Derby rights claimed by West Wratting as they're led to glory by former Linton Granta boss Miller
It was West Wratting who claimed the derby honours in Saturday’s Kershaw Premier home clash against Linton Granta, to hand manager Lee Miller a ‘very pleasing’ three points.
It was their first meeting since Miller moved across the dugout – having led Linton to the league’s runner-up spot last season – and the home team claimed the honours with a 3-1 victory.
Former Linton man Tafadzwa ‘Taz’ Chisango rose to the occasion with his first goal for the club, to give Wratting the advantage at the break, despite Linton having been dominant in the first half.
They continued to control possession and territory in the second period but Wratting adopted counter-attacking tactics and were rewarded with two scores.
Riki Baker netted off his head from close range after 65 minutes, before Linton’s makeshift goalkeeper Chris Palmer – normally a midfielder – was unlucky not to prevent Mitchell Burr’s close range shot, making a stop but watching as it dribbled over the line. Linton were awarded a penalty in added time, successfully converted by Simon Greathead, for a consolation score.
Miller said: “Another three points so I’m very pleased. But we started poorly and we weren’t good enough in the first half.
“We knew it was going to be tough, there aren’t many better footballing sides than Linton in the league. But we came out a much better side in the second half.
“We’re just not hitting the levels I know we can and yet we’re still picking up three points.
“We won’t get away with it again though, so we have to come out better next week away to Cherry Hinton – they are a very good side and will give us a game.
“Their manager watched us here today and so they will be well prepared.”
Wratting travel to Cherry Hinton on Saturday (2pm).
Linton player-manager Dale Archer said: “I thought we competed very well – it wasn’t a 3-1 game.
“Wratting are going to be up there challenging for the league – those were our aspirations at the start of the season, but the way we’ve started, that’s looking less achievable.
“We just need to stay confident and keep the belief because we are a good team.
“The majority of this team is the one that finished second in the league last season so we just need to get that win and hopefully push on from there.”
He added that his Linton Granta side are far from hitting the panic button, despite losing five of their opening six games in the Kershaw Premier, with the 3-1 away to West Wratting the most recent.
He explained that availability and injuries had severely hampered the early efforts of last season’s runners-up, with no specialist keeper or first choice centre back at their disposal.
Despite several first-team players remaining unavailable ahead of their trip to basement-side Fulbourn Institute on Saturday (2pm), joint-manager Archer sees the meeting as a chance to kick-start a better run of form.
He said: “We’ve played with no proper centre-backs or a keeper and that’s had a big effect, it’s just not been a very settled team. Our quality in the final third needs to get better, but really we need to stop conceding sloppy goals, that’s the first thing.
“People will probably look at recent results and think ‘they’re struggling, they must have lost a lot of players’, but that’s not it. It’s just not happening for us at the moment; in a few weeks, I think we’ll start to show what we can actually do.
“(Fulbourn) have not done well but we can’t take any game lightly – it’s going to be hard and we need to be prepared. If we can get the win that’ll be fantastic and hopefully it can set us off.”