The Lockmen put in a good performance, but were no match for big spending Lichfield City, a side looking to win promotion from step 6.
Deerome Cummins fired a first minute free-kick into the area, however, City keeper and captain Adam Jenkins claimed. The home side made a brilliant start by taking a third minute lead. A corner flew across the box and Lewis Taylor-Boyce was waiting at the far post to sweep home. Another corner on five minutes followed before Lichfield doubled their lead two minutes later when ex Walsall player Harry Harris netted after he was played clean through. Cummins saw his effort on nine minutes blocked at the expense of a corner before the keeper punched a free-kick clear on eleven minutes. The Lockmen won a corner on fourteen minutes when Damian Wood made a strong run down the right-hand side, Jenkins flapped clear. Lichfield then broke themselves and won a corner themselves a minute later. Brad Ralston was next to threaten for the hosts when clever play down the right wing saw his cross deflected back to Shearer. The Lockmen keeper then did well to block a shot from the same player at the expense of another flag-kick on eighteen minutes. The game entered a lull as the visitors finally appeared to get to grips with a skillful home side but on 31 minutes, City got a third goal. They were awarded a free-kick near to the goal-line wide of the penalty area and Taylor-Boyce hammered in a fierce shot which beat Shearer on his near post as the defence clearly expected a cross. Nathan Griffiths then fired in a thirty yard free-kick on 36 minutes, however, it was straight to Jenkins. With seven minutes left to play The Lockmen grabbed a goal back. Adonijah Allen won a flick on thirty yards out and Wood pounced on the loose ball, his first effort was well saved by Jenkins, but the second flew into the far corner. Drew Aiton fired just over from a corner on 40 minutes as the home side kept pressing. Griffiths did brilliantly from A Tom Lawton cross to beat his marker and fire in to force a smart stop. Louis Leach then blasted towards the far top corner, bringing a brilliant flying save from Jenkins.
HT LICHFIELD CITY 3-1 WILLENHALL TOWN
If the visitors wanted to get back into the game it was important that they made a flying start after the break, unfortunately, Matt Bayliss stuck out a hand towards the ball seconds after the restart, conceding a penalty. Aiton confidently neting City’s fourth goal. On 51 minutes, a Shearer save gave Lichfield a corner, Cummins did well under pressure to clear. Ralston then forced another stop from Shearer on 55 minutes. Willenhall were still attacking when they were able to, Allen doing well to lob Jenkins but a defender got back to hack clear from the line. Harris missed an open goal at the other end as Shearer somehow blocked from point blank range two minutes later and seconds after that, Shearer saved to trigger a small flurry of further flag-kicks. With 67 minutes played, Lichfield scored a spectacular fifth when Jordan Evans hit an absolute screamer, swerving away from the despairing dive of Shearer who could only help the ball in. A minute later and Taylor-Boyce grabbed his hat-trick from a cross when he escaped his marker. Wood drove wide on 74 minutes for Willenhall and Evans hit another brilliant curling shot on 83 minutes, this time it curled towards Shearer and he brilliantly pushed the ball around the post. Richard Wharton headed straight to Jenkins from ten yards after a corner on 84 minutes as they still played with a positive mind-set before Shearer did well to block a shot at the other end, Gurpreet Singh clearing the loose ball. Tom Lawton then broke and cut inside, only to lob onto the roof of the net with two minutes remaining in the last action of the night.