The Lockmen suffered an undeserved heavy defeat to a good AFC Bridgnorth side who progressed to the Vase proper after this win. The visitors started the livelier with a first minute attack down the left wing from Alex Carlin, however his cross was blocked and the chance was gone. On three minutes The Blues won the first corner of the match. The first ball in was headed clear but the return into the box was headed back across goal to the far post where Ryan Bradshaw guided his attempt into the side netting. The Lockmen had a good shout for a penalty on six minutes but the officials saw nothing wrong with the late tackle on Mikey Clark and a corner was awarded instead. The ball was swung in where home keeper Chris Crook fumbled wide for a second corner. Carlin swung the ball into the six yard area and skipper Paul Holden was in the right place at the right time to tuck home from close range on seven minutes. Matt Dove then threatened down the right on nine minutes but his run and cross was missed by a defender before it ran in front of two attackers as well. The home side levelled matters on 10 minutes when The Lockmen gave away possession under pressure and Liam Bood threaded a ball through for Jason Pike to finish in the corner. Mikey Clark and Danny Hemmings then combined well but the latter saw his strike blocked. Tim Patterson then made a great block on the quarter-hour to deny Bradshaw, racing off his line quickly to smother Bradshaw’s shot. A minute later and Clark was attacking down the right flank, this time his cross into the box appeared to run between the feet of Craig Sudlow. The Lockmen then won and wasted a corner before on 17 minutes Bradshaw saw his through ball set up Pike but Patterson again moved quickly to save. Three minutes later and Patterson made another good save to deny Bood. The home side had a 24th minute corner before taking a fluke lead on 29 minutes when a forty yard shot appeared to bounce and kick off the turf in front of Patterson, the ball evaded his hands and bounced into the corner of the net. The Blues won a 32nd minute corner which was easily cleared before Bradshaw had another chance ten minutes later, again Patterson was the equal to it. The last attempt of the half saw Carlin fire just wide for The Reds.
The visitors again started the half on the up, winning the first corner after the break on 46 minutes before Dove saw a shot fly just wide three minutes later. After losing Danny Hemmings to a tackle which resulted in a booking for Simon Gregory, the next action saw the home side extend their lead a minute before the hour mark. Gregory hitting a shot from well outside the box which took two deflections before leaving Patterson stranded as it flew in the corner. Sub Kieran Robinson, on for the injured Hemmings, produced a clever cross only for the header to fly at Crook. On 67 minutes the home side looked to have made the game safe when Bradshaw floated a clever header into the top corner of the net from a free-kick for 4-1. Graham Ashton then saw a header flash wide, and sub Simon Laidley saw a shot blocked on 73 minutes. Patterson again denied Bradshaw on 78 minutes before Pike scored The Blue’s fifth goal from the spot on 80 minutes after a foul on Bood. The Lockmen had an indirect free-kick awarded inside the AFC penalty area on 82 minutes, the shot was blocked, half-cleared to the right of the box, before being crossed back in low to allow Matt Dorgan to smack home from close range. With four minutes remaining The Reds had a free-kick on the edge of the area. Dove played the ball in and Holden saw his header fly at Crook in the home goal. Sudlow then hit the wall with another free-kick before the game finished on a sour note when, with three minutes stoppage-time already played, AFC’s Gregory received a second yellow for kicking Mikey Clark, who was booked for his part in the ensuing melee. Paul Holden also got a yellow after becoming embroiled in the disagreement.
Express and Star Match report here.