The Lockmen showed more of their fighting qualities to twice come from behind before comfortably despatching Gornal Athletic. Atletic, with former Willenhall boss Matt Whitehouse in charge and with ten of their former players now playing for Gornal, started brighter, with three wayward shots and a few loose balls for Lockmen keeper Harry Radford to deal with. The home side meanwhile had several corners in the opening twenty minutes but nothing else to show. Sam Brook with two shots around the twenty minute mark threatened the visitor’s goal and Curtis Ellis curled well wide midway through the half. The Peacocks took the lead on 26 minutes when Derek Hoffenden raced onto a crossfield ball and volleyed superbly first time from just outside the box over the exposed Radford for the opener. Chad Birch did well to set up strike parner Corey Pearce on 40 minutes but his effort flew a yard overbefore a minute later Pearce forced a fine low save from Josh Bennett which skipper Alex Causer almost reached the rebound. On 42 minutes, Causer himself forced another good save from Bennett.
The Lockmen came out in the second-half in a much more determined mood, undoubtedly helped by a few choice words and Birch saw one effort blocked and one poked wide at the start of the second- half, Causer fired just wide and then Pearce set up Birch who would have scored if he had gone for power over placement, the keeper managing to smother the ball under his body on 54 minutes. However, sixty seconds later Willenhall levelled. A teasing Birch cross from the left saw Pearce get between two defenders to guide home a header. Birch again worked the keeper before Athletic took the lead on 65 minutes. The home side stopped, waiting for a blatant hand-ball that never came, and the Peacocks broke quickly to find ex-Red Simon Larmourwho finished superbly. Within a minute, The Lockmen levelled, this time Pearce hammered home a cross into the six yard box. On 70 minutes Pearce saw a clever header strike the angle of post and bar before Larmour lobbed wide for Gornal on 72. Pearce was then denied by the keeper somehow sitting on his shot with 14 minutes leftbefore the home side finally took the lead on 78 when Pearce crossed from the left to the far post and Birch headed home via the post from close range. Causer forced another save from Bennett, and Lockmen player-boss Mark Habbershaw went close with two headers before his cross picked out fellow sub Andre Calder with two minutes left and the big centre-half headed home at the far post.
Match report by Chris Burton.