The Lockmen produced a fourth fightback in five games to grab a deserved win in sweltering conditions.
Dudley Sports made the perfect start when they took a lead after only 35 seconds. Shepherd Machingauta was found totally unmarked in the box and he easily netted. The Lockmen tried to get back into the game and Eddie Willson saw his effort on three minutes fly wide. Sixty seconds later though and it was all square. Willson took a corner which was headed away from the far post, it dropped fifteen yards from goal perfectly for Dan Bryson to volley straight back into the net.
After eight minutes, The Lockmen went into the lead when Mikey Clark played a clever ball through the defence and Ryan Ward timed his run perfectly as he raced onto the ball and slotted right-footed through the legs of Sports keeper Tom Hayward. Ward then fired another chance just wide on eleven minutes before he was booked for pushing Jamie Parker.
Sports levelled in their next attack on 15 minutes when a left wing break and cross found a totally unmarked Josh Taylor who comfortably headed home from just beyond the far post. Stuart Hillman then fired at James Wilson on 19 minutes before Ward was just over for the visitors a minute later.
Three minutes later and Clark was just too high with a shot after another Willson corner. However, a minute later and Sports had the lead when they broke upfield from the corner and eventually the long ball forward found Cyrtis Coching. As The Reds defence stood and waited for a flag, Coching strode on and fired past a badly exposed James Wilson. Worse was to follow on 26 minutes when a long punt upfield found Hillman, again totally unmarked and he fired home comfortably.
Willenhall forced a corner on 28 minutes, Willson saw the ball punched clear by Hayward only for it to be returned down the left and another corner resulted. This time Craig Stevens saw an effort goal wards cleared. The ball was reworked only this time Paul Holden’s cross flew just beyond the far post.
Graham Ashton saw his fifteen yard effort deflected over on 32 minutes only for The Greens to break from the corner and Hillman was found in plenty of space but his effort was pulled wide. Two minutes from the break and Ward won a free-kick but Willson’s swinging free-kick was punched wide before the ball dropped to Stevens who saw his effort drop just wide. Sports won two corners in stoppage-time, the second saw the clearance sliced and the ball had to be punched over but there was no time to take the third.
The Lockmen needed a good start to the second-half if they were to get back into the game and they got it two minutes in when a ball in from the left saw Ward head fiercely goal wards, taking a deflection and past Hayward. The keeper did well a minute later to save after Ward’s turn and shot before The Greens had a 50th minute corner half cleared before the cross back in saw Wilson save comfortably.
In The Reds’ next attack after 58 minutes both Willson and Ashton saw shots blocked. Carlin then won a corner on the hour as his shot was deflected wide. Willson then saw another effort punched clear and Weller then set up Carlin for an effort from the clearance but it was again wide. Wilson then took a 66th minute corner as the visitors turned the screw but Ashton headed wide. The home side had a rare attack on 72 minutes but it hit the wall and was pushed behind by The Lockmen stopper for a corner.
After 77 minutes Wilson made a fine save clutching the ball well before setting up a counter-attack with a quickly taken long kick, the ball was just beyond but unfortunately for the home side, their skipper Tom Watkins’ attempt to glance the ball back to his own keeper with his head but had too much power and too little direction and nestled nicely in the bottom corner for the equaliser on 84 minutes.
Ward then broke forwards a minute later and crossed for Clark, who saw his header bounce safely out of the reach of any attacker after crashing against the bar.
Hillman petulantly kicked out with four minutes left and was promptly dismissed for his second yellow before the Lockmen won the game with a fantastic move, Clark broke with a minute of injury-time played down the right, he got into a shooting position but spotted an unmarked Ward across goal and centred for the forward to finish left footed with a rising drive for the perfect hat-trick.
Express and Star from 24th August 2015 report.