AFC Willenhall 2:1 Stonnall Phoenix
The first match of the 2nd half League was won by the home side but only after Stonnall Phoenix had threatened a second half comeback.
Unlike recent games, Phoenix couldn’t quite grasp the initiative in the first half and although possession was shared, Willenhall went ahead with a header from a corner in the 13th minute and added to the lead six mins later when a cross from the left was met with a shot into the roof of the net.
Phoenix hadn’t played badly enough to be 2:0 down but had not shown their characteristic dominant possession and pressing game. Charlie was driving his team forward but was being closed down very quickly by two or three opposing players. Willenhall had obviously learned from the previous game when Stonnall’s Captain had scored a hat trick to win the game.
On a positive note, Benno and Mac held the ball up well and Jack and Roo showed quality and composure in possession but the lads couldn’t find the incisiveness needed to get back into the game and it remained 2:0 at halftime.
A change at the back with Zac coming on at left back and Harry moving to centre back alongside Dylan made the visitors look more solid at the back and allowed the full backs to push forward more. It seemed to work as Phoenix now enjoyed more possession and the team as a whole looked busier and more threatening. Chances started to come and from a Roo corner, Louis struck a strong shot which went in via a deflection for his third goal of an improving season and gave Stonnall a chance in the game at 2:1 after 54 mins.
Apart from a couple of forays into the visitors half, the second half seemed to be swinging in Stonnall’s favour. DJ was well placed a couple of times after strong runs and Mac had a shot go agonisingly wide of the post. The stand out moment of this period, though, was when Charlie had a superb long distance free kick tipped round the post by the excellent goalkeeper. Phoenix couldn’t find the equaliser and the game finished 2:1 in favour of AFC Willenhall.
The second half display was much better and Stonnall Phoenix will look forward to the return match and hope to have a few training sessions to add that bit of spark and ingenuity that wins games.
Report by Pete H.