STONE OLD ALLEYNIANS 0 - AFC BRIDGNORTH 1
STONE Old Alleynians will look to bounce back this weekend after pushing West Midland One leaders Bridgnorth all the way this week.
The Old Boys were playing their first home league match of the year and they had their work cut out against the undefeated, runaway leaders.
After a bright start by the Old Boys, the division's top team soon began to push the Alleynians back, but were restricted to long range attempts and Matt Burslem, in the home goal, wasn't unduly troubled. Stone, in fact, were holding their own and playing some neat football themselves, without making much impact on the opposition goal, before a dubious refereeing decision led to the only goal of the game. Carl Dibden was adjudged to have handled a ball blasted at him from a couple of yards.
The resultant free-kick from the edge of the penalty area was brilliantly tipped over by Burslem and an excellent header from Tom Whitney give the visitors the lead from the resulting corner on the half hour. The second half continued in a similar vein to the first, with Dibden and Rob Winstanley outstanding at the heart of the Old Alleynians defence, along with good back up from full backs Dave Latham and Kev Warrilow, keeping the Bridgnorth forwards at bay. They were ably supported by the industrious Luke Matthews, in midfield.
The closest to another goal again came from the visitors when, after an Alleynians attack had broken down, Kevin Buxton was sent clear on the left to thunder a shot against the underside of the crossbar, the ball being hooked clear by Latham as it bounced down onto the goal line.
Alleynians, already without several players through commitments and injury, suffered a further blow at the midway point of the half when striking duo of Danny Heard and Nick Buckley were forced off in quick succession due to injury.
With the game seemingly petering out to a win for Bridgnorth, the Old Boys suddenly came to life in the last ten minutes.
First, a Warrilow shot was charged down, following Russ DeMatteo's cross, with Richard Hewitt's follow up also being blocked. Gary Rickards then headed another cross over the keeper, with the ball coming to rest on top of the goal netting.
In the Staffs County League the Old Alleynians had an excellent win, beating Leek CSOB 3-0, with Jordan Graham (two) and Tom Arnold on target.
This Saturday the Old Alleynians are at home to Hereford Lads Club (3pm). The reserves are at home to LA FC in the Staffs County League.