Wardens bounce back to winning ways against Leam Hibs
By James Smith
18th Oct 2023 | Football
Wardens got back to winning ways with a comprehensive home win against Leamington Hibernian in the charity cup.
The Kenilworth outfit were coming off the back of three straight losses for the first time since restarting six years ago, as they went toe-to-toe with the Midland Football League outfit.
Wardens shook things up from their previous loss with five changes in their starting 11 and immediately started the game well.
The opening 15 was characterized by the returning Ben Edmunds causing havoc on Hibs' defenders, getting into great positions with only excellent last ditch defending stopping Wardens taking the lead.
The hosts did have the ball in the net on 15 minutes. A first time pass from Eamonn Richards was played to Dave Buckley, whose touch found Guy Pearson who excellently struck into the bottom corner, however the goal was harshly ruled out for a handball from Buckley.
The three then combined again for another disallowed goal, Richards played to Pearson on the edge of the box before his scooped pass found Buckley whose first time volley went straight into the top corner, only to be chalked off by the linesman's flag for offside.
But they did take the lead against the step eight outfit on 25 minutes. Under a press from Wardens, the ball was played back to the keeper, Pearson ran 30 yards to close the keeper down and his clearance was blocked by Pearson as it went into the back of the net for Pearson's third goal of the season.
Wardens could have added to the lead with Buckley coming close twice but narrowly missing the target, and the excellent Edmunds also hitting the inside of the post with a bullet shot from the edge of the box.
With 10 minutes left of the half Hibs started to get into the game and nearly equalised with two one-on-ones with Andy Whitehouse - the Wardens shot stopper expertly saved the first and Kyle King narrowly put the second wide.
At half time Wardens felt hard done by to only be a goal up but immediately struck early in the second half to double their lead. A long diagonal ball to the right was intercepted by the brilliant Alex Waters before he exchanged passes with Edmunds, got to the byline and crossed for Buckley who hammered in from close range for his fifth of the season.
On 55 minutes Wardens put the game out of sight. A James Proctor corner was collected at the back post by Buckley. Buckley passed back to Richards whose cross found Proctor unmarked at the back post, Proctor unselfishly cut back to the open Edmunds to tap in from six yards out to score the goal his play deserved.
Wardens made it four on 60 minutes. A Richards corner fell to substitute Phil Rudd at the back post for him to volley in with his left foot from close range with his first touch of the game.
Wardens defence, excellently marshalled by captain James Brewitt, continued to be dominant in their first third, limiting Hibs chances to long range efforts comfortably saved by Whitehouse. Both Buckley and Edmunds came close to adding a fifth with the returning Ollie Jones missing a one on one following an excellent pass from debutant Ruben Voica.
Wardens saw out the game with their sixth win of the season and first clean sheet of the year.
"These past few weeks have been as difficult as any time I've managed this club, morale and confidence had taken a hit and I didn't see the team had the qualities which are a given for teams I manage," player-manager Richards said after the game.
"Change was needed and a lot of thought and reflection went into how to change us for the better. Thought Brewitt was excellent as captain today and demonstrated the attitude and identity we need as a team.
"With the lads coming in it provided us with so much more balance and quality. Ben and Ollie were brilliant today and helped the rest of our attacking players have the sort of games which is expected with the quality they have.
"We want to go as far as we can in this cup and the chance to play at Coventry City's stadium is always a huge motivator."