Really good game of football today. I was really impressed with Wednesbury: a group of talented young footballers who have a good attitude about them and play an attractive style of football. We had been unsettled before the game by the loss of our keeper Lee Roberts who has played through considerable discomfort for most of the season (and his doctor has insisted he takes a break). We had no obvious replacement and full marks to Barber (Andrew Oram) for being prepared to put on the gloves. As it turned out our former player (and in the latter part of his career our goalkeeper) Alun Inett (one of the first ever Rowley eleven in 1991) arrived to watch and at 43 was pressed into service as a sub. Within 35 minutes he was back between the sticks and bawling his orders as if he had never been away!
The game started tentatively for us though and Wednesbury were very much on the front foot, cutting us open early doors and forcing Chris to clear off the line. The subsequent corner was poorly defended, allowing them to take the lead and their superiority continued while we struggled to get going. Luckily having spotted Barber was not a ‘real’ goalkeeper they did what most teams do (and what we did later) and decided to ‘take shots’ and thankfully were a little wayward. Meanwhile Barber was doing well, making one vital save with his legs and we were rising from our relative slumber. Somewhat against the run of play we got back into it when Sammy’s flick on put Ben Fowler in and he rounded the keeper and scored.
From this point on it was a properly competitive game and a relative first half goalfest. They came back and re-established their lead with a deflected drive but that only prompted us to greater effort. Matt Williams who was playing with a rib injury was once again the leader but Clive and Ben also set the tone in midfield and our forward play was fluent and dangerous. Christie got through masses of work and was rewarded with an equaliser when Ben’s shot was parried by their keeper. We’d also had one disallowed. When Josh got injured ten minutes before half time, Barber came out of goal and Alun made his return. We immediately had more solidity though an early task was to pick out Wednesbury’s third, a rasping drive by their excellent number ten. 3-2 after 40 minutes but 3-3 by half time as Ben Smith’s excellent dead ball delivery was met powerfully by Sammy’s head.
Second half we were much better and felt sure we could win it. Wednesbury played more on the break but were still both resolute and dangerous. We made progressive subs and both Haydon and the returning Brad Rogers did well today. Then with ten or so to go and us in the ascendency a collision with Christie (no malice involved) meant their keeper had to come off injured. We laid siege but were perhaps guilty also of rushing things though one of their defenders made a world class block to keep out Ben Fowler’s goal-bound shot.
Both sides deserved something so a draw seemed fair. Thumbs up to ref Craig Hodgetts and his assistants and to Jase and his team!