The Lockmen will wonder how they lost for a second time in three weeks to Dudley Town after yet again missing a hat ful of chances and seeing their opponents take both of theirs.
A quiet opening was broken on three minutes when Joe Lawley sent a tame shot well wide. Mark Habbershaw was first to show for the visitors when he shot wide on eight minutes. However, The Lockmen took the lead in their next attack on 12 minutes. Matt Dorgan won a crunching challenge on the right wing and Chadd Birch picked up the loose ball in space. He charged down the flank and cut inside to reach the bye-line where he beat a defender, cut back away from goal and crossed perfectly for Habbershaw to latch onto and net his 11th goal of the campaign. A minute later and Habbershaw shot wide again before the game drifted along until the 27th minute when The Robins had a lucky escape. Andy Arnold fetched down Chadd Birch recklessly when the striker was through on goal, unfortunately, the referee took a lenient view and only booked the centre-half. From the resultant free-kick Habbershaw played a clever ball forward into the box and Curtis Ellis’ shot was blocked for a corner which was cleared. On 28 minutes Matt Dorgan was denied a near-certain goal by a superb covering tackle as he shaped to shoot. Chadd Birch won a corner on 32 minutes and when this was crossed deep into the box, Andre Calder was only just off target. Chadd Birch created a shooting chance for Habbershaw after 35 minutes with a clever turn and pass, again the shot was just wide of the mark. On 37 minutes a right wing cross was headed two yards wide before Chadd Birch went close to doubling the lead two minutes before half-time. he chased a lost cause down but saw home keeper Ashley Horton completely miss his kick. Luckily Kieran Burns was hand to clear the striker’s attempt at goal. Habbershaw was then denied a second goal by a superb tackle from Lewis Mitchell as The Lockmen piled on the pressure. The home side then won a corner on 45 minutes which was fired straight at Ryan Lewis before Dorgan was almost played in deep into stoppage time.
HT DUDLEY TOWN 0-1 WILLENHALL TOWN
The visitors started the second-half on the attack and Dorgan was unlucky when his lob from fully thirty yards dropped inches wide of the post. The Robins made an early substitution in bringing on Ethan Barnett and his first drop was to throw an elbow at a Willenhall player which went unnoticed by the officials. He then did likewise to Jamal Pinnock after a foul on the other side of the pitch had halted play, he was booked as was Jamal Pinnock for his reaction. On 57 minutes a half-cleared free-kick dropped to Chadd Birch 25 yards from goal and his first time effort rattled the bar and dropped for a defender to hack clear. The Lockmen suffered a sucker punch on 58 minutes when Clayton Peddie dived into a tackle and caught his man rather than stay on his feet and Shaun Devenport netted from the spot with Dudley’s first on target effort. Dorgan saw a shot kicked off the line on the hour as Willenhall still had no luck before Pinnock almost punished the home side when his cross-shot dipped just over the bar on 62 minutes. Dudley had a corner a minute later before Willenhall attacked again on 64 minutes, Calder seeing his effort deflected wide of the far post. When the corner was cleared it dropped to Chadd Birch who hit a first time lob which dropped against the outside of the post from 25 yards. Habbershaw saw a header flash a yard off target on 66 minutes before The Robins dealt sucker punch number two on 71 minutes when a simple ball into space saw Devenport race goalwards, beat the onrushing Lewis to the ball and then roll a shot home in spite of being forced well wide. Willenhall attacked from the re-start and Chadd Birch blazed an excellent chance high and wide when a hard and low shot would probably have brought an equaliser. Habbershaw was then denied by a fine save before being crowded out as he attempted to shoot minutes later. Horton then produced a brilliant save to deny sub Corey Pearce on 86 minutes before Pearce headed at the keeper a minute later. Chadd Birch arched a header wide on 88 minutes. Cavan Ellis was then booked after Barnett went down clutching his head with no contact on 90 minutes before The Lockmen were denied from two corners in stoppage-time.