The Lockmen produced a real Jeckyll & Hyde performance on a night when nothing appeared to go right for them.
With one sub unable to make the game due to traffic and two starters having to be changed to substitutes, again due to traffic, a much-changed side started away to third placed Droitwich Spa. The home side, sharing at Stourport Swifts, started brightly, moving the ball quickly and fluently, and their first threat culminated with James Lemon firing high and wide on three minutes. Three minutes later and Haydn Mullins attacked down the left wing but his cross was deflected to Chris Adamson in the visitor’s goal. The Lockmen survived an almighty scramble on ten minutes when Lemon hit the inside of a post, the follow-up effort was blocked on the line before a third attempt flew inches wide of the same post. On twelve minutes a corner was forced behind for a second attempt, again it was smuggled behind before from the third flag-kick, Connor Fellows blocked one shot from a Lemon shot after it was taken short on thirteen minutes. The pressure kept coming from Spa and on the quarter-hour Adamson made a good low save from a header. The Lockmen were under extreme pressure as they seemed unable to clear their lines fully and unable to cope with the movement around them. However, on twenty minutes some fine pressing from Mark Webster forced the home defence from the half-way line back to the keeper, whereby Liam Hickman chased hard, blocked the clearance, but couldn’t get enough behind his shot and home keeper Matt Oliver managed to block the attempt. Finally, on 22 minutes, the dam burst. Another passage of quick passing around chasing Willenhall players on the right flank saw Brad Burgess released and his cross in saw Jack Davies head home. Two minutes later the same player fired wide after another pass and move created space for the winger to cross. Home skipper Matt Seeley then headed at Adamson on 26 minutes before Droitwich extended their lead on 29 minutes. The Lockmen failed to react to a quick throw-in, allowed a simple cross, and although Adamson did brilliantly to save the initial attempt, the defence failed to react and Mullins had a simple tap in from the follow-up. With seven minutes to the break, Dilpreet Singh did brilliantly to flick on a forward ball for Hickman to latch onto, only to be crowded out inside the box. On forty minutes another shot was deflected wide for the home side before Adamson produced another excellent save on 42 minutes, only to see Lemon pounce on the loose ball and tuck home. A minute into stoppage-time and what appeared to be the first decision for the visitors in a dangerous area saw a free-kick fired at Oliver
HT DROITWICH SPA 3-0 WILLENHALL TOWN
With reinforcements arriving at half-time to at least allow substitutions, a rejuvenated Willenhall came out of the sheds for the second-half. With eight minutes of the second-half gone Rich Wharton won a crunching tackle in midfield before bouncing up and threading a pass out to the right for Singh to run onto, he hit a ferocious drive across goal which appeared to be heading for the far top corner until Oliver did well to get a hand to it and push it wide. From the corner, taken short, Louis Leach produced an inviting curler towards the far post where Hickman couldn’t quite stretch far enough to connect. Singh then produced a fine block at the other end on 55 minutes before Curtis Townley shot wide two minutes later. Oliver then claimed a flag-kick under pressure at the other end as a much improved display saw the visitors battling hard. Oliver then had to punch a dangerous free-kick clear on the hour before a Webster saw his effort blocked. The Lockmen fight continued as a determined run from half-way by Connor Fellows saw his effort deflected for another corner. Spa then saw a free-kick from on the flank headed wide as nobody watched a runner into the six-yard box before home substitution Dan Cottrill hammered high and wide on 72 minutes. However, his next effort six minutes later took a huge deflection and completely wrong-footed Adamson and his underworked defence for an undeserved fourth. Matt Bayliss, on for an injured Singh, did well to battle down the right before cutting inside and launching an effort that was just beyond the far post. The home side had a couple of efforts from outside the box and a corner on 89 minutes, but despite a much improved second-half, The Lockmen were comfortably beaten.