The Hammers beat Wellington Ams 4-1 at Wickes Park.
Cradley had to battle hard to beat a hard-working, young Ams team.
A cool grey, overcast day in Shropshire and the Hammers made it five games unbeaten in this game against a brave, battling young Ams team. If you remember we began our recent successful run under our manager Andy Wyton at home to Wellington Ams at the beginning of October when we eventually won a thrilling game 3-2 after their keeper was sent off in the very first minute.
Since then the Ams have lost a manager and several players and are calling in lads from Telford College to fill the gaps. They lost 9-1 at home to Shifnal Town the week before and have now lost seven on the trot.
The Hammers were definitely favourites to win on the day and, while not on top form with a few players missing ourselves, they didn’t disappoint. Before the game a minute’s silence was held for the Brazilian team that was wiped out in that tragic plane crash.
Cradley were quick to attack forcing a corner after just 15 seconds but it was the home side who had us on the ropes for the first fifteen minutes or so. Defending the goal at the bottom of the big slope our keeper Richard Kennedy was not his usual assured self but having failed to collect the initial ball he did do well to block or save follow-up shots.
With Dreniz Bala unable to make this game our goal machine Geoff Hill was operating on his own up front with most help coming from stand-in skipper Lewis Clarke. On 15 minutes a ball from R’mar Murray via Scott Stevenson sent Geoff Hill on a run to goal and, despite a challenge from the young right-back, Geoff drilled his shot just inside the near post giving the keeper no chance and Cradley were 1-0 up.
On 15 minutes Geoff Hill (in blue) races forwards…..
….and Cradley are 1-0 up at Wellington Amateurs.
The Wellington boys had only five in their team who had lost at Cradley in October but they attacked us with re-newed vigour after going behind. Our defenders Darren Whitley, Joseph Drake-Cervantes and TJ Munthali had their work cut out keeping the foe at bay but shots still came in but luckily they were going just high or just wide.
Cradley were always looking to counter-attack though and Lewis Clarke drew a great finger-tip save from their keeper on 28 minutes. Three minutes later on 31 minutes, after being found by Luke Williams, Lewis made no mistake this time when his run ended with a shot across the keeper putting the Hammers 2-0 up.
Lewis Clarke (8) shoots the Hammers into a 2-0 lead on 31 minutes.
Cradley had their tails up now and Geoff Hill battled past three defenders on 34 minutes before getting in his shot. The ball went just wide of the far post with Lewis Clarke just failing to get a touch on it.
On 40 minutes Geoff Hill again beat a defender in the box and drew the keeper before racing almost to the by-line before getting his shot away. Despite the oblique angle the ball made its way over the goal line and Cradley were 3-0 up. Lewis Clarke could have tapped it in but, either out of generosity or for fear of being off-side, he resisted the urge.
Another great goal from Geoff Hill, from an acute angle on 40 minutes,
gives the Hammers a 3-0 lead. Lewis Clarke (8) followed up well but resisted the urge to tap it in. Well done captain!
The Ams still would not lie down though and a minute before the break the lively ginger haired Jacob Bull was free on our goal but Richard Kennedy pulled off a good save from close range and Joseph Drake-Cervantes cleared the ball.
Cradley began the second-half well with Luke Williams getting in several shots but he couldn’t find the back of the net on this day. Similarly Liam Morris tried his luck and could not find his scoring touch but we thought we had gone further ahead on 55 minutes. That man Geoff Hill put in a cross-shot which their keeper assumed was going over but it came back off the cross-bar and, following up as usual, Lewis Clarke headed it goal-wards for what looked to be a certain goal. Their keeper Ben Czepinniec threw himself across to scoop it out but Lewis and the rest of us thought it had crossed the line. The linesman though who was not actually in line but was better placed than us ruled it ‘no goal’.
Wellington were still giving 110% for their manager and he was yelling ‘They can’t cope with it!’ as they were coming at us continually.
Sure enough on 71 minutes we couldn’t cope with it and they scored! A good ball in gave Ben Gutteridge the chance to shoot and he fired into the far top corner as Richard Kennedy came out at him and the score was now 3-1.
On 71 minutes Ben Gutteridge (9) pulls a goal back for the Ams making it 3-1.
Luckily we didn’t collapse like Liverpool did at Bournemouth but we made hard work of it in the second-half. We produced a lovely bit of play on 84 minutes though when Danny Crudgington executed a divine chip in the ‘D’ on the edge of the box and Luke Williams burst past some defenders allowing the ball to drop over his shoulder before getting in his volley. Sadly Luke’s volley was just a fraction early and the ball flew over the bar.
On 84 minutes Danny Crudgington (left) expertly chips a ball
through to Luke Williams (7) at Wellington.
Just a minute later the young Ams were at us again and their shot looped over Richard Kennedy and bounced on top of our cross-bar. Then they put a header just wide of our far and forced Richard to make a double-save as they pushed for more goals.
On 90 minutes Geoff Hill totally eased any worries we may have had when he picked up a cross from Grant Joshua and bamboozled a couple of defenders before notching his hat-trick with a powerful strike making the final score 4-1 to the Hammers.
Geoff Hill (9) completes the scoring on 90 minutes at Wellington
Amateurs giving Cradley a 4-1 win.
The three points moved us up a couple of places to tenth so we’ve finally climbed from second bottom to the top half of the table over the last two months.
We’ve recruited some new players recently. Grant Esp, Carl Whyte, Chris Young and Aynsley Stephens have joined us. Chris made his debut for us at Wellington Ams. Grant Joshua also played at Wellington after re-joining us from Dudley Town with Jovan Blake-Walker going in the other direction. Jovan has also signed for Studley in the Midland Football League.
So at the moment it’s onwards and upwards for the happy Hammers.