Wellington 1 v 3 Black Country Rangers
Unbeaten Run Continues.
On a cold but sunny day, after a nearly two-hour long coach trip down to Herefordshire, BCR arrived in Wellington on the back of two draws in games that they had chances enough to win. Going into the Wolverhampton Sporting game next week, manager, Wayne Spicer shuffled his pack slightly, opting for a 4231 formation, giving Jake Healy a start up front and welcoming back marathon man, James Chilton at Right Back.
BCR started the game in similar motion to how they have the past few, quick fast flowing passing in triangles, finding space in the opposition half and using flying wingers Shaq Whittingham and Kieron Clarke to full attacking potential. However, unlike recent games, BCR didn’t have it all their own way, with Wellington pressing high up the pitch, and looking to force a mistake.
The first real chance of the game came through Wellington’s high press, and after winning it back in midfield, a deflected shot found its way through to the Wellington forward, who lost his balance at the key moment and put the ball out for a goal kick. The game settled down into what would be normality for BCR with them dominating possession, having the opposition work hard off the ball but finding themselves struggling to create any real goal threatening chances.
On 19 minutes, a horrific back pass from a Wellington midfielder, which was aimed at his goalkeeper but stopped rolling about 20 yards from goal, was pounced upon by Shaq Whittingham, who after a neat touch around the stranded goalkeeper managed to slot home into the empty Wellington goal to leave the Wellington players looking accusingly at their midfield. Wellington FC 0 - 1 BCR.
BCR nearly doubled their league minutes later, where, on 21 minutes, Whittingham was released down the left side, only to see his low driven cross roll behind Healy and cleared to safety by a Wellington defender.
BCR continued in the same vein throughout the half, seeing a multitude of half chances created by the deeper Taylor-Boyce and free flowing wingers, Whittingham and Clarke, but to no avail, and it was Wellington who ended the half stronger, a world class save from Henderson in the BCR goal kept their lead. A Wellington long ball was floated towards the BCR backline, and after a defensive mistake, the striker saw himself clean through on goal, his shot was bending into the top right corner of the goal and a fingertip save from Henderson forced the ball onto the BCR crossbar, the ball fell to Fuller who shielded the ball well to draw a foul from an exuberant Wellington challenge.
Half Time: Wellington FC 0 - 1 BCR.
Wellington began the second half stronger, winning a corner inside the first 30 seconds, a floated ball in was driven against the chest of BCR’s Brad Lawley, commencing in the Wellington players, coaches and fans all screaming for a penalty for handball. The referee denied them with a curt shake of his head and wave of his arms.
The BCR players began to pick up their game, perhaps realising that a 1-0 in this was out of the question, due to Wellington’s refusal to give up and stop pressing. BCR saw shots from distance fly over or into the Wellington goalkeeper’s hands, and began playing their possession triangles, looking for that killer opening to get a shot off. Whittingham saw a half volley well saved after Clarke has crossed the ball into him.
It was Wellington who had the next chance, and they took it on 57 minutes. A freekick from distance was looped into the BCR penalty area, towards the penalty spot, the Wellington centre back met the ball well with his head and powered it into the bottom left corner. Wellington FC 1 - 1 BCR.
After the restart both teams began to create more chances, with the game opening up Wellington pushed higher, searching for a second, and had it not been for some last ditch defending from Chilton, Vaughan, Birch and Fuller in the BCR back line, Wellington would’ve had far more chances on goal.
On 70 minutes, Spicer introduced Hayden Hughes, who a minute later latched onto a knock forward into the penalty area from Chilton, laying the ball off for the onrushing Clarke, who was tripped from behind as he burst towards the 6-yard box. Penalty BCR. Wellington down to 10 men. Clarke stepped up, rocketing the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal. Wellington FC 1 - 2 BCR.
Wellington refused to lie down after going down again, pushing for another equaliser and sensing this, Spicer brought on Garner and Horton to sure up the team defensively and see the game out, a long freekick from Wellington again causing some issues in the BCR ranks, however, this time Henderson came to claim the ball and held onto it well.
The referee signalled 2 minutes of added time, and perhaps a last chance for both teams, Wellington pumped the ball forward towards their leading striker, who after a poor touch gave away possession to captain, Matthew Vaughan, who’s searching cross-field ball found the ever marauding Fuller on the left wing, his floated cross was headed away be a Wellington head, the resulting header was well controlled by Whittingham, who after a few neat touches, laid the ball to Jake Healy, who took a touch out of his feet and fired at goal from just outside the D. his shot, though on target, took a wicked deflection off a Wellington defender, leaving the goalkeeper stranded and watching the ball trickle into the opposite corner of the net. Wellington FC 1 - 3 BCR.
Healy’s shot proved to be the last kick of the game, and although the score line was comfortable the game was not, over the past few weeks BCR have deserved more than they’ve got, so the footballing gods were obviously looking to address that balance, however BCR need to improve and find their goal scoring boots as they look to push for promotion.
Full Time Score: Wellington FC 1 - 3 BCR.
Henderson, Chilton (Horton, 84), Vaughan, Birch, Fuller, Lawley, Forrest (Garner, 84), Clarke, Taylor-Boyce (Hughes, 70), Whittingham, Healy
Subs Not Used: Hammond, Ashfall
Next Saturday BCR host title chasing Wolverhampton Sporting in a much talked about affair that will have the whole league interested. Sporting have 9 games in hand on BCR and 3 on the team directly above them (Tividale) so they will be looking to push on in the league after their recent cup runs. The game will be down at The Grove, Halesowen and kick-off is 3pm. A much better performance will be needed to secure points from that game.