The Lockmen held their nerve and their temper to claim maximum points off a rugged Malvern side.
After a quiet opening ten minutes whereby play was confined to midfield, The Lockmen had the first attempt at goal when Danny Hemmings fed Jaihon Sedgeley down the right, he beat his man and crossed for the advancing Adam Holliday to fire just wide from 30 yards out. Four minutes later and Malvern’s first attempt on goal was fired wide by Louis Loaden. Malvern’s first corner on 18 minutes was cleared only for home skipper Matt Dove to be penalised for a foul. The free-kick however, was headed well over the bar. On 26 minutes good work by Alex Carlin on the left found Ryan Ward, who turned and shot smartly but straight at visiting keeper Chas Weaver. Five minutes later Holliday fired a thirty yard free-kick straight at Weaver. Eddie Wynne-Willson then left two men in his wake before he fired goal-wards, Weaver fumbled the ball but grabbed at the second attempt with no Willenhall player nearby. Hemmings and Sedgeley then combined well with the young full-back crossing well for Ward but his effort only found the keeper. After a succession of studs up and late challenges the referee finally produced a yellow card for Louis Loaden.
The Reds started the second half on the attack forcing a corner two minutes after the restart but Ward fired the kick high over. The Lockmen finally got the goal they deserved on 49 minutes when Dove made a determined break from the middle of the park, he in turn freed up Ward to race goal-wards and shoot past the keeper. Though his shot bounced out off the inside of the post, it landed straight at the feet of Matt Dorgan who had the simple chance of finishing from eight yards out. James Wilson was finally called into action for the home side on 50 minutes, touching over a fierce shot from the edge of the box. Five minutes later Dave Reynolds hit the bar when it looked easier to score before Alex Carlin did likewise at the other end on 64 minutes. His shot ricocheted back to substitute Kieran Robinson who hit a superb half volley which brought out a superb save from Weaver at full stretch. From the resultant corner Ward hit the outside of the post. Sedgeley was then booked for the home side for what appeared to be an innoccuous. The visitors then won a corner after a good run by Ben Hayes and they then got a free-kick on 71 minutes but this was cleared up-field. Robinson then broke again for The Reds sixty seconds later and won a corner. The referee’s cards were out again after 73 minutes as a nasty studs up challenge from Louis Loaden brought a straight red card, again to howls of derision from the bench. The visitors were sorely trying the patience of the official with three more yellow cards following in quick succession. The Lockmen then won two successive corners on 77 and 78 minutes, the latter was again fumbled by the keeper but he again grabbed the ball safely at the second attempt. The game finally boiled over when yet another late and nasty challenge saw a skirmish involving a number of players. When the dust finally settled Alex Carlin for the home side and the visitor’s Lee Barmby were both dismissed. Ryan Ward was then harshly booked for a 50/50 challenge with the keeper three minutes into stoppage-time before Eddie Wilson finished off a superb move started when Robinson took the ball towards the corner flag before brilliantly twisting and turning through two markers to find Eddie Wilson who then beat two defenders himself before lifting the ball neatly into the far corner of the net in the last seconds of the eight minutes of injury-time.