Midland Football League
Saturday 25th November 2023
Stone Old Alleynians 2-2 Tividale
Could have, should have.
After an amazing 6 weeks gap since our previous Midland Football League Premier fixture, (the 4-1 defeat at Highgate United),.we returned back to league action. In that time, we have played 5 cup games winning them all, so confidence was high going up against a Stone Old Alleynians side sitting just outside the play off places. So, this was not going to be an easy afternoon in Staffordshire.
With the squad still struggling with injuries. manager Stuart How could only name four subs on the bench with Louis Connor, Zac Kourouyianni, Cain Smith, James Douglas, and Dominic Dell returning to the starting eleven.
Tividale were close to starting as they did on Tuesday night against Bewdley with a 2nd minute Taylor Townsend corner finding Joe Hawkins but this time the centre half headed over. In the 14th minute Stone’s Josh Sedgley hit a first time volley from the edge of the box after a Tividale clearance that went wide of the post. A Joe Baxter corner was met by Luke Askey, but his header was saved by Tividale keeper Connor.
In a period of end to end football after 24 minutes Douglas won the ball in the middle of the park and put through Dell, but he shot over the bar. Then a ball over the top catches out the Tividale defence but Jack Bowater fired over. Dell then blocked an attempted clearance from Stone keeper Raajan Gill and the ball landed at the feet of Cody Mullan, but his first time effort went wide of the relieved keepers post.
On 32 minutes Tividale took the lead when Townsend received a Callum Gillies pass cut in from the left and from 25 yards fired past Gill. Stone almost equalised two minutes later when a Bowater cross found William Lloyd, but his header was saved by Connor. As the game moved into first half injury time, Ewan Edwards did well to get his shot in from an acute angle, but Gill got down to save it.
Half time: Stone Old Alleynians 0-1 Tividale
The second half started as the first half went with action at both ends and an Edwards volley from a Townsend cross flashed wide. Then the impressive Jake Tomlinson found Sam Wilson, but he also failed to hit the target in the 49th minute,
Tividale doubled their lead in the 53rd minute when a Douglas cross field ball found Townsend and he lobs Gill. And they could have gone 3-0 up when another Douglas pass found Townsend and he in turn found Dell through on goal, but Gill was equal to his shot. Although Stone were now looking a lot more threatening the visitors were defending quite comfortably. and looking capable of adding to their score on the break. That was until the 68th minute when a mix up between Connor and Gillies resulted in Bowater nipping in poking the ball across the 6-yard box and Tomlinson tapping in from 3 yards.
5 minutes later and the scores were level In the 73rd minute, the Old Boys were on level terms. After some good work the ball was played into the Tividale box and despite a number of attempts to clear the ball, it fell to Wilson, who slotted the ball home.
On 78 minutes there was a major talking point. Up to this point there was only the two major decisions that the referee had to make. In the first half. First, he cautioned Tividale’s Edwards for diving in the penalty area and later in the half he cautioned Stone’s Tomlinson for the same thing.
This one however had everyone confused. Tividale moved the ball well and Cain bent a great shot into Gill’s bottom right hand corner from 15 yards. The goal was given and there was no flag. The referee then proceeded to go over to his assistant and after a conversation with him disallowed the goal (and despite a number of enquiries from our players and management staff no answer was forthcoming). Tividale were now incensed and on 80 minutes later Mullan was sin binned for dissent. Again, Mullan pleaded his innocence but again no explanation was given.
On 85 minutes a Sedgley cross was headed wide by Tomlinson. Tividale, despite being a man down until injury time stayed on the front foot and had chances but they couldn’t find a way past Gill.
So Tividale had to settle for a share of the spoils. With us still scratching our heads as to why Cain’s goal was disallowed. But credit to Stone they battled back from 2-0 down and maybe a couple of months ago would have been odds on to go on and win it.
Full time: Stone Old Alleynians 2-2 Tividale
Unused Sub:- 12. Cameron East