The Lockmen blew away an AFC Bridgnorth side, who, but for keeper Chris Crook, would have suffered a much more embarrassing defeat.
The Lockmen won three early corners after efforts from Sam Brook and Cavan Ellis before the debut-making Mikey Nelson set up Lucan Spittle for a mis-timed header. On twenty minutes Dan Taylor for the visitors fired a strong shot from nearly thirty yards but the ball nestled in the midriff of returning keeper Danny Ware. Ashley Challender-Campbell then fired over before Mikey nelson broke quickly before turning and shooting goalwards, Crook caught the effort comfortably. Nelson then did well to cross for skipper Ben Perks, but his effort was touched over. From the resultant corner, Spittle headed wide. A Lockmen free-kick on 27 minutes saw a good shout for a penalty when Nelson appeared to be barged over in the box Nelson then struck at goal on 35 minutes only to see the ball bounce wide off a team-mate. On 38 minutes Chadd Birch saw a fine run and cross half cleared as far as Perks, Crook produced his first outstanding save to somehow tip the effort over the bar. Spittle then again headed wide from the corner before on the stroke of half-time, a ball from Ashley Challender-Campbell from left to right played Chadd Birch in behind the defence and he strode on to roll the ball past the onrushing Crook and into the corner of the net.
HT WILLENHALL TOWN 1-0 AFC BRIDGNORTH
The Blues threatened briefly after the break but without forcing a save. Chadd Birch won a corner five minutes ater the restart and when the ball was played in he had half a shooting opportunity but saw the ball cleared before he could connect. A keeper error almost saw Remie Birch on the scoresheet with his elder brother, Crook grabbing a cross at the second attempt with the youngster almost reaching the ball first. The second goal then deservedly arrived on the hour, Chadd Birch producing a strong run before a clever ball forward released Sam Brook who produced a sublime finish to beat Crook all ends up. Sadly for the visitors, the will appeared to be broken and the legs followed as the home side simply ran away with the game. On 64 minutes a couple of quick passes across the box saw sub Kyle Thompson find Chadd Birch who finished past an exposed Crook before five minutes later Thompson volleyed into the ground and over the keeper from the returning Corey Pearce’s pass. Thompson made another good break on 72 minutes, this time he was crowded out. On 78 minutes Chadd Birch made it nine for the season and his hat-trick when a ball forward saw him beat two defenders, round the keeper and fire home past two defenders on the line to make it 5-0. Crook did brilliantly to tip over efforts from Tony Russon and Pearce that looked to be heading for the top corner before Jamal Pinnock set up Thompson who headed wide. Lockmen supporters would have found it ironic that an AFC side who scored 18 times in three games against their side last season, never ever looked like threatening one here.