Fightback win gives Wick survival chance

Wick Football Club came back from a goal behind to seal a vital victory at fellow Southern Combination League Premier Division strugglers AFC Uckfield Town on Saturday.

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Matt Noble (right) struck a spectacular 55-yard volley to get Wick level on Saturday. Picture by Derek Martin DM17310681Matt Noble (right) struck a spectacular 55-yard volley to get Wick level on Saturday. Picture by Derek Martin DM17310681
Matt Noble (right) struck a spectacular 55-yard volley to get Wick level on Saturday. Picture by Derek Martin DM17310681

Scott Taylor’s penalty after half-hour looked to have ended Wick’s chances of survival. However, second-half strikes from Matt Noble and a late Rob Madden header secured a fightback 2-1 win for Lee Baldwin’s second-bottom side.

After place-above Arundel’s game with Hailsham Town was called off due to boiler issues at Mill Road - plus fourth-bottom Worthing United being held to a home draw by Crawley Down Gatwick - Wick have now closed the gap on safety to six points with seven games to go.

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Baldwin was pleased with the character shown by his players’ after a ‘bizarre’ penalty decision had threatened to send them to an eighth successive league defeat.

He said: “It was a really strange one for their penalty. Lewis Boughton (Wick goalkeeper) collected the ball following a corner, then a spot-kick was given.

“It was a tough one to take for myself and the team but we bounced back and showed great spirit in the second.

“I’d said to the lads at half time - we must be the unluckiest team in this league - we came out and gave it everything and got the win with two goals in the second half.

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“We’d never given up hope before but if we had lost this it could well have been curtains.

“All we can do is keep the pressure on teams above us, which we did on Saturday.”

Shane Brazil and Rob Hutchings both missed guilt edged opportunities, before Uckfield were gifted the chance to go ahead on the half-hour.

Boughton collected the ball following a corner with referee Lee Martin-Cramp pulling play back and pointing to the spot. Taylor slammed home the resulting penalty to fire his side 1-0 ahead.

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Wick were then level in sensational fashion five minutes after the break. Noble’s 55-yard volley left Alex Harris with no chance in Uckfield’s goal.

As the points looked to be shared, Madden met Andy Chick’s free-kick - heading home - to ensure Wick ran out 2-1 victors.

After putting themselves back in survival contention, Baldwin’s side make the trip to second-placed Haywards Heath Town on Saturday.

With Heath going into on the back of a defeat, Wick boss Baldwin is unsure what to expect.

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He added: “It’s a complete free-hit for us. We go into it not expecting to win but we will just give it everything to try and come away from the game with something.

“The pressure will be on them, with games against Littlehampton and Arundel still to come for us, it is just about trying to take points when we are not expected too. If we could get something in this one it would give us great momentum going into the final six matches.”

WICK: Boughton; Eyres, Madden, Ediker, Cox; Hutchings, Chick, Noble, Wimble, Brazil; R.Brown. Subs: Baldwin, Hallett, Clark, McCarthy.

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