Apologies to Amblecote,, I received this report on Wednesday but have not had time until today to place it on the web-site. Neil Kovacs
Amblecote’s dismal recent run of form sank to a new low on Saturday with a 6-1 away defeat at Zion Athletic at a dreary Huntingtree Park in Halesowen. With further absentees, the side was yet again unable to field a full strength team or a strong bench, and too many of those that did take to the field had an uncharacteristic ‘off’ day. The away side were well in the game in the opening 15 minutes, and arguably shaded the early exchanges. However, when Zion opened the scoring, the team appeared to instantly deflate and at half time found themselves 3-0 down and staring down the barrel. Lack of confidence and cohesion was worryingly evident, and defensively there were too many holes for Zion to exploit. Several times there were unchallenged runs that almost resulted in goals, meaning the damage could have been even worse by half time. The first half had not been without its niggles though, and too many challenges from behind went unpunished by the referee making it difficult for the forwards to hold the ball up. Reluctance to produce either free kicks or cards meant that the second half was bound to follow the same pattern.
Amblecote started slightly brighter at the beginning of the second half, and Crook did manage to spark some life into the team with a firm shot that squeezed in at the near post from a very tight angle. But more ruthless finishing from Zion quoshed any hopes of a comeback and instead heaped more misery on an Amblecote side that were second best throughout the half and rarely looked like adding to their response. Devonport and Naylor were on form; the latter completing his hat-trick with less than 5 minutes to go with a thumping strike from 20 yards that crashed in off the underside of the bar. The final whistle couldn’t come quickly enough for the away side, whose performance had easily been their worst of the season. The result meant the team has now shipped 18 goals in the last four matches, and finds itself in serious trouble in the league. A dramatic turn-around is needed in the pre-Christmas period if they are to avoid a repeat of their relegation battle of the 2011/12 season.