The Lockmen were unfortunate not to take maximum points let alone none, as one side came to play football and one side came to stop any football.
The visitors were quick to show when Harry Radford was forced into a good low save on three minutes by Alex Cowley. The Lockmen were next to threaten on six minutes when a Tony Russon free-kick was headed clear. Three minutes later a good run by Kyle Thompson saw a clever cross swung in but again the defence cleared. Thompson was the architect behind the next Willenhall move on twelve minutes when his run down the wing and cross saw player-boss Mark Habbershaw head just wide. The visitors were living up to their nick-name of ‘The ‘Ammers as they refused to stand on ceremony and a particularly nasty late and high tackle on Mikey Nelson, designed to take him out after instructions from the side should have been more then a yellow card for Ross Love. From the 18th minute free-kick into the box, Habbershaw again guided a header wide. Aaron Lloyd had a clear goal-scoring opportunity on 21 minutes for Cradley, only for Radford to produce a great one handed save to divert the ball wide. Thompson’s direct running forced another corner on 23 minutes when his shot was well saved by the feet of Cradley keeper Rich Kennedy, Habbershaw again reached the flag-kick with his head, again it was just off target. Out of the blue the visitors had the lead on 26 minutes when Cradley were awarded a soft free-kick 22 yards out after an initial foul some seconds earlier was not awarded. Full credit to Joe Lawley as his brilliant strike flew into Radford’s bottom left hand corner. Two minutes later and Kennedy really excelled himself as he produced a superb one-handed save to deny Thompson’s shot at goal. Lloyd was the next Cradley player into the book for another lunging tackle after the ball on had gone on Nelson on 35 minutes. Daniel Sedgwick produced a good effort which brought a corner. From the kick Habbershaw produced a low shot.
HT WILLENHALL TOWN 0-1 CRADLEY TOWN
The Lockmen were first to show after the break when Sam Brook hit a stinging effort to Kennedy on 51 minutes. On 54 minutes Lucan Spittle produced a great clearance to deny Cradley a goal before play centred in the other goalmouth, Jamal Pinnock’ cross-shot producing a corner from a tip over, and another folowed to no avail. However, The Reds soon had the ball back and Pinnock won another corner on 59 minutes. Five minutes later and Thompson again teased the visiting defence when his header across goal brought a corner. This time Habbashaw took the kick on 65 minutes, one shot from Thompson was cleared off the line before captain Ben Perks headed over the line before glancing the rebound over the line as well to make sure. Thompson forced another corner on 69 minutes and Habbashaw fired inches over four minutes later after good work from Nelson and sub Chadd Birch set him up. With twelve minutes remaining The Lockmen were sunk by a super goal but may ask why R’mar Murray had time to take a high pass on his chest, drop the ball at his feet and switch feet before sending a stunning shot into the top corner. The Lockmen gained another free-kick for yet another malicious tackle, this time on sub Alex Causer, again Alex Cowley should consider a yellow card lucky. It certainly wasn’t Habbashaw’s night as another effort flashed inches wide on 80 minutes before another Town corner followed sixty seconds later. The ball was worked Causer who produced a teasing cross which brought the first real trouble for Kennedy as he somehow flapped the ball away for a corner. Habbershaw was then wide again as The Lockmen went hunting a point on 82 minutes, Thompson then hit a post with Lloyd clearing the danger, before Tony Russon produced a great block at the other end to prevent a third Cradley goal. On 86 minutes Chadd Birch produced a snapshot which Kennedy could only grab at the second attempt before taking the ball over the line for a corner. The last attempt saw a cross shot drift over from Remie Birch on 90 minutes.