Another good performance from us and finally we came away with something for our troubles against a very good Wednesbury side. We were missing our two young forwards and they were down to a bare eleven but there was plenty of quality on show. What Wednesbury have is a number of ‘proper’ footballers including two quality players in centre mid and a pair of top strikers including Craig Abbey whom I consider one of the best players in our league. Having said that we really gave them something to think about in the opening 25 minutes, dominating the game, forcing a series of corners with Bradley stinging the keeper’s hands a couple of times and plenty of attacking intent. The back four led by Matt and Chris were dealing well with the considerable challenge with Kev in front of them once again proving his worth. Brad and Clive were busy offering support to the classy Christie while Ben and Mark had the better of it in the middle.
I was about to report in to Mike (away watching his daughter play) to say how well we were doing when another of their quality players, and an all round good lad, Martin Woodall proved our undoing as he has so many times. Mart may not be as sleek as he once was but he still has his ability and a turn of pace and he ran half the pitch to play in Craig for a smart finish from pretty much their first attack. Having played well last week as well and conceded this shook us a little and it took us a while to settle back into it even as they began to assert control. However as we ‘surfaced’ again so they did us again in the same manner: Mart evaded Matty Stanton’s last ditch tackle and fired a shot which Lee saved brilliantly only for Craig to follow in. 0-2 was a poor return for what we’d contributed and Mark was urging all of the lads to take individual responsibility in order to claim what our work had demanded. He embodied this in the second half and was my man-of-the–match today.
Wednesbury though were better from the restart and might have blown us away in the early part of the half had it not been for a resolute defensive performance and a series of good saves from Lee (one low down pretty much on the line stood out). Today though we had options from the bench and I think this was vital. With half an hour to go we switched to 3-5-2 with young Haydon Richards coming on to ‘maraud’ off Christie up top. He had an immediate impact unsettling their back lads and the momentum of the game changed particularly as Mark was getting on the ball more now in midfield. We applied pressure and then got a goal back with a smart finish from Christie and should have been level when the same player unselfishly teed Haydon up for a Ronnie Rosenthal (google it)/ Fernando Torres style open goal miss. We needn’t have worried because shortly afterwards Christie was brought down and scored a penalty. Cue end to end pursuit of a winner by both sides and Lee making a final brilliant save from their low drive and us flashing crosses across the box. Tess and Josh also featured with distinction and the result seemed about right. All the best to the Wednesbury lads for a decent game of football and to Mo and his assistants.