By Andy Wilcoxson
We travelled to Saltley today with confidence after earning a well-deserved draw at home against league leaders Chawn Hill last weekend. We started the game well against second placed Connect Sports but I was forced into an early change after losing Brad Tiernan to a hamstring injury on 12 minutes after he made a magnificent goal stopping goal line block, he was replaced by the versatile James Wood.
A minute later Charlemont took the lead from an own goal which looped over the Connect keeper, 1-0. Connect applied a lot of pressure, dominating in midfield at times, and were a constant threat with their pace up front, but with poor finishing and good defending the game remained 1-0. On 33 minutes a Connect defence splitting pass, resulted in their player rounding the on rushing Allan Wilde to slot home the equaliser, an excellent finish.
The second half continued very much like the first half with both teams having a go and trying to adapt to the slippery surface (by the way well done Willis for getting the pitch in a condition to play on). On 60 minutes, Haydn Ellis slotted home, his first for the club from close range, assisted by James Grinsted to make it 2-1. Gary Lunt replaced Danny Wood and Lewis Cox replaced Stuart Smith on 65 and 70 minutes respectively, to freshen the team with tiring legs evident on an energy sapping pitch.
Gary Lunt executed an exquisite chip to score his first goal for the club on 81 minutes after delightfully lifting the ball over the Connect keeper, 3-1. We never make life easy for ourselves and on 83 minutes, Rory Taylor tripped the Connect player in the box which resulted in a penalty kick, which was slotted home by sending the Star keeper the wrong way, 3-2. Just as I was thinking backs to the wall for the last 7 minutes, a sublime pass on 84 minutes by James Wood down the left hand side saw a left free Jamie Holder loft a ball over the Connect keeper to kill the game 4-2.
Congratulations to Star defender Josh Chell who had a great game at centre back today. Next weekend we entertain Wollaston Free Athletic.