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Match Report: Sharks 5 - Wild 1 (Moralee Cup Semi-Final, 1st Leg)


Mikey Gilbert (#16) scored the Wild's goal away to Solway (Photo by Geoff White)

Saturday 7th January - Moralee Cup Semi Final (1st Leg)

Solway Sharks 5 – YKK Widnes Wild 1


The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild have a bit of work to do if they are to have any chance of defending the Moralee Cup that they won last season, after a 5-1 defeat away to the Solway Sharks in the first leg of the semi final in Dumfries on Saturday.


At this stage of the competition last season, Widnes picked up a hard-earned draw away in Scotland in the first leg and narrowly won the home leg by a single goal margin to proceed through to the two legged final but the “magic of the cup” deserted them on this occasion and they didn’t have the rub of the green all night.


The Wild travelled north of the border with a few players missing from their regular line-up but overall put in a good account of themselves, being only narrowly outshot by 34 to 28 over the course of the game. Solway, however, were able to make more of their chances in front of goal when they arrived and that was what made the difference.


Playing the defending league champions and current league leaders in their own barn is never easy but the Wild weathered the early storm and the opening half of the first period was played out goal-less.


Solway took the lead in the 12th minute then and scored again 3 minutes later to take a two goal advantage into the first period break.


The second period saw the Sharks well on top, outshooting the visitors by 16 to 4, and they scored 3 more unanswered goals – on 29, 32 and 39 minutes - to push the game further out of the reach of the battling Wild.


Widnes upped their game for the final period – although Solway may have decided to ease off on the gas by then – and outshot the hosts by 13 to 6 as they desperately tried to salvage something out of the game.


Their efforts were finally rewarded on 57 minutes when Mikey Gilbert fired in a consolation goal, but that was the end of the scoring for the evening.


The result means that Widnes will have to try and overturn a 5-1 deficit when the two teams meet for the second leg of the semi-final at Planet Ice Widnes on Saturday 21st January. The winner on aggregate over two legs will go on to meet the winner of the other semi-final, which is being contested between Whitley Warriors and Billingham Stars.


***


The Wild’s game away to Nottingham Lions, which had been scheduled to take place on Sunday, was postponed as the Lace City team were unable to raise a full side due to international call ups. There are hopes that the game may be rearranged for later in the season but it will depend on suitable dates being available.


The Wild are next in action this Sunday 15th January when they take on fierce north west rivals Blackburn Hawks in the Moralee Division at Planet Ice Widnes – 5.30pm face off. For anybody who is unable to get to the game in person, the action will be livestreamed by BASN.


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