Scorers : Joe Halsall 18, Tyronne Fagan 79 / Nick Watts 69
Date : Saturday 4 April 2015 - 3:00pm kick off - Evo-Stik League Southern South & West Division 1
Stratford Town : Andy Kemp, Gary Moran [c], Simon Forsdick, Guy Clark, Loyiso Recci, Alex Price, Aaron Moses-Garvey, Joe Halsall, Luke Barlone (Tyrone Fagan 66), Kevin Charley (Chris Sterling 66), Rob Thompson-Brown (Scott Hadland 86). Unused Subs: Sam Adkins & Trey Brathwaite
Yellow Card :
Sholing : Rory Anderson, TJ Cuthbertson, Joe Griggs, Pete Castle [c] (Les Mwenze 56), Dan Miller, Jack Smith, Tobi Adekulne, Alex Sawyer, Dan Mason, Declan McCarthy, Marvin McLean (Nick Watts 46). Unused Sub: Barry Mason
Yellow Card :
Attendance : 261
Man of the Match : Jack Smith
Referee : Richard Gardner (Worcester) Assistant Referees: Anthony Glazzard & Matthew Perry (both Stourbridge)
Team News: Skipper Byron Mason was still missing through injury and Manager Dave Diaper was forced into 4 changes from the team that narrowly lost to Champions elect Merthyr Town last week. Matt Brown was away in America getting engaged and Kevin Brewster was also away on holiday. Injury and illness continues to hit the squad and Lewis Blackmore was hit with a bug 24 hours earlier and Barry Mason dropping to the bench to rest an ankle injury, brother Dan replacing him. Dan Miller another carrying an injury was recalled to the starting eleven, Rory Anderson came back in goal Declan McCarthy made his first team full debut.
So two weeks running we faced a team thriving for promotion with Stratford going second following their midweek home 6-0 demolition of Clevedon Town. Sholing kicked off on an overcast day on a soft pitch following the heavy rain 24 hours previously and made a lively start with both Marvin McLean and Tobi Adekunle looking to get down the wings to keep the Stratford defence on their toes. Stratford formulated their first attack in the 3rd minute but was thwarted by Marvin McLean. Skipper Pete Castle conceded the first corner of the match but Kevin Charley’s effort was cleared by Jack Smith. Jack Smith also drew the first free kick of the game when he was fouled just inside the Sholing half but Dan Miller’s free kick was too strong for Dan Mason. Jack Smith, Dan Mason combined for Tobi Adekunle but his header was cleared. Luke Barlone had his shot blocked by Joe Griggs: then Pete Castle had ground staff clambering on to the roof of the main stand to retrieve his clearance. Skipper Pete Castle again cleared the ball collected by Tobi Adekunle but he was adjudged offside. On sixteen minutes Marvin McLean from 25 yards out hit a shot just clearing the Stratford crossbar. Then on eighteen minutes Luke Barlone cut in from the left but saw his shot blocked and deflected for a corner by Pete Castle. Aaron Moses-Garvey’s corner looked to have been collected by Rory Anderson who under pressure from Loyiso Recci fumbled the ball for Joe Halsall to tuck away the loose ball.
Sholing immediately went looking for an equaliser and won their first corner however TJ’s low delivery was cleared back to him and his cross found Pete Castle who saw his shot go just wide. Two minutes later Sholing’s second corner this time take by Tobi Adekunle was met by Dan Mason who put his header over the bar. Meanwhile Pete Castle & Dan Miller partnership was keeping the Stratford attack frustrated.
On the half hour Rob Thompson-Brown picked out Luke Barlone who chested the ball down inside the eighteen yard box but lost his footing as he prepared to shot with Rory Anderson already on the ground from the expectant shot he collected the tame shot whilst sat in the six yard box thankfully. Aaron Moses-Garvey who had been marshalling the Stratford midfield sent an audacious effort from thirty yards out over a scurrying Anderson but saw his attempt sit on top of the Sholing net much to Anderson’s relief.
Despite this pressure from Stratford Sholing never looked out of their depth in this match: however Stratford’s play was frustrating their supporters and this was highlighted when Pete Castle was penalised for handball and Joe Halsall’s quickly taken freekick was wasted and the supporters certainly vented their views. A minute before half time Sholing thought they were going to get back into the game when Tobi Adekunle crossed and the ball clearly was handled in the area by Stratford defender: but Sholing’s vocal appeals were turned away by referee Gardener. HT 1-0
The second half started with an immediate substitution Marvin McLean not returning ad being replaced by Nick Watts, once again Sholing were awarded the first free kick of the half when Declan McCarthy was fouled again by Moses-Garvey who just received a quiet word from the referee. On fifty three minutes Stratford had their first chance to double their lead in this half when Alex Price’s run was finished with him shooting over the bar from twenty two yards. A couple of minutes later it was the turn of TJ Cuthbertson to be on the end of a reprimand from referee Gardener when he fouled Moses-Garvey. The no 7 took the free kick but shot wildly over. On fifty six minutes Sholing were forced into reshaping when skipper Castle was forced off with thigh injury being replaced by Les Mwenze, Jack Smith took over the captaincy and slotted in alongside Dan Miller.
Sholing had yet another shout for a penalty but again was waved away for a corner instead. The game was becoming very scrappy and the Stratford fans were clearly not happy with their team’s performance and were quick to let them know. Manager Carl Adams tried to address this by bringing off both forwards Barlone and Charley and replacing them on sixty six minutes with Tyronne Fagen and Chris Sterling (no relation to Raheem). Jack Smith was making some decisive tackles keeping the Stratford at bay and the frustration was clear to see when Dan Miller was fouled.
Then on sixty nine minutes NICK WATTS wide on the right wing received the ball, took on one defender and waltzed past him and then it was like the sea parting allowing him to go past the static defenders with ease before drilling a left foot shot past Andy Kemp into the far corner to stun and silence the Stratford supporters.
Stratford looked to regroup with their new attack and forced a free kick which TJ Cuthbertson cleared for a corner: Rory Anderson was able to punch the ball clear. Aaron Moses-Garvey was again in the thick of the action when his hopeful ball found sub Tyronne Fagen but he shot wide of the Sholing goal. Jack Smith was penalised and yet another quickly taken free kick was cleared by Dan Miller. A 1-2 inside the Sholing area again saw a well executed tackle by Jack Smith.
On seventy nine minutes Joe Halsall swept the ball out right to Rob Thompson-Brown whose run say Joe Griggs beaten and his deep cross found the head of Tyronne Fagan who beat the Sholing defence to put Stratford back in the lead. Immediately Sholing won a free kick looking for a quick equaliser Tobi Adekunle had his shot blocked and Alex Sawyer followed up but put his shot wide.
With four minutes remaining Stratford made their final change bringing off winger Thompson-Brown for Scott Hadland to pack their midfield. Aaron Moses-Garvey looked as thou he was eventually going to be the first player cautioned when he got annoyed with Joe Griggs who had shielded the ball out of play, he shoved Griggs who reacted to his challenge. Referee Gardener called both players over for a cooling down as they separated Moses-Garvey continued to question Gardener but was lucky to go unpunished by the Worcester official. Alex Price had another shot go wide of Anderson’s upright. However in stoppage time Sholing continued to search for an equalizer, Alex Sawyer saw his shot deflected for a corner the resulting corner was cleared to Nick Watts whose cross found the head of TJ Cuthbertson and his header beat keeper Kemp and was agonisingly wide off the upright. Alex Sawyer, Nick Watts and Joe Griggs combined together to keep Stratford on the back foot winning a throw in deep in the Stratford half Nick Watts found Joe Griggs who returned to Nick Watts but his cross was cleared and relief all round the DCS Stadium as the final whistle was blown. FT 2-1
The View From The Opposition Dug-Out: Carl Adams reflects on a result which was better than the performance “It was hard work this afternoon, and we just about stumbled over the line. But we won and that’s what matters at this stage of the season. Sholing are a much better side than their League position indicates and they have had some good results recently, including only going down 1-0 to Merthyr last weekend. Sholing were determined and well organised while Town were worryingly below par, and when super-sub Tyrone Fagan rose at the far post to head in the 79th minute winner the over-riding feeling among the Town faithful was more of relief than rejoicing"
The View from the Stands: In eight days we have played first and second in the table and in both games have not looked a million miles away from them losing narrowly in both cases. Worrying today was the mounting injuries the squad is accumulating and Dan Miller had to play through injury pain as well, hopefully we will have a few players available for the home clash with Bashley and be able to rest the niggling injuries picked. Good news from today’s reserves game was the second game for Liam Golding and the return of Jess Walklin hopefully bringing them back into first team contention.
Report by Greg Dickson