Amblecote succumbed to a 5-3 defeat against perennial league favourites Clarendon on an overcast morning at Brown Westhead Park. However, the scoreline barely tells the tale of the game; the home side having led 3-1 at half time, before conspiring to undo all their hard work of the first half by effectively going down 4-0 in the second.
Amblecote starting brightly enough, with Poultney converting a penalty awarded when Tyler was clumsily bundled over by the goalkeeper. Though Carendon found an equaliser through their talismanic striker Morris, Amblecote re-established the lead through Crook’s low finish and extended it barely minutes later via Doman’s second-attempt finish. Some chances fell at the other end; one handed away freely by the otherwise immaculate Beech in the Amblecote goal: the lobbed finish dropped wide when it seemed more likely to drop in.
The home side have struggled for a settled defence all season, and gaps began emerging in the second half, not helped by sloppy concession of possession in their opponents’ half. Several times passes went astray, and Clarendon were not in a forgiving mood up front – Morris once again proving the difference between the two sides. Finishing was clinical throughout, punishing every mistake made by the wilting home team. Luck played its part too – the equaliser was an unfortunate own goal. The home side thought there were possibly 2 fouls before Clarendon scored their fifth with the match officials having a different opinion. In truth though, Amblecote rarely threatened the Clarendon goal in the second half and it was their inability to defend a two-goal lead that was their undoing. Overall, a desperately disappointing finish to a game that had promised so much for Amblecote; and a warning that the list of teams above them in the table is far outnumbering that of those below. With title-challenging aspirations having all but disappeared, it is evidently the bottom end of the table that is of immediate concern.