Sandwell Stars 4:1 Stonnall Phoenix
Despite a good start by the visitors, Sandwell Stars overcame Stonnall to claim the victory.
A bright start by Phoenix lead to a free kick after Jenko was tripped about 25 yards out. Ennis fired the free kick like a cannon shot into the top of the net on 4 minutes for a stunning opening goal. At this point the visitors were comfortable in possession and were finding it easy to snuff out Sandwell attacks.
However, in the ninth minute an error lead to the equaliser and this seemed to settle the home side and they turned it around in their favour seven minutes later for a 2:1 lead. Sandwell were running the play now and playing the more incisive football. Phoenix kept in the game during the rest of the half though and created several half chances. Dillan had a shot deflected for a corner and Jenko found a goal bound hook tipped onto the post by the keeper. Further chances resulted from Stonnall persistence as JJ battled well to bustle into the area and fed Oscar whose shot cleared the bar.
Nathan and Jordan came on to the pitch with good effect and almost immediately Jordan used his height to win a header in the penalty box and Nathan wriggled free on the right to fire a shot across goal. The hosts held the slim lead until half time and would have added to it had it not been for a last ditch saving header by Joe and a double save by Alfie.
Stonnall Phoenix were well in the game starting the second half but two quick goals from Sandwell effectively put the game beyond the visitors after 50 minutes. Progress up the pitch was increasingly more difficult against the wind and Stonnall were struggling to keep the ball and string good possession together. Harry won the ball in midfield and cleared forward to Nathan who had a shot saved for a corner but injuries to Liam ,JJ and then Harry only made the task harder.
Jordan continued to cause problems for the opposition defence winning many headers and bringing a determination in winning the ball when tracking back. Another highlight of the second half was a cameo performance by Oscar who hustled well and found space late on in the game on the right wing to cross for Sam to shoot on target but the goalkeeper was equal to it and the game ended in a 4:1 victory for Sandwell Stars.
For large parts of this game, Stonnall competed at the same level as the home side and perhaps deserved another goal or two with a bit more luck but a better ability to retain possession, particularly in the second half was decisive for Sandwell.
Report by Pete H.
Man of the Match
With an ability to cause problems in the attacking half of the pitch and link with the midfield, Jordan was consistent from the moment he came on and looked dangerous throughout. He is awarded Bruce’s MOTM this week. Well done Jordan.