We dedicate this performance to Nathan Hylton today who was missing due to a family bereavement. It was another very pleasing team performance this morning from us against a Zion significantly weaker than three weeks ago. Nevertheless, they still have good players and Leon Naylor was again a constant threat though we managed to restrict him to long range efforts, though Lee had to make a couple of saves and watched one onto the post! He got a knock late on after a late but certainly not malicious challenge from Lee Inett, who received only our (and sadly his) second booking of the season: I hope this is not serious with a Cup Final next week: we wish him well. The sending off made no real difference to the game coming ten minutes from time though a cameo from Shawn on his way to scoring a couple for Dudley Town this afternoon, cost us our clean sheet from a well-placed free kick.
Thankfully by then we were three nil up and it might have been more. Everybody played well today. We were solid at the back, fluent in midfield and industrious up front and while Zion made a fist of it I feel their thoughts were elsewhere and that gave us opportunities to play. Ben Fowler in particular was outstanding, rampaging all over the pitch, scoring two and making the other. The assist was the first and the best following a slick piece of football that saw Leon play in Ben and then Ben to cross for Matty Jones to power in a diving header. It was enough up the hill to give us a 1-0 half time lead.
Second half we got off to an ideal start and Zion lost a little momentum. They failed to clear a ball early doors and Ben picked his way through to slot home. Then when their otherwise excellent keeper spilled Leon’s shot, Ben followed in for his second. We were then incredibly profligate: too many poor decisions (usually to shoot) when we might have added to our tally! One moment of skill to savour though when our Welsh Wizard Matt Jones executed a perfect overhead kick from a bouncing ball and Zion’s keeper completed the picture with a terrific save: there were echoes of Ivor Allchurch for the older reader! Good luck to Zion in the cup next week!