FULL MATCH REPORT
A first win in ten games turned out to be an ultimately comfortable afternoon for The Lockmen. The visitors were the first to show in the late September sun as Harry Rickus fired a second minute effort straight at Shifnal keeper Luke Kriskinans. Generally both sides were passing the ball and keeping possession wherever possible, but it left attacking play at a premium as both sides played a cagey opening fifteen minutes. The Lockmen threatened again on 16 minutes when good work on the right by Danny Hemmings produced a cross into the box for Matt Dorgan. Unfortunately, both his shot and the follow up were blocked. Three minutes later good work from Rickus set up Dorgan again, this time his effort was blocked before the ball was rolled back to Rickus who fired over. Craig Sudlow then won a corner on 20 minutes which Hemmings took, his corner flew just over Dorgan’s head and Rickus couldn’t quite keep in play. However, a minute later and Willenhall, and Dorgan in particular, had the goal they deserved. A booming kick from Ben Holden bounced just outside the Shifnal box and as keeper and defender dithered, Dorgan had the simple chance of running between the pair and sweeping the ball home for the opener. Dorgan was getting through a tremendous amount of chasing and harrying of Shifnal’s defence, and one such chasing of lost causes on 32 minutes forced a loose pass to Sudlow, who saw his effort, and then Dorgan’s follow up, well blocked. The ball eventually ran for a Hemmings corner, which saw Rickus head the ball back across goal for Sudlow to strike first time. His effort whistled a yard over. Shifnal almost had a chance to level when Holden rushed out to clear a long ball through the middle, it ricocheted off the oncoming striker and flew five yards wide of goal. Eight minutes before the break and Ben Gutteridge had Shifnal’s first effort on goal but it flew to the right of the goal and away from any danger.
HT: SHIFNAL TOWN 0-1 WILLENHALL TOWN
If The Lockmen wanted to endure a comfortable afternoon, they would have recognised the importance of an early goal after the break, and that’s exactly what they got. Rickus shot at goal from just outside the box, forcing Kriskinans into a good low save which he then blotted the good work for fumbling the ball and knocking it over the line for a corner. From Hemmings’ corner, Tom Turner rose highest to head home from eight yards. Shifnal won a corner on 52 minutes which was cleared before they halved the deficit with a truly stunning goal on 63 minutes. There appeared no danger when a long pass from right to left dropped over the shoulder of Brody Milligan 25 yards out. As the ball dropped over his shoulder he simply volleyed it first time left footed and it absolutely rocketed into Holden’s top left corner. Two minutes later and the two-goal cushion was restored. Kriskinans did well to save a fierce effort from Hemmings, only for him to deflect the ball at Dorgan’s chest and watch in horror as it bounced off the emergency striker and into the back of the net. The Lockmen introduced Tony Clift, now well on the road to full fitness, for Steve Nurse, who had started his first full game. Immediately Clift was in action, picking out Hemmings on his outside on the right flank, his cross into the danger zone however, flew over the bar. Kingsley Burrows-Fields, again having a solid game at the back then sent Clift scampering clear with a wonderfully weighted cross-field ball. His first time cross was well defended at the expense of a corner. With fifteen minutes remaining, Holden was finally forced into a save, low down, to keep the scoreline to 3-1. Callum Foster, who had also now left the bench then set up Clift a minute later with a little ball into his feet on the edge of the box. Clift turned and spun brilliantly to create the space to fire off a crisp effort which grazed the post. The Lockmen then headed a 78th minute Shifnal flag-kick clear, only to see a first time return effort blocked at the expense of another one. This time it was cleared and from the break, Clift set up Sudlow for a shooting chance which went straight into the keeper’s arms. With eight minutes left on the clock, Foster then fed Dorgan who clipped a clever little cross into the box that was just too high. Dorgan thought he had claimed the match-ball on 84 minutes when he bundled another lovely cross into the net, only to be denied by the assistant’s flag. He then had another ‘goal’ chalked off when he chased the keeper who was trying to dribble a hasty back-pass out of the box. Dorgan got to, tackled fairly to win the ball and rolled home, only for the referee to take offence at tackling the keeper when he had merely proved stronger and more determined to win the ball.
If The Lockmen had conceded a possible goal of the season earlier, a couple of minutes into stoppage-time, Foster produced his own contender. He past four players on the edge of the box as if they weren’t there, turned inside a couple more defenders inside the box with clever footwork, before sitting the keeper on his backside with an outrageous dummy before rolling into the unguarded net for a goal worth the admission price on its own.
All in all, an excellent day for The Lockmen, one when everything went to plan on the field of play.
FT: SHIFNAL TOWN 1-4 WILLENHALL TOWN
WTFC MoM: Matt Dorgan
WILLENHALL TOWN FC LINE-UP:-
1. Ben Holden,
2. Andre Calder,
3. Kingsley Burrows-Fields (off 89min),
4. Tom Turner,
5. Paul Holden (capt),
6. Matt Dove,
7. Danny Hemmings,
8. Craig Sudlow,
9. Matt Dorgan,
10. Steve Nurse (off 64min),
11. Harry Rickus (off 74min).
12. Tony Clift (on 64min),
14. Callum Foster (on 74min),
15. Simon Laidley (on 89min),
17. James Fryer.(GK)
By Chris Burton – Match Secretary
Reproduction by prior-consent of The Lockmen Limited t/a Willenhall Town FC only