side failed to heed.

There was no hint of the drama to come when Etheridge fired over the Crusaders’ goalkeeper from 25 years early on the second half.

Then, having held out for ten minutes with ten men after a sin bin offence, Wisborough conceded around the 75th-minute mark when a speculative effort bounced just before Killford's dive and evaded the 'keeper.

Soon after, a second was poked home from close range and then a low free kick from just outside the box made it 4-3 with six minutes to play.

Crusaders, at that point, looked certain for a leveller until a superb Moreton free kick was stood up for Etheridge to head home and relieve the pressure.

Wisborough joint manager Ollie Berry said: "It's an old cliche but we almost snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory. It was far from a pleasing second-half performance, but we came away with three points in the end, just.

"The first-half showing, by comparison, was brilliant. Some great goals, team pressing and overall it was a joy to watch.

"It was a horror movie for the last 20 minutes. Individual mistakes and stupid fouls saw Crusaders in the ascendecy and us on a slippery slope. Luckily, Rick popped up with a cracking header for his third of the afternoon late on which killed the game after, safe to say, a nervy spell.

"Credit to Crusaders, who kept going and almost grabbed something out of the game, when plenty of teams would have completely thrown in the towel. Best wishes to their defender who had to be helped off in the second half after a hefty blow to the head."