A point apiece was a fair result though both sides can make claims that they deserved to win what was an exciting battle. The first threat came from Ryan Ware who dispossessed former Reds keeper Ben Holden easily near to the corner flag. Willenhall then won a second minute free-kick which was headed away from danger by Reese Chambers. The visitors then slung a ninth minute free-kick from out on the right into the area, the ball being flicked away for a corner. Rangers then won several corners in the space of a few minutes but failed to trouble new Reds keeper James Wilson. Leon John then wanted too much time on 18 minutes and found himself crowded off the ball before he could either pass or shoot.
On 28 minutes The Lockmen took the lead with their first serious attack. A lovely flowing move was started by Dean Humpage wide on the left as he picked up a loose ball and casual side-stepped a would-be tackle before moving the ball to Paul Holden. The skipper then found Ryan Ward in the box well positioned, but instead of shooting he moved it wide to Mikey Clark who had a relatively straightforward job of despatching the ball across Ben Holden and into the corner. Chad Birch planted a header wide for the visitors before a free-kick from halfway was swung to the far post where Lyndon Weller found the side-netting with his header. On 37 minutes Rangers levelled when a couple of quick passes across the box found space for an unmarked Birch to fire home past the exposed Wilson. With six minutes to the break Wilson was off his line quickly to save at the feet of a striker before Ryan Ward saw a header blocked after 41 minutes. From a quick break up field on the right, Adam Holiday did well to stop a clean break at the expense of a corner. The final action of the half came two minutes into stoppage-time when Eddie Wynne-Willson saw his corner easily cleared.
HT WILLENHALL TOWN 1-1 BLACK COUNTRY RANGERS
Wynne-Willson fired a free-kick just over eight minutes after the restart before the visitors grabbed the lead on 56 minutes. Wilson was forced into a good low save but Birch was on hand to fire home the rebound. However, the lead lasted just three minutes as Matt Dove won a fierce challenge before finding Ward. The midfielder continued his run into the box after he had fed Ward before Alex Carlin was perfectly placed to fire home the loose ball home. Ben Holden almost gifted a third goal to The Reds when a free-kick from the right wing was badly fumbled by the keeper, but nobody was following in, luckily for him. Weller then headed at Holden on 68 minutes from an Wynne-Willson corner and from the next corner on 72 minute, Carlin was unlucky to see his header just clear the bar.
Wilson was again quick off his line to deny John on 74 minutes before the visitors forced a couple of corners to no avail. On 86 minutes the Willenhall stopper produced a stunning reflex save of almost Banks like proportions when he instinctively stuck out a hand and somehow diverted a fierce header up and over the bar from close range. The last few minutes saw both sides attack alternatively but there was no further addition to the score-line and both sides pocketed a point to open their seasonal account.
FT WILLENHALL TOWN 2-2 BLACK COUNTRY RANGERS