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Match Report – Aug 11th (Friendly)

Sutton Town  5:1   Stonnall Phoenix

Jack

This friendly against a Central Warks League team was evenly poised at half time but the home side were stronger in the second half.

The first match in the build up to the new season saw Bruce take charge of the team for the first time and favoured a 3:4:3 formation which proved to be positive and attacking.

Missing three key players due to holidays, some lads were trying new positions (not least Ennis in goal!) as well as the new formation and two trialists, Nico and Dillan, who were playing in the team for the first time.

In an exciting start to the game, Sutton pressed forward but Stonnall were first to score, Jack heading a far post Liam corner low into the net for 0:1 after just 4 mins. The lead was short lived though as Sutton replied two minutes later to equalise.

The game then took on a settled period where either side could have scored. Jack found space on the right of the box and fired in a powerful shot which saw the keeper pull of a good save and Ennis made a great double save to keep the score 1:1 at the break.

Captain Ben and the lads are being encouraged this season to have a say in decision making on and off the pitch and several lads contributed to the half time discussion.

Six minutes into the second half Sutton Town scored to take the lead and then scored another two to effectively secure the win as Phoenix tired but the lads continued to play some attractive football. There were good link ups involving Ben and Jack, whilst Dillan, the centre of three at the back, won everything in the air throughout the game.

The Stonnall lads gave everything and had to finish the game short handed as firstly Liam and then Jack came off injured. Sutton added a fifth in the 74th minute to complete a 5:1  victory.

A number of positives can be taken from the performance: Firstly, the attacking formation was exciting to watch, kept the game flowing and will carry a greater goal threat this season; the lads all excelled in new positions which gives greater flexibility; and finally, although the team were second best and were tired by the end, they looked like they enjoyed the experience. This positivity can be carried forward to the next match.

Man of the Match

The whole team can be proud of a gutsy performance, full of energy and endeavour. Commendations should go to Ennis, deputising in goal, Nico and Dillan who looked very assured in their trial game and to Jack who carried a threat all game and who will benefit from his more advanced role.

Bruce has award MOTM to Dillan S. for his towering performance in central defence. Tough tackling and powerful heading. Well done Dillan.

Report by Pete H.
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Apr 7th

Stonnall Phoenix   1:7   Wyrley Juniors Vipers

Ben

The last competitive game this season was evenly balanced for an hour before Wyrley finished the stronger to cement fifth place in Division 1.

A tight first half was annotated by a number of free kicks for the home side which provided Ennis with a number of dangerous positions from which to launch searching dead ball deliveries. His obdurate midfield play and growing strength on the ball has been a real plus point this season.

Good play on the right allowed Tyreece a couple of shots on goal and Wyrley had opportunities which were well dealt with by the Stonnall defence. They did, however, gain the lead in the 12th minute and despite further openings, the score remained 0:1 at halftime.

Both sides improved in the second half but Phoenix were finding it difficult to get out of their half. Any possession was being pressed effectively by Vipers and an own goal gave them a 0:2 lead two minutes into the second half. Stonnall fought back well though and following good work by Tom down the left wing, Ben fought well to get the chance to score from a tight angle for his sixth goal of the season and make it 1:2 in the 49th minute. It was well deserved by the home side and they continued to enjoy a good period in which their attractive football provided a chance for Tom whose powerful header just cleared the bar from a corner and both Ennis and the industrious Zak found space to shoot from distance.

This finely balanced period was brought to an end when Vipers scored three quick goals to put the game beyond the reach of Phoenix. Despite the disappointment of being overrun, the lads continued their endeavours and a good run by Harry into the area could have resulted in a penalty.

Wyrley Vipers are a strong side and any little mistake by Stonnall was punished by the visitors and two late goals made the final score 1:7.

Stonnall Phoenix finish the season in seventh place in Div 1. A creditable result after a difficult start. With the retention of the current squad and the addition of new recruits to improve the team, next season will be a new and exciting challenge for the incoming manager, Bruce.

Being Wayne’s last match in charge of the team and after five seasons on the coaching staff, players and parents thanked him for his involvement in the club and his development of the lads into accomplished footballers and young men.

Report by Pete H.

Man of the Match

A mention should go to Zak whose control and forward thinking shows his improvement and maturity as a player.

Wayne has awarded MOTM this week to Liam. He is always in the right place as a defender and has good vision as a midfielder. Despite the defeat, his quality shone through as he provided the fulcrum of the team. Well done Liam.

Mar 24th – Friendly

Wolverhampton Hammers   3:0   Stonnall Phoenix

Wolverhampton overcame Stonnall in this friendly to give themselves a boost ahead of probable promotion from Div 2.

The first half was played a lot in midfield with both teams struggling to control the ball on an uneven pitch. When the home side did break through the Phoenix defence, Alfie was on hand to make several saves to preserve the score parity.

Despite some attractive plays by Stonnall involving Ben holding the ball and feeding the runs of Fozz and Nathan, clear cut chances eluded the visitors and Hammers eventually took the lead with a bundled finish two minutes before half time.

The game was finely balanced at the start of the second half and Phoenix approached it with greater urgency and energy. The midfield opened up with more space and a good move involving Ben and Tyreece led to the latter having a shot on goal. Then a Liam corner fell to Jack who saw a powerful header just clear the bar.

In the 56th minute, Wolverhampton got the better of a goalmouth scramble to make it 2:0. Phoenix were still in the game though and finding space both Nathan and then Liam had long distance shots, the latter forcing a good save. It wasn’t to be the visitors’ day though and a 68th minute goal for the hosts nipped any thoughts of a comeback in the bud as Wolverhampton Hammers finished the game as 3:0 winners.

Stonnall Phoenix may well be playing Wolverhampton Hammers next season and will look to improve on this performance. The greater energy that the lads showed at the start of the second half will ensure a closer result.

Report by Pete H.

Man of the Match

With a performance leading from the front, Ben did his best to bring other players into the play with intelligent football, controlling the ball with a good touch on a difficult surface and therefore is Bruce’s MOTM. Well done Captain.

Mar 17th

Wyrley Jaguars   4:2   Stonnall Phoenix

Jack, Liam

Wyrley Jaguars came from behind to emerge victors in a competitive, seesaw game.

Against another top four team, Stonnall Phoenix controlled large parts of this game and started on the front foot. The first attack by the visitors nearly saw the opening goal as Ben’s shot forced the keeper into a save and then again from Fozz’s follow up. This set the tone for the first half although Wyrley did take an early lead following Phoenix’s good start.

Whilst the home side played largely on the break, it was Stonnall that played the more accomplished football. Some attractive interchanges by the forward players, Ben, Fozz, Harry and Zak unfortunately didn’t lead to an equaliser though and when Jaguars broke forward, they kept the defence of Joe, Dillan, Jack and Nathan busy. When they did get through, Alfie was on hand to repel any threat.

As the first half came to a close, Stonnall forced a corner from which Jack scored with a quick reaction at the far post from Liam’s deep corner kick. Deservedly 1:1 at half time.

The referee commented at the break that the game could go either way and that although Wyrley had very good players, he thought that Stonnall were a proper ‘team’. A compliment to the lads’ style of play and attitude.

The second half saw both sides coping well with the windy conditions by keeping the ball down and passing through midfield. Sedgy, Liam and Ennis did well to snuff out attacks and set Mac, Fozz and Tom off on forward runs. Clear chances were at a premium though until, following good work by Zak, Liam found a little space to unleash an unstoppable 25 yard shot into the top corner for his third goal of the season. It was no more than Liam and the team deserved and gave Phoenix the lead at 1:2 in the 55th minute.

Unfortunately, it was short lived as Jaguars were panicked into urgent action and they swung the game in their favour with two quick goals to lead 3:2 after 59 mins. Then, seven minutes later, a fourth goal for the hosts settled the game in their favour and the game finished 4:2.

Phoenix played their best game against one of the top sides in Div 1 and following a 7:0 defeat in the reverse fixture in October showed great improvements to compete along side Wyrley Jaguars and on another day could have come away with a draw.

Report by Pete H.

Man of the Match

Wayne has given MOTM to a player who orchestrated the midfield and controlled the tempo of the game throughout with excellent defending and effective forward play. With an assist and a spectacular goal, Liam fully deserves the accolade for the second time against this opposition. Well done Liam.

Mar 10th

Stonnall Phoenix   2:8   Lane Head Titans

Ben, Mac

After a good start by Stonnall Phoenix, Lane Head eventually ran out convincing winners.

A very windy day gave the hosts the first half advantage playing with the wind and Phoenix were able to create a number of chances early on. Left winger, Harry came close at the far post from a free kick and Fozz likewise on the other side. Lane Head were reduced to shooting from distance and otherwise the back four of Sedgy, Jack, Dillan and Nathan were defending stoutly, regaining possession and Liam, Zak and Ennis were releasing the ball with searching passes forward. From one of these penetrating balls, a throw-in was gained close to the corner flag and from the resulting play, Ben collected the ball, turned infield, shrugged off a challenge and lashed a looping shot into the net for a 1:0 lead in the 28th minute.

The visitors were clearly rattled and were arguing amongst themselves. Although Phoenix held the lead for eight minutes during which time Alfie made a spectacular save to deny an equaliser, Lane Head eventually scored three quick goals to reach half time 1:3 in front.

The second half was always going to be difficult with the wind advantage now in Titans’ favour, Stonnall displayed a determination to defend as a team and enjoyed periods of attacking possession where some good football was on show and a couple of quick passing moves came close to rewarding the hosts with a goal. The attacks kept coming from Lane Head, who attacked in numbers, and they added two more goals. Then in the 50th minute once again Ben took the ball from a throw-in and weaved free from a challenge to shoot goalwards. The ball was parried by the goalkeeper into the path of Mac who made no mistake to score into an open net to make the score 2:5.

Liam then forced a save from a free kick but Phoenix couldn’t add to their tally. Lane Head scored three more quick goals and the game ended 2:8.

For large periods of this game, Stonnall Phoenix competed toe-to-toe and, for the first time, scored more than once against a top four team.

Report by Pete H.

Man of the Match

A mention should be given to Captain, Ben, who once again under constant provocation, played with a maturity to lead his team with an assist and a stunning fifth goal of the season. Wayne has awarded MOTM to Sedgy who, filling in at right back, played with energy, bravery and a determination not to be beaten. Well done Sedgy.

Mar 3rd

Stonnall Phoenix   3:2   Pelsall Villa Colts

Joe, Tom, Nathan

Stonnall Phoenix claimed the three points after a hard fought game in difficult conditions.

Pelsall started the better of the teams pressurising the home defence without creating any clear-cut chances. Phoenix then settled into a period of possession in the attacking half and were rewarded in the 11th minute when Ben was able to turn and shoot. The ball came back off the bar and first to react was Joe who evaded the goalkeeper’s dive to score his first goal for the team. Then just three minutes later, industrious Liam swept the ball forward into the path of the onrushing Tom who held off the defender to prod the ball in from a tight angle to make the score 2:0.

The remainder of the half was reasonably comfortable for the home side, despite a speculative Pelsall shot striking the bar. Midfielders, Liam, Ennis and Sedgy did well to break up play and any forays on the flanks were dealt with by Joe and Nathan, both showing composure to win back possession. When Stonnall broke, they did so with pace, feeding Fozz, Tom and latterly Harry down the wings.

The second half started with greater determination from Pelsall, now attacking downhill and they got a goal back after 41 mins. This gave them a boost and Stonnall did well to soak up a lot of pressure. Jack and Dillan, in the centre of defence, were busy with the ball swirling in the wind and Jack, particularly, was dealing with the conditions well to clear his lines with consistent reliability.

2:1 is a slender lead and the lads were striving to extend the lead. Harry, twice in quick succession, found himself in on goal after strong runs, one shot was blocked and the second cleared the bar. There were still opportunities to make the game safe and after forcing a number of corners, Jack saw a bullet header go over and then on another occasion, the ball found its way to Nathan on the left edge of the six yard box. He volleyed it spectacularly, keeping the ball down, and saw it smack the left upright before finding the net for 3:1 after 58 mins.

The second period of this half saw the away side apply more pressure and Phoenix did well against their physicality to retain their composure and keep playing passing football. Pelsall scored in the 72nd minute to make the remaining eight minutes challenging as they searched for an equaliser but Stonnall held on to record a deserved victory as the game finished 3:2.

Man of the Match

Wayne has commended both Jack and Nathan for their performances but has awarded MOTM to Joe for his energetic, box to box running. He did well to win the ball in the right back position and was always looking to play forward, capping a great performance with his first goal. Well done Joe.