Wakefield AFC continue bright start with five star showing

Supporters of Wakefield AFC were made to wait for the follow-up to their opening 7-2 win against High Green Villa in the Sheffield and Hallamshire County Senior League after the previous Saturday’s game was cancelled.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 2:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 2:08 pm
Wakefield AFC in action at the Featherstone Rovers' Millennium Stadium.

It meant the usual excitement generated by an evening match under the floodlights was amplified when Wakefield welcomed Houghton Main to the Millennium Stadium and they used the anticipation to good effect to record a 5-0 victory.

Wakefield went into the match looking to build on that emphatic opening victory and as a result named a near unchanged side - minus a switch in goal, with James Leverton coming in to play against a Houghton side aiming for their first win after defeat to league favourites Swinton the previous week.

Fans may have been hoping for a quicker start after Wakefield went a goal behind early on in their opening victory against High Green. However, it was nearly a repeat as the opening stages saw Houghton miss a gilt-edged chance. It came on the counter as a clearance looped over Bradley Swain’s head, who recovered to pass-back to the onrushing Leverton. In a slight mix-up, the goalkeeper only managed to swipe his clearance wide as he struggled to reach the ball, leaving the onrushing striker a free shot at an open net. Fortunately for Wakefield, he missed when his half-volley went high and wide.

The home side never looked back, with the danger again coming from wide men Owen Kirman and Red Bates, complemented by number 10 Daniel Youel dropping deep into midfield to initiate attacks.

Kirman was involved in the first goal in the eighth minute when he received a smart pass from full-back Mason Rubie down the right wing, before squaring for Jake Morrison. The striker did not quite get the ball under control, but the Houghton Main defender’s slight clearance from the penalty spot dropped for Rubie who had continued his run. The sublime followed when Rubie’s first time curling left-footed shot went straight into the corner of the goal past the reach of the Main keeper.

Wakefield were in the ascendancy, dominating with the midfield pivot of Luke Blackburn and captain Jack Burton. A second goal came from Youel, who momentarily took a break from starting the Wakefield moves with his creativity and turned poacher, as he latched on to a rebound from Cory Woodword’s header on goal from a corner, for what was an easy tap-in to make it 2-0.

More chances followed in the ensuing 10 minutes as Wakefield completely dominated, the pick of the bunch when Kirman left his marker for dead down the right before squaring for Morrison, whose shot was well saved by the goalkeeper.

Morrison got his goal just after the half-hour mark, though, receiving the ball after an adventurous run from Swain. With much work to do, the striker took the ball with his back to goal from just outside the area, turned and evaded the away defence. Having worked the space, the forward smashed his shot past the helpless keeper for his third goal in two games, also meaning he interestingly scored in the 33rd minute two games running.

As half-time approached, Wakefield continued to press and Kirman - again giving the impression that step-seven opposition will be unable to live with his pace and trickery - got in on the action with a fine solo goal, his third in two games.

The ever-impressive Blackburn played a smart pass up from midfield which Kirman received on the half-turn. The winger then charged at the retreating Houghton defence before unleashing a fine shot form the edge of the area that found the far corner to make it 4-0.

Having scored four in the first-half twice in as many games, the Wakefield pace understandably tailed off in the second period. The away side saw more of the ball and had more opportunities, albeit these were largely speculative efforts from distance.

It was Wakefield who increased the goal count just after the hour mark when Morrison got his second brace in succession. It was a goal becoming of the Wakefield number nine and almost a carbon-copy of his first. This time it was Burton who clipped a pass through the lines which he received on the half-turn just on the edge of the area. For the second time he shifted sideways to lose the defender before firing a right-footed shot past the goalkeeper to make it five for Adam Lockwood’s men.

Morrison could have had his first - and what would have been a deserved - Wakefield hat-trick 10 minutes from time when he latched on to a smart pass from Youel on the counter-attack. Unfortunately for him, and the 287-strong home crowd, he was denied when the Houghton keeper saved smartly one-on-one.

The miss had no real impact on the match, with Wakefield well clear from the first-half. In the end, it was actually Houghton Main who had the best chance of the closing stages when Leverton, on his club debut, made a fine save low to his right from a volleyed shot from distance.

The save preserved his clean sheet and Wakefield’s 5-0 win, meaning they finished the evening top of the league on goal difference from Swinton. With a postponed game following on Saturday, Wakefield now sit fifth and are next in action against Ecclesfield Red Rose, for their first away game of the season at Hillsborough College on Saturday, kick-off 2pm.

Wakefield AFC: James Leverton; Mason Rubie, James Morris, Bradley Swain, Cory Woodward; Red Bates, Luke Blackburn, Jack Burton, Owen Kirman; Daniel Youel, Jake Morrison.