Ripon City’s winless run in the West Yorkshire Premier Division extended to six games after a close 2-1 defeat at home to Wetherby Athletic on Saturday.
In a weekend of sporting fixtures blighted by the weather, Ripon’s game against Wetherby at Mallorie Park Drive survived and Steve Donoghue’s side took an early advantage.
Kyle Fox steered in a cross to give the home side the lead and reflect their dominance in the opening period of the contest but Wetherby hit back ten minutes later with a Josh Barden goal.
Donoghue’s side made a positive start to the second half but a Charlie Yates strike on the hour mark was enough to hand Wetherby victory and condemn Ripon to their 15th league defeat of the season.
Despite the result, Donoghue was optimistic about the performance but admitted it had taken him ‘longer than expected’ to be able to get his best team out.
He said: “Saturday was our best performance so far this season. Wetherby have been on a fantastic run of form lately but for most of the game I thought we were even.
“I was pleased we were able to sign a new goalkeeper for the match because we had been conceding silly goals very early on in games but there was none of that this time around and we managed to get the first goal.
“However, they had the best part of the second stage of the first half so when they equalised, you have to say they deserved it and 1-1 was a fair reflection of the game.
“But in the opening of the second half we were the better team again and they only had two chances in the second half but managed to score from one of them after we gave the ball away and did not clear it well enough.
“We never gave up though and we kept fighting. There was still a little bit of nerves there as we were holding on the ball a bit too long or shooting to early but I was pleased with the performance.”
The result means Ripon have picked up just one point in their last six league games but, with 33 points still left to play for and their relegation rivals not playing this weekend, Donoghue is not giving up on survival.
However, his side’s focus now turns to the league cup and a clash against Division One Headingley on Saturday after beating Baildon Trinity Athletic 2-0 in the last round.
Donoguhe said: “They’re in the mid-table of the division below us and it will give us a chance to play some of the younger lads but the rest of the lineup will be very similar. If we can get a good performance then hopefully we can take it into the following week.”