NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Wisbech Town waste chance to ease relegation fears when failing to beat nine men
- Credit: Archant
Wisbech Town were left kicking themselves after allowing another golden opportunity to ease their Northern Premier League Division One East relegation fears to go begging last Saturday.
The Fenmen were held to a disappointing 1-1 home draw by nine-man AFC Mansfield at the Elgoods Fenland Stadium.
The visitors hit the front when a deflected Cameron Dear free-kick wrong-footed Wisbech keeper James Connell in the 21st minute, but then had their captain Pat Lindley sent off five minutes before half-time after an off-the-ball incident.
And AFC Mansfield were at even more of a numerical disadvantage when the already cautioned Oliver Fearon earned a second yellow caution for kicking the ball only four minutes into the second half.
But Wisbech, who had slumped to defeat against rock-bottom Gresley in their previous home game, had to wait until 11 minutes from time to claw their way level through top-scorer Toby Hilliard’s header.
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Jon Fairweather was denied an injury-time winner for a Fenmen side left sitting two places and three points above the relegation zone with five games to go.
Manager Gary Setchell admitted: “It’s very difficult to be positive as a manager after watching your team only manage to draw with a team who were reduced to 10 men late in the first half and then went down to nine men early in the second half.
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“To go behind at home again was very disappointing especially as it was another soft goal to concede.
“I’d love to be able to say we battered the nine men and their goalkeeper was man-of-the-match, but sadly that’s not the case.
“AFC Mansfield slowed the game down and made things as difficult as they could for us, and I have to admit they deserved their draw.
“But it is definitely two points dropped for us as we missed a big chance to put distance between ourselves and the bottom two.
“We still need between four and six points to stay up and we’ve got to be better than we were last Saturday to get them.
“The lads are working hard and trying their best, but we need to see more quality from players of the ability we have. The basic truth is we haven’t kept a clean sheet since November and we’re not scoring enough goals.”
Wisbech now travel to eighth-placed Marske this Saturday, 3pm and Setchell believes that test may suit his side.
“The way our season has gone, we’ll probably go there and get a result,” added Setchell.
“We haven’t been able to win home games against lower sides, so maybe going away to top teams suits us a bit better as we can hit them on the break.
“We’re still out of the bottom two and we’ll do all we can to keep it that way.”
The loan spell of Stamford youngster Harry Peasgood ended after the AFC Mansfield game.