Evo-Stik Southern League Division One South & West Yate Town 3 Wimborne Town 1
YATE TOWN surged into the play-offs with victory over Wimborne – just two months after propping up the division.
This was a game the Bluebells probably would have lost earlier in the season against an impressive Wimborne outfit, but they are bursting with confidence right now and have simply developed a knack of winning games to suggest they can sustain a promotion challenge.
Their ninth triumph in a row was far from straight forward despite Scott Wilson taking just 32 seconds to score his customary goal, with Wimborne hitting back on eight minutes.
Mike Bryant restored Yate’s lead on 33 minutes and assistant manager Michael Meaker made it 3-1 within nine minutes of the second half, but Lubos Ancin made a string of fine saves to frustrate Wimborne.
Yate made a perfect start when Matt Groves fed Wilson, who made space for himself in the box and hit the ball low into the bottom corner.
However, Wimborne responded positively and equalised soon after. Matt Kemble got to the right byline and pulled the ball back to Alex Moth, whose fiercely struck effort was well parried by Lubos Ancin before Jamie Davidson managed to squeeze the loose ball home with Yate slow to react.
With Groves causing problems down the left Yate were always going to create chances and Wilson hit a spectacular volley inches over from just inside the box, while his strike partner Meaker, 21 years his senior, should have done better when he headed wide when well placed.
Yate regained the lead when Groves whipped in a corner from the left and Bryant headed home at the near post.
Wimborne remained a threat, though, and Ancin made two crucial saves either side of the break, nonchalantly tipping over a shot by Nathan Pepram-Annan, who was found unmarked by Sainsbury, and pushing Billy Matbury's shot away.
Yate went further ahead when Danny Wring played a delightful chip into the box and Meaker timed his run perfectly to get to the ball ahead of goalkeeper Jason Harvall and dink it over him.
Wimborne came back again and George Webb directed a free header from eight yards straight at Ancin, who three minutes later pulled off a fine point blank save with his legs to deny Moth after the ball fell to him in the box.
At the other end Edd Vahid's glancing header from Groves' corner was cleared off the line.
Things threatened to blow over when Ryan Case reacted to a foul by Groves and appeared to catch his head with raised studs while both were on the ground, causing a huge fracas but the Wimborne man escaped with a caution, along with team-mate Pepram-Annan.
Geraint Bater had a good chance to add a fourth after excellent work by Wilson but he dragged his shot wide from 15 yards and Yate saw out the remaining ten minutes with no serious alarms.
Yate Town: Ancin, Warren, Cox, Seery, Bryant, Bater, Groves, Vahid (c), Meaker (Purnell, 68), Wilson, Wring (Sarr, 82). Subs not used: Thomas, Cousins.
Ref: Mr A Matthews.
Att: 147 Gazette star man:
Matt Groves – At his bewitching best.