Midland Football League
Tuesday 21st September 2021
AFC Wulfruniuns 2-2 Tividale
A Tale of Two Halves
Games against our rivals down the A4123 are always competitive and tight affairs. As it was to prove in the FA Cup tie a month earlier played at The Beeches. But not only was this competitive and tight, the first half to the neutral’s was classic entertainment (maybe not so much for the two dug outs though).
Once again Manager Dave King had to make changes with club captain Matt Hunt, Brogan Halpin, Dan Bryson and Tyree Clarke all unavailable. But we were delighted to have Brad Welding back fit, and he went straight into the side. With 2 Centre backs out Tom Hurdman was moved from his usual right wing back position to Centre back and he also donned the captain’s arm band.
The game started at a frantic pace and after 7 minutes Curtis Cocking found Elliott Hartley and his first time shot brought off a smart save by AFC keeper Tom Hayward. On 10 minutes came AFC’s first effort on target when Robert Hanna was able to pick his way through the Tividale midfield before trying an effort from 25 yards that Tividale keeper Adam Harrison turned over the bar.
Tividale opened the scoring on 13 minutes when Darragh Bustin himself ran at the AFC defence, had a bit of fortune when his attempted one two with Dan Smith was intercepted by AFC defender Chris Knights on the edge of the penalty area but Knight only succeeded in putting the ball back into Bustin’s path and he needed no fortune in blasting the ball past Hayward and into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Tividale were in behind the AFC defence a couple of minutes later when Hartley found Bustin, and his cross was met by Smith, but Hayward held onto the header comfortably. Hartley then had an appeal turned down for what would have been a harsh penalty decision.
On 18 minutes a Tividale defensive error let in AFC’s Dominic Dell. He unselfishly rolled the ball to Aaron Bishop, but his shot lacked power and was a routine save for Harrison. Two minutes later and obviously the away side had not learnt from their earlier mistake. This time Bishop was the benefactor. He played in Dell who in a one-on-one situation made no mistake in beating Harrison. In keeping with the end-to-end football Tividale were right back at their host’s and on 21 minutes Bustin picked the pocket of AFC’s Hanna but his curling shot was an easy save for Hayward.
The home side then had a spell where no one knows how they did not take the lead. It started with a short back pass to Harrison where the keeper just about beat Dell to the ball, but his clearance came straight back. Hanna then failed to beat Harrison who beat away his shot. After a half clearance it landed at the feet of Bishop whose drive across goal hit teammate James Hill and back into the path of Hanna whose shot was saved again by Harrison. AFC worked the back into Jamie Meadows, but his shot cleared the Tividale bar.
A Bustin free kick was headed onto the top of the net by Hayden Reeves on the half hour mark. On 39 minutes Hartley was able to weave his way past 3 defenders lay the ball off to Milne who beat Hayward via the left-hand post to put Tividale 2-1 ahead. Hill then saw his free kick go wide of Harrison’s left-hand post on 41 minutes as they looked to equalise immediately.
On the stroke of half time Bishop was through on the end of a long ball. Harrison misjudged the bounce and took out the player just outside the area. With the home players and spectators calling for a red card and the visitors fearing the worse the referee and his assistant took their time to assess what had happened and after about 3 or 4 minutes rightly showed Harrison the yellow card. As he had cover between the Bishop and his goal. From the resulting free kick in first half stoppage time Hill saw his effort come off the crossbar but Hanna was quickest to react and stabbed the ball past Harrison to make it 2-2.
Half Time: AFC Wulfruniuns 2-2 Tividale
It was going to take some doing for the second half to match the first. But AFC were right at it from the start and on 47 minutes Harrison had to turn a Dell shot around the post for a corner. From the resulting corner Bishop headed over the Tividale bar.
As expected, the game quietened down a touch from the high octane first half and it was the 59th minute before the next decent goal threat. Bustin played a beautiful defence splitting ball to Hartley. But Knight got across to marshal him away from goal before clearing for a corner. Hartley took the corner, and it found its way to Welding on the back post. He played it into the path of Bustin and his pile driver was well saved by Hayward. The keeper parrying the ball away and Tom Poole completing the clearance. Hartley was then put through down the Tividale left but his shot went high and wide.
As the game moved into the last 15 minutes AFC were the team making the most of the running and Dell, Bishop, and substitute Panasue Madamba all had chances that were well defended and cleared. Bishop also headed over another Hill corner with time running out. In the end the final whistle went with surprisingly no addition to the half time score line. But what a game.
Full Time: AFC Wulfruniuns 2-2 Tividale
Tividale: – 1. Adam Harrison, 2. Tom Hurdman, 3. Brad Welding, 4. Luke Carter, 5. Ben Birch, 6.Hayden Reeves, 7. Darragh Bustin, 8. Curtis Cocking, 9. Dan Smith, 10. Cameron Milne (14. Lewis McPike 76), 11. Elliott Hartley
Unused Subs: – 12. Jordan Edwards, 15. TJ Munthali