Wednesbury Baptist 3 Rowley College 3

27th February

Another cracking encounter with Wednesbury today, producing six goals with them looking significantly stronger than when they beat us at our place three weeks ago. On a decent pitch we were able to some extent to set the record straight over what happened earlier in the mud and rain. We were welcoming back Chris Staien our talented centre back and was good today. Though we equalised with pretty much the last kick, I don’t think anybody can argue that we didn’t deserve something from the game today. We had the better chances, though they have ‘nous’ in abundance and a competitive mentality which allied to their undoubted ability almost won the day.

The foundation of our game today was strong individual performances from our older heads, Matt Williams, Mark Southall and Christy McKenzie, allied with a strong team performance anchored and directed by my man-of-the-match Lee Inett, who pulled the strings for us. Wednesbury are also strong in midfield: their 11 was a class act today and the first half saw a real battle in there which they shaded, particularly in the first half hour. In this period Wednesbury appeared to have more desire and though Christy and Olly had decent chances, the Baptists forged a 2-0 lead, the second a thumping drive from Abbey and we were mightily relieved to see Pete Falconer screw a 1-on-1 wide! Instead we were able to finish the half strongly when after a period of sustained pressure (Mark had one cleared off the line), Ben Fowler atoned for last week’s misses by classily megging a defender on the edge of the box and then simply driving home.

We knew there was plenty in this for us and said so at half time but we had an early blow, losing the industrious Ben Smith to an ankle injury just after the break. This didn’t deter us though and we dominated second half possession and put pressure on without creating clear cut chances. The game then was ‘visited’ by one of those moments that has no level. A good cross from the right was met by the excellent McKenzie with a goal-bound header. For all the world it was going in but their keeper made a brilliant leap to push it onto the post and then just as miraculously managed to get up and block the follow in. We wondered if it was going to be our day.

In fact it was, then wasn’t , then was again. Our pressure told when Christy chased down their defender and won the ball and Olly met the cross to level the scores. This came just as I was planning to throw Sammy on as a second striker but I didn’t have to wait long as we seemed to be intent on throwing it away as Martin Woodhall ran half the length of the pitch to put them back in front. Sammy went on to lead the line across a frantic last fifteen during which we besieged their goal (but were still susceptible to their threat on the break. And just as I’d given up the ball was pulled back to Mark who capped off a fine performance with a vital goal. Best wishes to Jase and his lads!

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