The Lockmen snatched defeat from the jaws of victory after losing a 3-1 lead and even a point thanks to a last kick of the game goal.
Connor Hadlington was first to show for the visitors as he shot wide after three minutes, an assistant’s flag nullifying the danger in any case. Two minutes later and leading scorer Chadd Birch did likewise at the other end after he was forced onto his weaker foot. Hadlington saw a weak effort at Harry Radford on six minutes as play switched yet again and indeed it was Hadlington who was denied a strike at goal when Jamal Pinnock did brilliantly to chase back and rob him of the ball as he shaped to shoot. However, in Willenhall’s next attack they broke the deadlock. Chadd Birch saw an effort partially cleared after a run at goal after a pass from younger brother Remie, however, when Harrison Barrett returned the ball in Chadd was unmarked and he controlled before rolling a sublime effort into the far corner for goal number 24 for the season. The visitors then had a corner six minutes later, however, this came to nothing as Pinnock rose highest to easily head clear. On 25 minutes The Reds doubled their lead when player manager Mark Habbershaw was found free just inside the box and he produced a delightful chip into the roof of the net for his 18th of the season. Chadd Birch then did brilliantly out wide on the left before cutting inside and producing a lovely chip which dropped inches over. Nine minutes from the break and the visitors had a free-kick on the edge of the box. However, from Jason Chilton’s ball in it was headed wide. Out of the blue on 41 minutes Rangers halved the deficit. Fornmer Reds striker Danny Dubidat, on a night off from his day job at Alvechurch, fell over for an innocuous free-kick and when he received the ball in space he fired home comfortably.
HALF-TIME WILLENHALL TOWN 2-1 BLACK COUNTRY RANGERS
In the first action of the second-half it was Chadd Birch that did brilliantly to break down the flank and reach the goal-line. When he pulled the ball back Habbershaw was perfectly positioned to net a third Willenhall goal on 55 minutes. Two minutes later and Rangers had a second goal when a free-kick was half cleared and Ryan Booth fired back in to net. On 68 minutes The Lockmen forced two corners, after the second skipper Ben Perks saw his close range shot poked straight into the chest of Rangers keeper Ryan Thomas. Radford then denied the visitors a leveler on 72 minutes with a fine blocking save. Chadd Birch then did brilliantly to escape shortly after however, this time he was just off target. The Reds then won a corner after a cross was half dealt with on 75 minutes. On 79 minutes the visitors had another huge slice of luck when an effort from substitute Shaquille Reid took a huge deflection off the unfortunate Harrison Barrett and ended up in the back of the net. Remie Birch then set up Willenhall substitute Corey Pearce but he blazed narrowly wide with six minutes to play. With two minutes remaining Pearce then did brilliantly to get onto the end of a cross but this time his first time effort flew narrowly over. With the three minutes of stoppage-time played and Rangers won the game when a cross into the box found Lewis Archer completely unmarked and he netted the winner with what turned out to be the very last kick of the game.