FULL MATCH REPORT
A battling performance from The Lockmen ultimately went unrewarded against Sporting Khalsa. Mikey Clark got the ball rolling with his effort on two minutes as the home side started brightly. Paul Holden dealt with the first Khalsa threat, heading clear a fourth minute free-kick. Clark attacked again in the sixth minute, breaking down the right hand side only to lob wide. The visitors were ahead however after eight minutes when Nicky Campbell was played into the penalty area after a swift move down their right flank. The former Willenhall favourite finished well under the body of Ben Holden. Willenhall attacked on ten minutes and Damien Charie was unlucky to guide his header from Tom Turner‘s free-kick narrowly the wrong side of the post. Khalsa were already trying to slow down the game down and an absorbing but chanceless period ensued until Khalsa pumped a free-kick midway through the half into The Lockmen’s penalty area. The ball found Marvin Nisbet unmarked, but he could only fire too close to Holden, who did well to divert his effort around a post. Willenhall had a half chance on 29 minutes only to see Graham Ashton heading high over from a free-kick from the right fired beyond the far post. Danny Hemmings then threaded a pass through the Khalsa defence only to see keeper James Pemberton dash off his line to gather.
HT WILLENHALL TOWN 0-1 SPORTING KHALSA
The first action after the break saw Craig Bannister head a 48th minute corner at Holden when unmarked, Holden did well to block. The Lockmen’s next attack was turned on its head as Charie dribbled almost from box to box, only to be dispossessed at the crucial moment. A quick ball down the Khalsa right found Nicky Campbell who crossed beyond the far post where Nisbett had positioned himself perfectly and his effort with the outside of his right boot arced beyond the reach of Holden on 52 minutes. A minute shy of the hour mark and Holden made a superb save to deny Campbell a third Khalsa goal. The Reds made all three substitutes and two of these, Simon Laidley and then Steve Nurse had the next two chances for The Lockmen. Firstly Laidley was eased off the ball following a cross from the right to the far post on 69 minutes before Nurse burst clear of the visitor’s defence, rounded the keeper only to slip as he shaped to shoot six minutes later. The Lockmen finally got their deserved goal with ten minutes left when Hemmings flighted a corner from their right to Ashton on the back stick, his header was well blocked only for sub Laidley to bundle the ball home after a scramble. With two minutes left Kingsley Burrows-Fields did well to clear Campbell’s shot off the line after the livewire striker had been played in by a short pass from a disputed free-kick. The game ended in controversy when another former Red, Andrew Dicken went in with a nasty late challenge on Laidley and rightly saw red. Laidley followed for an alleged head-butt in reply when the only action anybody could see in the crowd came from a shocking piece of play-acting to ensure Willenhall’s goalscorer was also dismissed.
FT WILLENHALL TOWN 1-2 SPORTING KHALSA