Sunday, 27 January 2013

Report: Wimborne Tn 0-1 Paulton Rovers - Southern S&W

Nick McCootie

WHEN you ship a goal 17 seconds after your own side has kicked off, you just know your luck’s not in.

Wimborne Town’s barren home run has halted their push for the Southern South & West play-offs in recent weeks and Steve Cuss’ men missed the chance to turn the corner against their fellow contenders.

Four defeats in five at Cuthbury leave the Magpies seven points adrift of the top five, but of greater concern will be a lack of spark in the final third. With Town collecting just one league clean sheet all season, back in October at Paulton, their profligacy becomes a real headache.

Visiting stopper Kyle Phillips was largely a spectator in a dour clash in Dorset as Paulton, buoyed by Nick McCootie’s opportunistic strike, looked the likelier to add to the scoring throughout.

For their spells of nice possession outside the two penalty areas, Wimborne took a step back towards last season in the two danger zones as hesitant defending and a lack of end product undermined some decent play.

Rovers’ defensive partnership of Stuart Pearson and Scott Brice stood firm to any pressure, while in the second half, McCootie’s ability to offer his defence some respite put wind in Paulton’s sails.

A long ball forward found James Billing who slid McCootie in to tuck the ball past Jason Harvell early on with Adam Costello and Nathan Peprah-Annan statuesque, their minds seemingly still in the dressing room.

Rovers' Marcus Mapstone wasted a good opportunity to double the visitors lead before Dan Cleverley’s shot was snuffed out. Craig Loxton drew a fine save from Harvell while Ben Lacey’s rebound pelted the post as Wimborne were over-run during the first 20 minutes.

The hosts eventually settled but offered little in attack and McCootie almost made it two for Paulton before the break, darting past two defenders with ease and beating Harvell at his near post only for Peprah-Annan to clear off the line.

Tom Jeffes could only force a routine save from Phillips with a close range header, and while Wimborne offered more after the restart, there was no killer instinct.

Cuss made three changes in three minutes and the introduction of AFC Bournemouth loanee Alex Moth, along with strikers Matt Kemble and Steve Smith, added impetus in the closing stages.

Kemble and Smith combined for the former to give Phillips his biggest test of the afternoon before Pearson’s last ditch tackle stopped Smith racing away one-on-one.

The overwhelming feeling, though, was that this was again not to be Wimborne’s day and Jon Blake’s harsh late dismissal for a second booking confirmed it.

It would be wrong to talk too much about fortune though – Paulton thoroughly deserved their victory and looked by far the better bet for this season’s play-offs. Meanwhile, if Wimborne want to make an impact on the top five, they need to address last season’s problems in the two penalty areas, even if they aren’t as prevalent as they were a year ago. 

*STEVE Cuss' post match thoughts given to the Bournemouth Echo can be found here.  

WIMBORNE TOWN: Harvell, Arnold, Case, Costello (Smith 70), Peprah-Annan, Blake, Sainsbury, Hubbard, Jeffes (Kemble 67), Davidson (Moth 67), Webb. Unused subs: Maybury, Ackerman (g/k). 

PAULTON ROVERS: Phillips, Tovey, Allward, Pearson, Brice, Mapstone, Loxton (Egan 80), Lacey, Billing, Cleverley, McCootie (Norris 90). Unused subs: Jeffries, Vyner. 

STAR MAN: Nick McCootie (Paulton Rovers)

After catching Costello and Peprah-Annan cold early on, Paulton's burly bruiser gave all of the Magpies defence a torrid afternoon. Powered through at will during the first half and was unlucky not to add to his tally, then offered an outball when the pressure came after the break. Classic centre forward play making Rovers' classic away performance possible. 

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