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Saturday, 18th March: formby 3-2 Wakefield

Saturday, 18th March: formby 3-2 Wakefield

Formby arrived for their final league encounter with a skeleton squad of 12, owing to injuries and a suspension, only to find Wakefield were in the same boat - in fact a smaller one, as they brought just 11 players. The game was played mainly in an unpleasant drizzle and Formby had the better of the early exchanges with three short corners in the first 6 minutes, none of which really looked like producing a goal. They then let their opponents back into the game and conceded a series of four short corners, and after three ineffective efforts Wakefield got one right and found the right side of Sam Birtles's goal to lead 1-0 after 16 minutes. Formby regrouped with Josh Birtles, Will Miles and Rob Baxter instrumental and equalised from a short corner awarded when Birtles was hauled down unceremoniously in the Wakefield 22, earning their player a 5-minute yellow card suspension. The ball was worked neatly to Hampson who swept it in from close range. Ryan Baker then put Baxter through only for another clumsy tackle in the 22 to bring another penalty corner. The initial effort was blocked but the ball broke nicely top Felipe Davis-Guzman, who finished cleanly from 8 metres to give his side the lead. Miles then set up a scoring chance for James Riley on the right, but his shot was wide of the target. Another penalty corner for the visitors produced no shot on goal and the half ended with Formby 2-1 ahead.

They started the second half fast, with a Jonny Davies shot just wide in the first minute, then Adrian Nash was taken out on the 22 for yet another penalty corner (and another yellow card to Wakefield). This time Birtles produced a good save from the visiting 'keeper, diving low to his right. Formby went straight to sleep and managed to concede a penalty corner to the 10-man side. Sam Birtles blocked this easily, but the rebound couldn't have been kinder to Wakefield, landing right in front of a player with no-one between him and the goal. He took due advantage and it was 2-2. Eventually, Formby started to find their passing game and the Wakefield 'keeper was fortunate to be in the right place as a deft Davis-Guzman deflection from a Ste Wright cross was goalbound, but hit him in the chest and bounced harmlessly away. Baxter then set Riley free in the circle on the right and he forced the ball past a defender, hitting him on the leg. The umpire's whistle stopped Formby from scoring a tap-in, but they took due toll from the penalty corner as Wright got the final touch after a series of rebounds. Formby led 3-2 with over 20 minutes still to play. Wakefield were, understandably, tiring now and their 'keeper had to make two saves from Birtles and Baker from successive penalty corners. The visitors did manage a couple of attacks, bringing a fine save from Birtles, diving to his left, and another clearance from the Formby goalie from well outside his circle, as his defence failed to cut out a long ball down the middle of the pitch. Formby decided to concentrate on retaining possession and letting their tired opponents do all the running, and this worked well enough as time ran out. The win made no difference to the team's fifth place in the league, as all teams above also won, but with only 6 losses from 22 league matches, it was a good season overall - as last year too many draws were allowed in games where Formby had been winning, but they were one of only two teams to take points off champions, Leeds.

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