The Lockmen must have ran over a whole host of black cats as they had one of those days when if it can go wrong, it did!
The first action of the game saw The Lockmen take the lead with a well worked goal on six minutes. The move was started by Ben Perks playing a through ball to Liam Wilkinson. Wilkinson carried forward before playing the ball through two defenders for Chadd Birch to run onto on the left wing. When The Lockmen’s leading scorer crossed hard and low, player-manager Mark Habbershaw was able to fire home from a couple of yards out. The first time Juniors threatened on ten minutes there were cries for a penalty for a shove in the box, which could easily have been given on another day. However, the official ignored the claim which allowed the home side to break quickly, the ball finding it’s way to Chadd Birch again on the left, his attempted shot brought a corner on 11 minutes. A second quickly followed as the ball was swung in and headed over the bar by a defender. The second flag-kick was swung in by Perks and found Kyle Thompson, who pushed the ball back out wide to Perks who burst past two players and hammered hard and low across the face of the six yard area, Habbershaw just unable to direct his effort on target at full stretch. Chadd Birch threatened again with another good cross which saw him fetched down for another penalty shout. However, with play waved on, Habbershaw saw a good low effort palmed wide by visiting keeper Max Harris, the ball was then played back into Wilkinson who fired just over on the quarter-hour. Recent signing Dominic Smith then produced a fine headed clearance to deny Peggy before Remie Birch burst down the right on the overlap on 18 minutes and his dangerous cross was plucked out of the air by Harris, already looking like the visitor’s man of the match. The visitors should have leveled on 21 minutes when a corner was half cleared by Jamal Pinnock, but when the ball was recycled and crossed to the far post, Tom Boyle flicked a free header a yard wide of the far post. A minute later Pegasus skipper Ben Price also planted a free header just wide of the same far post after a good right wing cross as The Lockmen failed to heed the first warning. At the other end Thompson was high and wide as the ball appeared to bobble as he struck it. Perks was then forced to hobble off with a foot injury and Reece Chambers replaced him. Lockmen keeper Ryan Lewis had also picked up an early knock which appeared to be restricting his movement, which probably contributed to the fluke goal that leveled on 28 minutes. Luke Griffiths picked the ball up some forty yards out and his lofted punt dropped over the keeper’s head though he was barely two yards off his line and in. The goal appeared to rock the home side back on their heels and Boyle headed over again on 40 minutes as Pegasus turned the screw. Chadd Birch broke again down the left to draw another good save from Harris. A minute into stoppage-time and the visitors had a goal chalked off for off-side and three minutes into the time allowed, Chadd Birch had a chance to restore The Reds’ lead. However, disaster struck the home side sixty seconds later. Pinnock had two chances to clear his lines up the left flank but instead played the ball inside to Smith, he in turn spurned two chances to clear upfield, choosing to play a ball across the six yard box to Clayton Peddie. As Peddie tried to shepherd the ball to allow the injured keeper to kick clear, Liam Jones nipped in to take the ball off Peddie’s toes and poke past the keeper and into the net via the post.
HT WILLENHALL TOWN 1-2 PEGASUS JUNIORS
With midfielder Reece Chambers taking over in goal from the unfortunate Lewis,Jamal Jakeman came on for his debut after signing from Bilston. The first play after the restart saw Habbershaw flick a throw-in onto Chadd Birch, but he was robbed as he shaped to shoot on 52 minutes. Jason Wood then delivered a free-kick into the box where Smith had sneaked in on the blind side to head into the side-netting. Price then hit the side-netting shortly after before Peggy grabbed a third goal on 69 minutes. A long ball forward saw Boyle latch onto it and he managed to clear the onrushing Chambers who had nothing to do other than field back-passes until that moment. Three minutes later Smith limped off for the home side which reduced them to ten men as Peddie had limped off on 62 minutes, coach Ian Dell making his first Willenhall start in almost 25 years. With eleven minutes remaining Juniors’ sub Ash Lear lobbed over Chambers but wide of the mark. On 83 minutes Thompson made a clever run but his effort was into the side-netting again when a pullback to his manager would probably have brought a goal. With a minute left Chadd Birch curled a brilliant effort an inch too high and too wide. Seconds later and Wilkinson played a quick one-two and burst into the box only to see his effort brilliantly saved by Harris before being cleared to the edge of the box where Wood blazed a yard over. With injury-time in its first few seconds, Habbershaw was desperately unlucky to see his toe-poke cleared off the line at the expense of a corner. With two minutes of the allotted four extra minutes played the Birch and Habbershaw partnership brought a second goal for Habbershaw, he buried a good low cross into the box from Chadd Birch. The Lockmen had one last chance that was halted by a loose pass and the visitors hung on for a fortuitious win.