FULL MATCH REPORT
The Lockmen turned in a fine display but were robbed of maximum points after an excellent performance from visiting danger man James Baldwin’s who scored a hat-trick for the visitors. A quiet start to the game was punctuated by Willenhall earning a sixth minute free-kick out on the left wing. Eddie Wilson curled the ball into the six yard box but off-side was given. The visitors threatened for the first time on 16 minutes when the game’s first corner was headed clear to the edge of the box where a first time effort was fired back at goal but wide. A minute later and the game finally exploded into life and The Lockmen broke the deadlock with their first proper attack. Mattie Dorgan had the home side’s first shot at goal, but his effort from the edge of the six yard box was well blocked by a defender, it was cleared to the edge of the box where a waiting Matt Dove hammered the ball first time into the bottom right hand corner of Rob Dalloway’s goal. The Reds threatened again shortly after when a super break from half way by Harry Rickus had the Bewdley defence back pedalling furiously. Unfortunately for the home side, Rickus’ well weighted ball was just too far ahead of the onrushing Craig Sudlow. Bewdley then levelled out of the blue on 26 minutes. There appeared no danger when a ball was flicked towards The Lockmen goal but James Baldwin latched onto the headed ball, broke towards goal by cutting in from the right before beating Ben Holden on his near post. A minute later and Willenhall could have re-taken the lead when they won and took a short corner. The ball was crossed in and flicked on at the near post but ran away from goal without a decisive touch. However, on 28 minutes The Reds did grab the lead again. A fine through ball was played goal wards between the centre-halves and Dorgan raced on to the ball before lashing it past the keeper from just outside the area for his fifth goal of the season. Sudlow was then played in on goal on the half hour mark, but was then inexplicably called back for a foul on him by a Bewdley defender. The visitors again levelled out of the blue on 32 minutes, with that man Baldwin on target again. This time, a first time cross from the right wing by Will Ward to the far post found the diminutive winger unmarked and he rose well to glance a header past an unprotected Holden. Blues skipper Dan Flowers then fired a free-kick from a central position over with seven minutes of the half remaining before they wasted a corner on 41 minutes. The visitors then won another flag-kick on the 45 minute mark, but this was headed clear and from the lightning fast break, The Lockmen found themselves leading for a third time. The headed clearance dropped for Wilson on the right wing 30 yards from his own goal, he raced forty yards down the wing before crossing to the edge of the box in a central position, Dorgan controlled the ball but then it appeared to get stuck beneath his feet. Eventually he rolled the ball square to the right to take out two Bewdley defenders and gave enough room for the onrushing Rickus to hammer his shot into the roof of the net from just outside the box.
HT: WILLENHALL TOWN 3-2 BEWDLEY TOWN
The frantic last half hour of the first-half was followed by a more serene opening to the second-half as it took seven minutes for any action materialised, but when it did, it saw a Bewdley corner clutched comfortably by Holden in the home goal. Three minutes later The Blues had a free-kick, but Aaron Stubbins hammered high over. The Lockmen had a dangerous free-kick from a central position but Sudlow was also wayward. Baldwin then fired over from a good position for the visitors on the hour. Bewdley then finally forced Holden into a save on 66 minutes when he did well to get across goal and touch a fierce low drive around the post for a fruitless corner. On 71 minutes The Lockmen had a decent chance to make the game safe when sub Steve Nurse broke down the left and his low cross was turned behind by a defensive block. The missed chance saw The Lockmen punished when a clever through ball on 73 minutes again picked out Baldwin, now playing a free role behind the strikers. He popped up on the right hand edge of the box, cleverly turned and sidestepped a defender and then keeper Holden before rolling the ball home for a fine hat-trick. A minute later he could have had a fourth as he was allowed to run through on goal to lob onto the crossbar from a clearly offside position. The Lockmen saw one last chance headed off the line before Holden produced one more excellent save to preserve a point that could so easily have been three.
FT: WILLENHALL TOWN 3-3 BEWDLEY TOWN
By Chris Burton – Match Secretary Reproduction only by prior-consent of The Lockmen Limited t/a Willenhall Town FC.