The Lockmen were again punished for mistakes at both ends as they slipped to defeat against a poor AFC Bridgnorth side.
The Reds made the worst possible start possible when a blind back-pass from Josh Annakin picked out AFC’s leading scorer Anwar Olugbon and he ran on to slide the ball under the exposed Ryan Lewis after only 55 seconds. The Reds attacked immediately from the kick-off and a clever ball forward from Annakin for player-boss mark Habbershaw saw him through on goal only to roll his shot just wide of the far post. Two minutes later and a smart move down the left saw Chadd Birch swing over a dangerous cross which was smuggled clear. With twelve minutes played the visitors again threatened when Chadd Birch got free again down the left and his ball into the area picked out Habbershaw. H did wonderfully to bring down the ball before letting fly with a belter. Unfortunately Chris Crook in the AFC goal was equal to it and turned it over with a fine one-handed tip over. A minute later and home skipper Karl Griffiths was just wide of the mark with a crisp strike. The Lockmen were on the attack again on 14 minutes, this time Birch set up Habbershaw who saw his attempted chip fail to gain sufficient height to trouble Crook. Chadd Birch again broke on the quarter-hour but he was crowded out as he turned into the penalty area. Four minutes later and Chadd combined well with brother Remie on the left, this time the younger brother played in Chadd and he forced a corner. AFC had a free-kick 25 yards out and centrally positioned but this was wasted as it got only as far as the defensive wall before being cleared. With 25 minutes played Curtis Ellis fed Chadd Birch and another corner was won. Liam Wilkinson played the ball into the six yard box where it was eventually scrambled clear. two minutes later and the home side saw Dan Taylor’s shot from the edge of the area well blocked before they went close to a second on 32 minutes when Liam Blood, back with his former club after a brief spell with Willenhall saw his effort blocked on the line by the chest of Remie Birch. Curtis Ellis went on a clever run 60 seconds later before being dispossessed before AFC won a corner on 40 minutes and a free-kick two minutes later, Taylor stepped up to take the kick and his effort was destined for the top left hand corner but Lewis produced a stunning save to claw the ball around the post. However a minute into stoppage-time and the home side produced a second goal when Griffiths was found in the area and he fired past Lewis from an unmarked position.
HT AFC BRIDGNORTH 2-0 WILLENHALL TOWN
The second-half started slowly as the home side, especially keeper Crook, looked to waste time at every available opportunity. Taylor fired a fierce effort at Lockmen keeper Lewis on 49 minutes but there was little to write home about until the 64th minute when Willenhall produced a goal out of the blue. Curtis Ellis who’d determination to break down the left and then play the ball on for Chadd Birch who produced a super cross into the area where mark Habbershaw rose well to thump a header home. The Lockmen then won a free-kick barely a yard outside the area and a yard from the goal-line when Sam Mitchell was booked for chopping down Chadd Birch. The free-kick was taken to the right to create an angle and a low cross was thumped behind. From the corner Wilkinson scrambled an effort goalwards at the second attempt and as it was rolling in Josh Annakin followed up to roll home only to be flagged for off-side. The Lockmen were then doubly punished as from the free-kick, a ball was punted forward, Andre Calder missed his challenge and when the ball was crossed in from the right, Griffiths was again unmarked to make the game safe. With ten minutes left Olugbon blocked an attempted clearing kick from Lewis but the ball ricocheted a yard wide. Cavan Ellis was then controversially sent off on 82 minutes for a hand gesture to the home crowd who were demanding a red card for a foul on the touchline. This appeared to galvanise the visitors a little as they won a corner on 83 minutes followed quickly by another and then a third after two shots were scrambled away from goal. They forced another couple of flag-kicks as full-time approached before the home side broke quickly and Elliott Lee should have had a fourth for the home side but he missed his kick completely when clear of markers a few yards out.