FULL MATCH REPORT
With conditions and defensive mistakes conspiring against them, The Lockmen put in a fantastic shift to have title-chasing Shawbury rocking on their heels at times. With the high wind and driving rain behind them, the first action of the game saw the visitors take the lead. They were awarded a free-kick just outside the area in a central position and Tom Rogers stepped up to curl a delightful effort around the wall and into the top corner for a fifth minute lead. Shawbury then won a corner which saw Simon Laidley head behind under pressure. Taken by Dale Williams, this was again headed behind and the next was blocked on the line after a header, producing corner number five. Trying to clear the Willenhall lines was proving extremely difficult, and yet another flag-kick was cleared after ten minutes, only for the referee to then award a free-kick out on the right, which was taken by Jordi Kennerdy. This time The Lockmen were able to break upfield and they won a free-kick of their own when Harry Rickus was blocked in full flight. The kick was well struck but deflected off a defender and looped easily to Graeme Hampton in the visitor’s goal. After 13 minutes Willenhall had their first serious attempt when Mikey Clark was played in on goal, Hampton did well to block his low effort with his foot. Rickus then fired in a strong effort but again Hampton saved again and a defender beat Matt Dorgan in the race to clear the ball. A centre from the right saw dangerman Robbie Millington left in acres of space just outside the six yard area and he had time aplenty to guide a header right into Ben Holden’s far left hand corner for a second goal on 25 minutes. Graham Ashton then cleared off the line as Ben Holden couldn’t cling onto the greasy ball from a swirling cross. With nine minutes to go to the break Eddie Wilson drove in a superb shot from outside the area, only to see it too just clear the bar. Wilson won another free-kick four minutes later out on the left but this time his strike was fumbled away by the Shawbury keeper and hastily cleared. Willenhall suffered a defensive calamity four minutes from half-time when Holden made a sprawling save to deny United a third goal, Ashton picked up the loose ball and attempted to dribble out of the six yard box, only to be robbed of possession. In the ensuing melee Robbie Millington appeared to get the last touch to somehow bundle the ball home.
HT WILLENHALL TOWN 0-3 SHAWBURY UNITED
In the first action of the second half a booming goal-kick from Holden was chased down by the tenacious Rickus. He shook off a defender and fired at goal, only to see the ball deflected over for a corner which was then sliced clear. Matt Dove then steered a shot at Hampton in the 52nd minute before Jake Jones cleared off the goal-line for the visitors three minutes further on. The lockmen kept up the pressure on 56 minutes when Clark’s first time strike was just wide of the mark. Dorgan was replaced by Steven Nurse after an hour and sixty seconds later The Reds had reduced the deficit. A shot was cleared partially from in front of goal, it dropped perfectly for emergency centre-half Laidley on the edge of the area and his striker’s instinct came to the fore as he thumped a first time effort back into the top corner. Town then saw a 73rd minute free-kick cleared under pressure as the high-flyers from Shropshire found themselves pinned back for long spells before another corner was returned to Wilson, only to see his cross drift over the bar. Wilson then saw a cross-shot deflected to the overworked Hampton before Danny Hemmings saw a trademark rocket from a run down the right fly inches over from a tight angle in stoppage-time. For all their fighting qualities, The Lockmen saw no reward as mistakes cost them the chance of a deserved point.
FT WILLENHALL TOWN 1-3 SHAWBURY UNIUTED
By Chris Burton – Match Secretary
Reproduction by prior-consent of The Lockmen Limited t/a Willenhall Town FC only