Two late goals helped Wick salvage a point
Hardwick assembled a two-goal lead prior to half time, with Kieren Bryce-Ingles and Will Higgins finding the net to put the visitors ahead. Wick’s Jordan Scott hooked in his fifth goal of the season 20 minutes from time to set up a grandstand finish bef
Following the comprehensive 5-1 victory against Southmead Athletic a week prior to the visit of Hardwicke, Wick boss Mike Strawford named an unchanged starting line-up on what was an uncharacteristically warm October afternoon. It was though, the away side that started the game in the ascendancy and Wick had the woodwork to thank as a Hardwicke corner was headed onto the bar with just four minutes played. The Gloucestershire side continued to dominate the opening exchanges and with 15 minutes on the clock, Hardwicke were rewarded for their impressive start. Bryce-Ingles raced into the Wick box and despite his initial shot being saved by Joe Pople in the Wick goal, the ball ricocheted back off the Hardwicke winger and Pople could only watch as the ball looped over him and into the top corner. As has been common with recent performances, conceding the opener suddenly ignited Wick as they searched for an equaliser - Dan Wingfield, Shaun Morris and Joe Thomas all squandering decent openings. With ten minutes until the half time interval, Joe Thomas went close once more, volleying wide from inside the Hardwicke box as an equaliser continued to elude the Owls. Four minutes later, Sam Thomas sent brother Joe in on goal again but the usually prolific wide man’s shot was lashed harmlessly wide with only the ‘keeper to beat. After a lengthy spell of pressure from the home team, it was actually Hardwicke who scored the next goal, doubling their lead two minutes before the break. Hardwicke were awarded a penalty when their striker broke free of the Wick back four and Pople could only bring him down as he looked to round him. Will Higgins stepped up and sent Pople the wrong way from the spot as the away side went in at half time two goals to the good.
The start to the second half very much followed the general essence of the first as the Owls continued to dominate possession and create chances without actually scoring – Joe Thomas coming within an inch of clawing one goal back, eight minutes into the second period, striking the post from a tight angle. The introduction of Alex Whale for Wick on 68 minutes accelerated chance creation for the home side and the midfielder forced the Hardwicke ‘keeper into a flying save just moments after entering the fray. On 70 minutes, Wick finally found their way past a stubborn Hardwicke defence. A Wick corner was whipped into the box and after an almighty goalmouth scramble, Wick striker Scott was there to hook in his fourth goal in his last three outings. As the tie entered the last 15 minutes, the Owls found themselves firmly camped inside the Hardwicke half in a desperate search for a late equaliser. Wingfield had a header cleared off the line and substitute Danny Sheldon struck the bar as an equaliser looked more and more unlikely as time ticked by. However, two minutes into stoppage time the Owls got the goal that earned them a well-deserved point. Joe Thomas collected the ball out wide on the right, drove at the Hardwicke defence before getting to the byline and fizzing in a cross that was met by the unmarked Madge who bundled the ball in from a matter of yards out. The final whistle quickly followed, and Madge’s last gasp goal ensures Strawford’s side remains unbeaten in their last four fixtures.
MOM - Joe Thomas
Attendance - 40