Keighley caught out on break

Goal! Euan Sessford equalises for Keighley. Pictures: Alex Daniel, unless stated.

Goal! Euan Sessford equalises for Keighley.
Pictures: Alex Daniel, unless stated.

Keighley celebrate their goal.

Keighley celebrate their goal.

Keighley FA u17 1 Wharfedale 3
See 290-plus pictures from the cup final on Alex Daniel’s website, here
Keighley’s amazing run in this season’s West Riding County FA Minor Cup ended in disappointment as they went down in the final in front of a large crowd at Woodlesford.
Although the defeat was hard to take, it has been an immense achievement and for long periods it was Keighley who were the dominant side.
Screen shot 2014-03-31 at 13.09.38It may have been a different story as Keighley came flying out of the blocks and after just 40 seconds Tom Baker (Keighley Shamrocks) got free in the box but saw his blistering effort tipped over the bar – either side of the keeper would have given Keighley a dream start.
Keighley did not let up with the midfield quartet of Dominic Mortimer (Steeton), Harry McGowan (Shamrocks), Jonson Butterfield (Steeton), and Baker controlling the game and after 10 minutes Butterfield again could have opened the scoring but saw the keeper save well from his low shot.
After 15 minutes Euan Sessford (Steeton) found Baker with another opportunity, which was saved again and the next chance saw Mortimer fire over from the edge of the box as Keighley threatened to put the game out of reach but could not find the clinical finish.
Screen shot 2014-03-31 at 13.13.38Wharfedale, who were fielding 13 players out of their squad of 16 from Conference North club Guiseley’s Academy side, were not coping with the high intensity but as the game developed they grew more in confidence and strikers Jack Wrigglesworth (Steeton) and Sessford were finding it difficult to find space.
Wharfedale’s long ball tactics were being dealt with but as Keighley were drawn into the long ball game, the game was more even, and the passing game had gone a little.
The strength of the back four was evident again as Josh Ferguson (Steeton), George Guest (Silsden), Keann Shaw (Long Lee), and Joe Meegan (Steeton) were as impressive as in the semi-final victory over holders Barkston Ash, while keeper Josh Hardisty (Steeton) was relatively untroubled.
Screen shot 2014-03-31 at 13.12.43What came after 37 minutes was totally against the run of play, as the deadlock was broken when Keighley switched off as they thought the ball had gone out of play. But Wharfedale continued and the ball was touched in from two yards by Nathan McDonnell, despite Hardisty’s attempts to save.
Keighley were shell shocked and were fortunate to go into the break only one down as Wharfedale tried to push home their advantage.
Keighley re-grouped and started brightly again as they continued to try and break through a resolute defence and started to play football on the ground, which opened up the play.
Euan Sessford leaps to avoid a Wharfedale challenge. Picture: Mike Breeze

Euan Sessford leaps to avoid a Wharfedale challenge.
Picture: Mike Breeze

Although chances were at a premium, McGowen saw two efforts blocked but finally, after 65 minutes, Keighley got their deserved breakthrough as Sessford outmuscled his marker to smash the ball home from 10 yards to equalise.
This should have been the catalyst to go on and win the game, but they were only level for three minutes as another lapse in concentration saw the ball squirm away from Hardisty into the path of Joel Thompson who coud not miss from a yard out.
This was difficult to take and Keighley huffed and puffed for another equaliser but, even with the changes of Shamrocks players Kieron Henry, James Gilmartin, Ben Cox and Sam Fox, there was only really one more opportunity as Cox inadvertently got in the way of Shaw’s effort on goal.
Screen shot 2014-03-31 at 13.12.11With time running out, Wharfedale broke away and Dylan Palfreyman scored from a 25-yard shot, which flew into the top corner and was deserving to win any cup final.
The Keighley dream was over as the final whistle blew and Wharfedale celebrated the win, even though Keighley had dominated possession.
A valiant effort had come to an end but the management staff had been pleased with the season, despite the result in the final.
The squad and staff thanked all the continued support they received at the game.
Tom Baker on the attack for Keighley. Picture: Mike Breeze

Tom Baker on the attack for Keighley.
Picture: Mike Breeze

The trio of Charlie Wysocki, Eugene Gaughan and Dave Heaney have developed a group that will further their careers and give them the experience of playing at a high representative level.
Wysocki said: “The players have shown that they can compete with the best players in the West Riding and this should be just the start for some of them.
“Hopefully they will take with them the experience and push themselves to play at a high level. They are all capable but it will ultimately come down to the desire and determination of each individual.
“The game swung on a couple of missed chances and lapses in concentration and playing against what in effect was Guiseley’s Academy team, it is these small things that can be massive in the impact of a result.
“Playing at junior level may give them the chance to get away with these types of errors, but at this level they are punished.”
Screen shot 2014-03-31 at 13.14.48Gaughan said: “Although we are disappointed, we are also proud of our achievement and hopefully they can take this experience and develop as players.”
Heaney said: “We are developing the district side to be an important part of the player’s development and taking nine-10 players of this year’s squad into next season will only help as we try and go one better.”
Keighley have their annual end of season game v Bradford City or Halifax Town in May at Silsden, prior to the season’s award presentation evening.
See 290-plus pictures from the cup final on Alex Daniel’s website, here
Jonson Butterfield surges forward. Picture: Mike Breeze.

Jonson Butterfield surges forward.
Picture: Mike Breeze.

Keighley's starting line-up. Picture: Mike Breeze.

Keighley’s starting line-up. Picture: Mike Breeze.

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