Wick Academy players praised for 'outstanding' effort and dedication after Scottish Cup exit
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Wick Academy manager Gary Manson has praised his players for their "outstanding" effort and dedication in what proved to be an ill-fated Scottish Cup campaign.
The Scorries were down to the bare bones for Tuesday night's rearranged first-round replay against Bo'ness United and succumbed to a 4-1 defeat.
Academy travelled to Newtown Park with just 11 players and were a man down for most of the second half after Jack Henry picked up a second yellow card.
Manson paid tribute to the commitment shown by his depleted team but acknowledged that Academy are still letting in too many goals. They have yet to win a game this term.
“It's the story of our season – we are conceding far too many goals," Manson said. "You can't concede four goals and expect to win a game.
“It's something that we have been trying to rectify. We've been working on things in training and it's not getting any better, so it's something we need to seriously think about.
“The workrate and the dedication to the cause was incredible, especially when we went down to 10 men, and I said that to them after the game. Nobody could fault the effort of the guys that were on the pitch.
“Everyone knew that they had to just roll their sleeves up and get on with it, and everyone to a man put in an outstanding amount of effort. That had to be applauded. But the way we conceded the goals was just amateur.”
Academy led twice in the first match at Harmsworth Park only for their Lowland League opponents to earn a 2-2 draw.
Tuesday's clash was necessitated by the abandonment of Saturday's initial attempt at replaying the tie. Referee Chris Gentles called it off after a lengthy delay in the arrival of an ambulance to attend to Bo'ness striker Zander Miller after he sustained a broken ankle following a challenge by Danny Mackay.
Bo'ness were 4-2 up when the incident happened just before the hour mark.
On Tuesday, Bo’ness took an early lead through Kyle Wilson and Wick had chances to equalise. Two quick-fire goals at the start of the second half by Kieran Anderson and Nick Locke put the home side firmly in charge, and it got worse for Academy soon after when Henry was dismissed.
Jack Halliday pulled one back with a penalty but Bo’ness were awarded a spot-kick of their own in the closing stages and Ryan Stevenson tucked it away.
“It was always going to be a tough ask," Manson said. "We went down with 11 players, so it was a struggle to even get a team on the park.
“It's not ideal with the boys working in the morning, rushing home, getting changed and on the bus.
“But it was never a 4-1 game – that flattered them considerably, I would say.
“They started better than us. They got a goal and they were on top for maybe the first 15 minutes. But once we settled down and got into the game we dominated the last half-hour of the first half, created quite a few good chances and hit the bar twice.
“The message at half-time was to keep it tight at the back and try and take one or two of the chances that we knew we would get.
“I think it was about 45 seconds after half-time that we conceded a goal, and then about a minute later we conceded another one.
“You are right up against it when you're 3-0 down, and then just to compound matters we got a man sent off about two minutes after that.”
Manson added: “The tie should have been over in Wick when we were 2-1 up against 10 men. That would have saved all the hassle. But these things happen and it's part and parcel of playing for Wick and playing in the Scottish Cup.”