Bloxwich Rangers 3:4 Stonnall Phoenix
This game at Willenhall Memorial Park was the teams’ first league game of the season and it was the visitors who won a pulsating match in the last minute.
The first 25 mins was cagey, played mostly in Bloxwich’s half and gave few chances with defences on top. Stonnall looked dangerous forcing a number of corners, but couldn’t find the breakthrough.
Then, out of nowhere, four goals were shared over the next five minutes. Firstly, a Bloxwich striker squeezed a shot inside the post for the lead. Three minutes later, though, Charlie sent an arial free kick into the net for an immediate equaliser and then got on the end of a superb ball out of defence by Captain Dylan, lobbing the onrushing keeper for 1:2. Stonnall couldn’t hold on to the lead, however, and conceded the equaliser in the 30th minute.
It had been an exciting end to the half puncuated with offsides and free kicks and the visitors would have been the more disappointed to be drawing at half time.
Phoenix continued to show more quality in the second half and took the lead once more when Charlie, constantly causing the home side problems with his driving runs, took a pass from Louis and although he was being challenged, got the ball out from his feet to rifle it into the bottom corner for 2:3.
With the lead, Stonnall looked to make the game safe and although Charlie had a couple of free kicks whistle over the bar from distance and Tom saw his shot hit a post after a good run, the home side also enjoyed their best period of the game. A spectacular save from Alfie, goal line clearances and last ditch tackles kept the lead intact until Bloxwich were given a penalty with five minutes left from which they scored to equalise 3:3.
It looked like two points dropped for Phoenix but whilst some Bloxwich players lost their discipline, the Stonnall lads kept calm and were rewarded when Charlie’s mazy right wing run was ended unfairly in the area. The hat trick hero himself stepped up and scored from the spot in injury time to seal a hard fought win.
Stonnall Phoenix played without any available substitutes and with the phrenetic nature of the game, all the lads gave their all in effort and concentration in the face of difficult opposition and came out deserved winners.
Report by Pete H.
Message from the Manager
First league game won!
A huge pat on the back for all the players for this game.
You worked tirelessly against a physical and sometimes hostile team showing determination and character to battle through what will be one of if not the hardest games you’ll play this season.
After our discussion and training session on Saturday we pressed hard but could have done more to restrict play.
Although Bloxwich had several big strong players they didn’t have it all their own way with our hard working midfielders and defence battling had with them and breaking up play.
Alfie made several fantastic saves the last should have been captured on camera – what a save!
Clearly heard shouting at his defenders, maybe more instruction of a different kind now Alfie.
We’ll discuss at training.
Looked solid with Jack, who again was impressive alongside Dylan with Sedgy and Harry either side at RB & LB. Sedgy made some timely tackles by being in the correct position to start with and Harry at left back made several brave tackles, Harry it was good to see you scanning more whilst moving into a defensive position. A little more instruction to the left wing would help.
Worked hard with Charlie and Tom sat central with Ru and Zack playing RW & LW.
It was hard work in the middle against some robust lads but kudos to you lads for not giving up in what must have been very tiring.
Tom took a hard knock to the knee in what was definitely a booking which reduced him to tears but Tom being Tom he was soon back on and mixing it again.
Hard work against a couple of big lads who had some pace too.
Mac and not 100% fit Louie worked hard with a few slim chances in front of them, Louie you showed a lot more determination and more interest in the game, take confidence from this and build on it.
Mac made his endless runs just running out of steam to get his shot away.
Charlie to Striker – Mac to midfield.
Mac’s instruction was to feed Charlie from midfield and it worked.
Three strong runs and clinical finishes along with a late penalty gave Charlie the four goals to win 4-3.
Lads, if you show this determination, strength and character along with starting to play the football you can play, you should be worthy of something from the season.
With no subs no one could take a rest – that’s hard work in itsself.
It would be easy to award Charlie MOTM for his four goals, it would be easy to award it to Alfie for the saves he made to keep his team in the game, or to Tom for getting back on the pitch when injured, or maybe Harry for doing what I asked of him plus several brave tackles.
But with thought I think with no subs and a great team spirit you are all awarded MOTM.
Very well done lads – I hope you’re being pampered this afternoon!