10:11am Thursday 20th March 2014
GORNAL Athletic's players need to consistently perform to a higher standard if they are to win their battle to stay in the Midland Alliance, says manager Andy Wyton.
Wyton has now challenged his players to show more of their fight and ability in the remaining fixtures after they lost 3-0 to Westfields at Garden Walk last Saturday.
The heavy defeat saw Gornal's survival hopes hit a major setback.
The Midland Alliance strugglers failed to deal with the superior cutting edge of their mid-table visitors.
It was Gornal who started the brighter of the two sides and they were keen to press high up the pitch in the early stages.
The home side worked a few openings, the best coming on the ten minute mark when Dreniz Bala failed to make the most of a good through ball.
It took Westfields until the 20th minute to create a real chance when forward Michael Halpin beat his man to get into the box. However, Gornal keeper Thomas Haprer denied him with a low save.
Westfields grew into the game as the half wore on and started to get more joy thanks to clever runs by their forward line.
The breakthrough came just before the end of the half when, following more pressure from the visitors, the ball broke to Westfields captain Phil Glover, who slotted it past the out-rushing Harper.
It was Gornal who created the better chances in the opening exchanges of the second period, the best coming when defender Ross Love headed just wide following a well taken, in-swinging freekick from Danny Crudgington nearing the hour mark.
Similar to the first half, it was Westfields' superior play in the final third that made the difference once their midfield found more time and space on the ball.
Steve Edmunds kept the home side in the game when clearing off the line after Whittal-Williams was given a free header in the Gornal box from a corner.
Soon Gornal were finding it hard to hold onto the ball as their visitors continued to break well.
Westfields hit their second goal when lively substitute Dan Williams set up Halpin to tap in from close range with just 10 minutes left on the clock.
Then, just before the end, the visitors showed their ruthless streak to make it 3-0. Again they broke with pace down the left flank with Halpin who squared it for the support run of substitute Luke Griffiths.
Gornal's misery was then completed by the late red card given to Bala for his second bookable offence. He was late with a tackle on the Westfields defender after previously being penalised for handball.
It was the impact of the Westfields substitutes and their overall better play in the final third that made the difference. In contrast, Gornal failed to really test the opposition goalkeeper.
After the game, Wyton said: "We weren't good enough. I have told the players they need to perform better if they are to stay in the division, I know they are capable of giving more because they have already show it.
"I'm hoping that this is a one off performance from us and that we'll quickly put it behind us. Either way, we all need to work harder and get back to a better overall level of performance."
Gornal's task doesn't get any easier. They now prepare to welcome fourth placed Boldmere St Michaels to Garden Walk this Saturday (3pm ko).
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