Wellington 1 Lye Town 4.
CAPTAIN Andy Price praised manager Marc Priday for digging Wellington out of a hole – but confirmed the former goalkeeper doesn’t want the job next season.
The experienced Priday, pictured below, took over the first-team manager’s hot-seat on a temporary basis after Derek Williams stepped down on the eve of the new campaign.
“Marc’s a very popular guy but he’s stated publicly that he only wants to do it this year,” said Price.
“He’s getting the club out of a hole after running the seconds last season.
“None of the lads want to let down Marc or the club.
“We want to get into the top half of the table but we know it’s going to be hard because we’ve got a lot of lads who haven’t played before at this level.”
Wellington have been buoyed in recent weeks by the return of former skipper Dale Withers, who started the season at lower-graded Tenbury United, and Paul Jones.
Withers was Wellington’s best player in Saturday’s tough match against high-flying Lye, while Jones gave the villagers hope in the 56th minute.
Jones’ low shot from outside the box took a deflection and sailed past the dive of Charles Price to cut Lye’s lead to 3-1.
But the gulf in standard between Lye, a team challenging for the West Midlands League Premier Division title, and Wellington was evident throughout.
Wellington couldn’t be faulted for their effort and felt aggrieved when, trailing 2-0, a big refereeing decision didn’t go in their favour.
The home fans were calling for a penalty-kick and a red-card in the 29th minute when Saul Thomas cut inside and hit a shot which was somehow blocked on the line by sprawling defender Robin Sheffield.
It was hard to tell with which part of his body the defender had blocked the ball and Herefordshire referee Chris Smith allowed play to continue. Lye scrambled it away.
But regardless of that one decision, Wellington were outplayed for long periods by the title-hopefuls who were determined to avenge a 2-1 defeat on their home patch last month.
Lye made a flying start and, after Wellington goalkeeper Craig Hill had made a superb save, the visitors scored two goals in a minute through Scott Genhard and Richard Anslow.
Lye also rattled a post and Nicky Pugh curled a free-kick narrowly wide before Anslow slotted in his second goal of the afternoon six minutes before the interval.
Leading-scorer Thomas worked hard up-front for Wellington, who huffed and puffed and reduced the deficit through Jones’ deflected effort.
Captain Price said: “Three or four of the lads thought Jones’ shot was going two or three-foot wide. Personally, I think it might have been an own goal.”
Pugh rounded off the scoring for the visitors with a neatly-struck left-foot shot across Hill in the 66th minute after a quick attack had cut open Wellington’s defence.
Home substitute Steve Brotherwood picked up a nasty-looking gash on his shin and could be doubtful for this Saturday’s home match against Bartley Green.
Wellington chairman Phil Smith felt Lye were too strong for his charges.
He said: “It was a bit like men against boys at times. Marc Priday made two substitutions that changed the game for us and we looked a bit stronger.
“But we were a bit physically weak today.
He added: “Lye are a good side this season and, along with Black Country Rangers, will be looking to win the championship.”
MATCH FACTS Wellington: Hill, Nick Williams, Yau, Andy Price, Withers, Read (Matt Pugh, 84 min), Morgan, Jones, Thomas, Segust (Fischer, 53 min), Winter (Brotherwood, 53 min).
Lye Town: Charles Price, Sheffield, Dimmock, Whitcombe, Lodge, Bull, Nicky Pugh (Shilvock, 76 min), Genhard, Weaver (Hadley, 76 min), Anslow, Jeavons. Subs not used: Poyntz, Bayley, Millward.
Referee: Chris Smith (Herefordshire).
Booked: Wellington: Brotherwood, foul, 60 min; Lye: Genhard, foul, 73.
Star man: Dale Withers (Wellington).
Match rating: 3/5.