Ossett United pick up crucial points
Ossett United picked up three crucial points as they scored four goals in an action-packed second half to defeat relegation rivals Widnes.
A run of four wins in five matches in all competitions since the turn of the year, including nine league points, has seen the mood around the club transformed, while the league position has been strengthened as they moved above their opponents and into 16th, five points above the relegation spot.
After losing to the bottom side Pickering the previous week, Ossett needed a reaction, and manager Wayne Benn certainly got it as two goals from Tom Greaves, along with Luke Porritt and James Knowles efforts, secured the win.
“We’ve had a great reaction to that poor performance and defeat last week and that’s all you can ask,” said the boss.
“It wasn’t the prettiest of games; the pitch was heavy and that limits the way we can do things, but I think we managed the game quite well and scored some good goals. We dominated possession at times and the only disappointment that I’ve got is the two goals conceded.
“We need to keep that momentum building. That’s now three league wins in four, that’s not relegation form by anybody’s standards. We’re starting to turn the corner, but there’s still work to do.”
There were few chances of note in a goalless first half but the best of them fell to Ossett. Jack Stockdill headed wide early on, Aaron Haswell twice aimed just the wrong side of the post, and Greaves struck over after good work from Porritt.
Marko Basic could only stab wide when Jake Maltby’s cross came to him at an awkward height, while the closest that the visitors came was in the final minute before the break when Ben Hodkinson’s powerful header went wide.
The deadlock was broken only four minutes into the second half. Haswell crossed from the right touchline and Porritt did brilliantly to firstly bring the ball down, then to hold off the defender under pressure before finally turning it into the net.
Sam Sheen was booked in the aftermath of the goal and, six minutes later, was given his marching orders for a trip on Porritt. With the man advantage United searched for further goals, and got another when goalkeeper Tom Scott had a rush of blood as he charged out of his net to bring down Porritt after Basic had played him through. Greaves dispatched the penalty to make it 2-0.
Just three minutes later Widnes gave themselves a lifeline. The home side were guilty of switching off after the ball hit the referee, and that allowed former Ossett man Anointed Chukwu to chip the ball in and halve the deficit.
Their cushion was soon restored when Knowles got ahead of his man at the near post to head in a Corey Gregory corner, but Knowles then ensured a nervy final eight minutes when his trip allowed Hodkinson to make it 3-2 from the penalty spot.
Only in the first minute of added time could United finally breathe a sigh of relief. Nick Guest intercepted a poor Widnes pass and lifted the ball over the top for Greaves to run onto, taking it past keeper Scott to finish the job.
Ossett are back in action at Ingfield this Tuesday night, hosting Garforth Town in the second round of the West Riding County Cup (kick-off 7.45pm).
Ossett: Souter, Maltby (Egan 76), Cogill, Haswell, Knowles, McManus, Haswell, Harrison (Gregory 70), Greaves, Basic (Guest 70), Porritt.
Subs: Gregory, Litchfield, Guest, Hardaker, Egan.
Goals: Porritt (49), Greaves (66, 90), Knowles (74).
Widnes: Scott, Roberts, Holden, Hajdari, Sheen, Burke, Webster (Ventre 60), Steele, Rainford (Chuwku 25), Hodkinson, Murray (Hellawell 67).
Subs: Ventre, Ashton, Hellawell, Adetiloye, Chukwu.
Goals: Chukwu (69), Hodkinson (82).
Man of the Match: Luke Porritt