When you visit a top-four side with an 11-4-1 home record, the last thing you want to do is give them a 3-goal start in the first quarter of the game, but that’s precisely what the Magpies did. However, a thrilling second-half comeback saw them go within inches of equalising before a breakaway goal seven minutes from the end soothed the home team’s nerves.
With both Franklyn Clarke and Matt Oldring unavailable, manager Matty Holmes moved Stefan Penny to right-back with Jordan Lee in central defence with Sam Davidson. Carl Pettefer and Curtis Young started in midfield with the unlucky Lee Francis on the bench.
While the visitors’ defence was getting used to their new formation, they fell behind on 4 minutes. Two attempts to head the ball clear returned possession to The Met who quickly moved the ball to skipper Luke Robertson in space on the right in the penalty area. He lined up his shot, and angled the ball past Gerard Benfield to open the scoring.
Three minutes later, the home side doubled their lead. More slick passing found full-back Nesta Guiness-Walker in space on the left just outside the penalty area. His cross to the far post turned into a shot which deceived Benfield and flew into the far top corner.
Confidence flowed through the home side. Their pass-and-move football created space, and with Modric-lookalike Ethan Chislett pulling the strings in midfield, it was a difficult time for the Magpies.
And things got worse on 21 minutes. An in-swinging free-kick from wide on the right found home debutant defender Junior Eldstal in space in the centre of the goal area, and he had the easiest of tasks to head past the static Benfield.
But then the fight-back began. On 25 minutes Luke Burbidge threaded a brilliant ball through the home central defenders. Toby Holmes raced onto it but home keeper Bertie Schotterl made a fine sprawling save on the edge of his goal area. Just after the half-hour mark, James Stokoe found Burbidge who again sent Toby through only to be thwarted once more by the keeper. A minute later another through ball saw Toby beat the keeper, but his toe-poked effort hit the outside of the post. Luke Holmes, coming in from the right, forced Schotterl into a diving save, before another Stokoe, Burbidge, Toby combination ended with the striker putting the ball in the net, but from an offside position. On 43 minutes, from Wimborne’s fourth corner of the half, Stokoe and Schotterl had an aerial battle, which the keeper won at the third attempt. And then, in the final minute of the half, Penny’s cross-cum-shot from wide on the right was heading for the top corner before the tall keeper’s outstretched arm tipped the ball over the bar.
Wimborne started the second period on the front foot. After a good build-up, Burbidge tested Schotterl. Then on 48 minutes, they pulled a goal back. Burbidge trickery on the right ended with a chip into the goal area where Luke Holmes headed home.
With Wimborne playing the ball on the ground at a high tempo, all the play was towards The Met’s goal. Young’s through ball on the left for Toby was desperately cleared, and Pettefer’s pass down the right forced the keeper to rush out. Luke Holmes won the ball back wide on the right but Burbidge was crowded out before he could get a shot away. On 71 minutes, the visitors broke quickly after clearing a corner. Burbidge, inevitably, found Toby down the inside-right channel. This time he evaded the keeper to score – game on!
The Police were well and truly rattled. Two minutes later the two Holmes combined to create a shooting opportunity for Billy Maybury whose shot was blocked. On 79 minutes Toby was hauled down just outside the penalty area as he chased a through ball. Twenty-two yards from goal – it was Maybury territory. His free-kick went over the wall, and was dipping under the bar, when Schotterl made another fine diving save to tip the ball over. Burbidge had the ball in the net two minutes later, but it was ruled out for a push on the keeper.
As Wimborne’s tired legs chased an equaliser, gaps were left at the back. And on 83 minutes, The Met exploited that. Breaking quickly, they outnumbered the Magpies defence, moved the ball to Robertson on the right and he finished past Benfield to seal the points with their only goal attempt on target of the half. (Their other attempt was high, wide, and not very handsome.)
A cracking game of football which once more showed what we already know, Wimborne can live with any team in this division. We can score goals, all we’ve got to do is stop conceding them – simples!
Wimborne: Benfield, Penny, Maybury, Davidson, Lee, Pettefer, Stokoe, Young, T.Holmes, Burbidge, L.Holmes.
Unused subs: Francis, Shepherd, Owen, Walsh, Traynor