Wakefield AFC are quick off the mark to maintain Junior Roberti's winning start

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Junior Roberti maintained his 100 per cent start as Wakefield AFC manager as his team beat Louth Town 4-1 in the NCE Division One.

After a run of tough fixtures, mid-table Louth were, on paper at least, a more straight-forward proposition for the home side, having lost five of their last six games, but they have taken points off other play-off hopefuls, writes Austin Ainsworth.

With that in mind, with no room for any slip-ups, Wakefield manager Junior Roberti named a strong side, making just one change to the team victorious away at Wombwell the previous week; Oliver Rodriguez dropping to the bench after suffering a knock in that win as Jordan Helliwell came in at right wing-back.

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The latter, still finding his feet as a Wakefield player having featured primarily as a midfielder since his move to the club, looked a perfect match for the wing-back role as he played his best game yet, making an instant impact in the build-up to Wakefield’s first goal in just the sixth minute.

Jaydan Sandhu was spot on again with a penalty as Wakefield AFC beat Louth Town. Picture: Scott MerryleesJaydan Sandhu was spot on again with a penalty as Wakefield AFC beat Louth Town. Picture: Scott Merrylees
Jaydan Sandhu was spot on again with a penalty as Wakefield AFC beat Louth Town. Picture: Scott Merrylees

As he did throughout the match, he showed pace and aggression to nip in front of his marker on the right wing to control the ball and burst infield. Having beat his man he passed to Sebastian Losa who played the ball on to Slater Barnes on the left wing.

Barnes subsequently delivered an inch-perfect cross for striker Ben Gelder to nod home his 10th of the season.

It was 2-0 two minutes later after a fine finish from Losa with a half-volley from Jaydan Sandhu’s corner.

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The game was threatening to run away from Louth, with Wakefield at their free-flowing best as further chances came and went for the home side through the goal-hungry duo of Gelder and Barnes.

However, there was a chink of light for Louth in the 22nd minute when the Falcons again succumbed to a long throw-in as they had done in their previous match at Wombwell.

The goal was messy from a Wakefield perspective as the visitors won the first header at the near post before Bailey Wright was quickest to react at the back post to poke the ball home.

To their credit, the home side continued to assert their dominance and could have easily reinstated their two-goal cushion before half-time. First, Gelder was thwarted by the Louth goalkeeper as he swivelled to meet Losa’s pass in the box then Sandhu again tested the busy Louth shot-stopper with a fierce free-kick from the edge of the box.

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It was more of the same for the Falcons in the second half, Barnes going close with two decent efforts before getting the inevitable goal his performance deserved just shy of the hour-mark.

And what a goal it was as the equally excellent Gelder pounced on a loose Louth pass to play Barnes in on the right of the box. He made it look effortless as he took one touch to knock the ball out of his feet and accelerate past a defender before coolly finishing low to the far post for his 14th goal in just 15 games.

Sandhu took his tally to 15 for the season as he made it 4-1 with a penalty after Rodriguez’s quick feet in the box drew a foul.

Wakefield’s margin of victory could have been greater, but it was enough to secure a return to the top spot, albeit having played at least two more games than all of the five teams below them.

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Nevertheless, the win should almost definitely secure their play-off position and – with 18 goals in their last four victories – Wakefield are also finding form at just the right time.

With the play-offs looming on the horizon, Wakefield now divert their attention back to the West Riding County Cup, looking to take their good form into a tantalising semi-final away to higher league Pontefract Collieries tonight (Tuesday), kick-off 7.45pm.

They are back in league action in another local derby on Friday night at Nostell MW.

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