Back to Back victories move Wick to 7th
Wick 4-2 Gala Wilton. Report by Harry Madge
Wick recorded back-to-back wins for the first time since October as they brushed aside Gala Wilton at Oldbury Lane.
In an action-packed first half, Gala Wilton’s Dan Creed quickly cancelled out Sam Thomas’ opener, before goals from Dan Stephens and Charlie Stevens gave Wick a commanding half time lead. Joe Thomas added a fourth for the Owls early in the second-half but Creed scored his and Gala’s second of the game late in proceedings to set-up a slightly nervy finish.
Following Wick’s impressive victory at Patchway last week, Owls’ boss Mike Strawford only made one change to his starting XI. Joe Thomas returned in the place of Ben Daniels who was absent from the matchday squad. Buoyed by their first win in seven, Wick started well and dominated the early exchanges. The home side did however have to wait until the 15th minute for their first sight of goal – Joe Thomas only able to sting the palms of Lewis Skyers in the Gala Wilton goal. A dominant Wick were rewarded for their assertive start after 20 minutes when Sam Thomas gave the hosts the lead. Some incisive build-up play down the right led to Charlie Stevens squaring the ball for Thomas, who powered in a first-time shot. It was expected that the Owls’ deserved opener would give the home side the platform to press on and punish the struggling visitors. However, almost immediately after Sam Thomas’ goal, Gala Wilton drew level. The Wick defence conceded a cheap free-kick 20 yards-out and Dan Creed’s resulting low effort found its way through the wall and into the bottom corner of Joe Pople’s net. Despite rarely venturing out of their own half, the Gloucester side almost took the lead after 26 minutes. Gala’s Martin Colley found himself bearing down on goal and it took a brilliant save from Wick’s Pople to ensure the scores remained level. After that scare, Wick imposed themselves on the game once more and enjoyed lengthy spells of possession without creating much in the way of chances. But, with only five minutes remaining of the half, Wick regained their one goal advantage. Stevens was the architect once more as his clever reverse ball found the marauding Dan Stephens who nonchalantly lobbed the ball over the onrushing Skyers. Mere moments later, Wick increased their advantage to go in at the break 3-1 up. Dan Wingfield’s wicked ball into the Gala box was met by the head of the instrumental Stevens and his bullet-header flew past Skyers.
After the half time interval, Wick remained in the ascendancy. Liam Henderson was the first to go close on the 55-minute mark, but Skyers was on hand to foil the Owls’ forward’s effort. Skyers was then called into action on multiple occasions during a goalmouth scramble that astonishingly didn’t result in a Wick fourth. However, just minutes later Joe Thomas secured all three points for Straword’s side. Following more flowing football down Wick’s right hand side, Liam Henderson was afforded the time and space to pick out Joe Thomas in the centre, who this time gave Skyers no chance with a low finish. Stevens had a chance to cap an imperious performance with another goal when Wick were awarded a penalty in the 70th minute. Stevens was scathed down by Skyers inside the box, but the resulting spot-kick was brilliantly saved by the Gala ‘keeper down to his left. With ten minutes remaining, Gala Wilton were awarded a penalty of their own when Kieren Hutson was adjudged to have fouled an away player. Creed stepped up and dispatched the ball past Pople to set-up a tense finish. Despite the away side fashioning a couple of decent openings in the remaining ten minutes, Wick maintained their two-goal advantage and secured the win.