The Lockmen were victims of a thoroughly professional job performed by a strong Casuals side who were in control from virtually first to last.
The visitors showed first with Liam Wilkinson getting free to cross from the right on two minutes, unfortunately, the returning Ashley Stewart was high and wide of the mark. Stewart was again involved as he got free down the right in the fourth minute, this time he shot wide. These early misses were to count against The Lockmen on six minutes when Cassies scored from their first attack. There appeared little danger when Fabian Facey received the ball some 25 yards out. However, his sixth minute shot took a bobble and nestled in the corner with keeper Chris Bourne expecting the ball to roll wide. On 14 minutes Matt Dorgan had a good strike on target before the home side broke quickly from the keeper’s kick. The long ball found Kevin Nickle, who got free from his marker but could only hit the side-netting. The Lockmen were forced to replace Remie Birch on 18 minutes after a nasty two-footed lunge above his ankle left him stretched out. The foul didn’t even merit a talking to when a red card would have been more appropriate. His brother Chadd was then booked for his own act of retribution. A 20th minute free-kick came to nothing for Willenhall before Harrison Barrett saw his effort find home keeper Vitor Pineirio. Casuals won corners on the half hour and 32 minutes, both after good work from Shaquille Lee, before their next flag-kick on 34 minutes brought the home side a spot-kick. After the ball was half cleared, Clayton Peddie won a brilliantly timed challenge just outside the box, only for the official to decide it was a foul inside the box. Unfortunately for the home side Bourne guessed correctly diving to his right and blocked Facey’s penalty. On 36 minutes The Lockmen were denied a much clearer spot-kick when Dorgan fired at goal only to be fetched down from behind, nothing doing. To compound The Lockmen’s thoughts of injustice, Casuals doubled their lead on 38 minutes. A superb pass from former Red-Boy Antony Boswell found Nickle. He had plenty to do but controlled superbly before thumping home a stunning effort from a tight angle at Bourne’s near post. A quick break two minutes from half-time saw a clever Chadd Birch lob just drop wide. Casuals almost had a third on 44 minutes when Clayton Peddie attempted a clearing header which struck his own cross-bar before dropping safety.
HT WOLVERHAMPTON CASUALS 2-0 WILLENHALL TOWN
By contrast the second-half was much quieter with The Lockmen significantly upping their defensive game whilst The Casuals seemed content to stroke the ball around and look for opportunities to pick off their visitors. Willenhall corners on 55 and 58 minutes were headed clear before they had a penalty shout again on 63 minutes after Curtis Ellis had seen two efforts blocked. A free-kick on 64 minutes was cleared before three dangerous crosses into the box were cleared around the 70 minute mark. Kyle Thompson saw a shot well blocked on 76 minutes before they saw a dangerous flag-kick cleared six minutes later. With seven minutes left Casuals made it 3-0 when substitute Liam Hughes was presented with the ball six yards from goal and totally unmarked after a cross had been completely missed by Jamal Pinnock. He was never going to miss under those circumstances. Curtis Ellis saw his 86th minute free-kick well fielded by the home keeper on 86 minutes and his next free-kick with two minutes remaining was half cleared to Harrison Barrett who saw his attempt fly a yard wide. As the game went into stoppage-time an unmarked Nickle hit a post before Bourne produced a stunning save a minute into time added on to deny Hughes a fourth for the home side.