FULL MATCH REPORT
A side shorn of several regulars did especially well at title-chasing Malvern Town, and really deserved more than their solitary point. On a shockingly poor pitch it was the home side that showed first, a cross in the first minute resulted in a free header for Matt Turner which drifted wide of the mark. On three minutes The Lockmen broke down the wing through Mikey Clark, unfortunately, his cross was an easy take for Malvern keeper Charles Weaver. Home dangerman and skipper Lee Hooper was played through on goal five minutes later but his effort was high over. The deadlock was unexpectedly broken on ten minutes, and what a goal it was! There seemed little danger when Matt Dove swung a ball from centre-midfield out towards Clark on the right wing, thirty yards out. As the ball dropped over his shoulder, it bounced perfectly on a very muddy pitch and stood up to allow the young winger to launch a ferocious shot which swerved and dipped perfectly to fly into the far top corner of the goal. Hooper fired wide a minute later from a free-kick before Matt Turner broke through on 13 minutes his effort was blocked for a corner. The resulting flag-kick was punched for another corner from Sam Rathbone and it almost resulted in the home side levelling, Turner saw his initial effort blocked on the line and it bounced back to him. This time he set up his skipper Hooper who fired his effort inches wide. Harry Rickus then broke through in the inside left channel and got to the goal-line where his quick feet allowed him to turn inside and then out and away from two defenders before his fierce low effort hit the side-netting on 16 minutes. Three minutes later Dove fired high over as the visitors sought to increase their lead. After 27 minutes Ben Hames and Reece King combined well to break upfield and free Turner, his shot was cleared by Andre Calder for a corner. Rathbone took and Calder cleared his lines before the Malvern player crossed again, Reds skipper Paul Holden cleared for another Rathbone corner. When this came in Ben Hayes headed over. Danny Hemmings then broke on the right wing and he fed Matt Dorgan who won a corner for his troubles. In the final minute of the first half the ball was played up the left and Rathbone ran to the byline, crossed the ball to Hayes whose shot was saved by Ben Holden with his legs. In stoppage-time Phil Harris ran from the half way line into the box but the ball bobbled as he shot and it flew harmlessly high and wide.
HT MALVERN TOWN 0-1 WILLENHALL TOWN
Superb play by Clark on 48 minutes saw him fly down the left before setting up Paul Holden who brought a fantastic block from Weaver, diverting the ball for a corner. When Eddie Wilson played the ball in Dorgan saw his effort strike the bar before it was scrambled clear. On 54 minutes Rathbone and Harry Wickett combined well to set up Hooper who saw his effort cleared off the line. King then fired high over on 57 minutes as the home side enjoyed a good spell of pressure. The Lockmen thought they had scored again on 64 minutes when a Dorgan header appeared to be cleared onto the bar from behind the line by Wickett, however, no goal was signalled. The Reds were then punished two minutes later by a wonder goal from the home team. Wickett saw a cross drop perfectly for him 30 yards from goal and swung his foot, he connected perfectly and the ball simply flew into the roof of the net. Hayes then fizzed an effort across the goal and just beyond the far post on 71 minutes after the first effort had been blocked by The Lockmen’s keeper and a second effort blocked by the defence. Weaver almost dropped Dove’s 74th minute cross, grasping the ball before it ran loose before he handled Clark’s cross three minutes later by plucking out of the air. Malvern sub Dave Reynolds guided a free header wide on 80 minutes before Willenhall sub Callum Foster skinned two Malvern defenders with ease, only to cross behind his team-mates, allowing an easy clearance with five minutes remaining. A minute later and another quick break saw Dorgan find Foster, this time his cross was just behind Daniel Jarret and the loose ball was cleared for a corner. The home side had their own flag-kick on 89 minutes which was played in deep, Holden managed to punch it for another corner under pressure from the home attack. The Reds had one last break in stoppage-time but the move broke down and both sides had to settle for a point.
FT MALVERN TOWN 1-1 WILLENHALL TOWN
By Chris Burton – Match Secretary
Reproduction by prior-consent of The Lockmen Limited t/a Willenhall Town FC only