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The Hammers - Match centre

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Pegasus Juniors
Cradley Town
Sat 17 Dec 15:00 - West Midlands Regional League - WMRL Premier Division Full time

Bare bones Cradley undone by Pegasus.

It looked promising when the Hammers equalised just after half-time but they slid to a two goal defeat in another tough encounter with Pegasus.

For the third time this season we had just the bare eleven players for this game. Previously we had drawn at Malvern Town and won at Chelmsley Town with just eleven men but this time we lost. Geoff Hill’s twin striker Dreniz Bala was missing through injury as was Ross Love, Joseph Drake-Cervantes was suspended and Luke Williams and others couldn’t make the journey.
It was dull, overcast and a bit misty in Hereford but we can’t complain because we’ve had some decent weather overall and have got most of our games played.
Just three weeks earlier we had beaten Pegasus at Cradley in a nasty, niggling game with Joseph Drake-Cervantes getting sent off. This game started ok but became nastier as it went on and we had R’mar Murray sent off with two yellow cards as Pegasus showed their ‘physical’ side once more. With just eleven men the players who did suffer knocks and injuries had to stay on the pitch and it all told against us in the end.
Lots of decisions seemed to go against us from the start. Carl Whyte’s header hit the bar but he was penalised for climbing, a Darren Whitley throw-in was deemed illegal and we were flagged for off-side three times in the first four minutes and so it went on.
Geoff Hill nearly scored for us after just 1 minute when he got the ball past the keeper but it didn’t have the ‘legs’ to cross the line and was cleared just before Carl Whyte could finish it.
On 1 minute Geoff Hill (9) knocked the ball past the keeper but it was cleared by a defender.

Pegasus were keen to avenge their recent narrow defeat to us and forced Richard Kennedy to make two saves in the 3rd minute but he couldn’t prevent them going ahead in the 6th minute when a pass found Liam Jones free twelve yards out and his well struck shot went in just inside the far post putting the home team 1-0 up.

On 6 minutes Liam Jones is challenged by Tajani Munthali but the shot goes in
putting Pegasus 1-0 up.

A minute later Pegasus kept up the pressure with a header from a corner just clearing our cross-bar.
On 10 minutes it was Cradley’s turn to threaten when a Darren Whitley header from another corner went across the face of the home goal and out beyond the far post.

The Hammers actually played really well throughout this game with some good inter-passing but the idea is to score goals and we failed to do that in the first half.

We went close on numerous occasions though and at half time our opponents and the match officials said we really deserved to be level at least. We had shaved the uprights so often it was jokingly suggested Pegasus were using ‘magnets’ to drag our shots wide.
Even Geoff Hill (9) misses sometimes. Scott Stevenson and Danny Crudgington had put Geoff through here on 24 minutes but he attempted a spectacular shot on the run and the ball screwed well wide of the target.
There had been no cautions given out by the referee in the first half but that was about to change!
Second half
Cradley began the second half still playing such excellent football the home team were chasing shadows at times we were confident we would score soon. On 47 minutes Lewis Clarke powered down our right wing before crossing to Carl Whyte who helped the ball on to Geoff Hill. This time Geoff made no mistake as he swivelled and shot home low equalising at 1-1.

On 47 minutes Geoff Hill (9), assisted by Lewis Clarke (8) and Carl Whyte (grounded),
is about to fire home….

…and it’s in the net to equalise for Cradley at 1-1 at an increasingly misty Old
School Lane.

We were so much on top at this stage we fans were confident we’d be taking three points home for Christmas but it didn’t pan out that way. R’mar Murray went close with a couple of shots but Pegasus caught us on the break on 56 minutes. R’mar raced back but was a micro-second too late to stop a cross which was headed in by Jamie Cuss giving the home team a 2-1 lead. Our manager thought Richard Kennedy could possibly have come out for this one.

On 57 minutes Jamie Cuss (7) gets his head to a pin-point cross…

….and it’s in the net putting Pegasus 2-1 up.

It was quite a psychological set-back going behind again so quickly after Cradley had battled so hard to get level. A minute later TJ Munthali made a poor back-pass and got himself booked whilst trying to rescue the situation and the cautions floodgate was open! The game got petty but there was still no excuse for the match official booking four Pegasus players and five Cradley players. Indeed, late on, R’mar Murray got a second yellow after re-acting after getting fouled yet again and he was sent off. The small consolation was that although the fines amounted to £85 we didn’t get a sixth man booked which would have cost us an extra big fine and also none of our bookings was for dissent. When we hit ten dissents it will get us another extra big fine. We are currently on six dissents.

Anthony Cox (7) and Jamie Cuss both get cautioned on 63 minutes after a five minute long tiff in another bad-tempered game with Pegasus..

In the mist it was difficult to see what was going on over on the dug-out side of the pitch. At one stage there was a lengthy stoppage and the players were shouting ‘It’s got to be a drop-ball!’ Goodness knows what that was about.

We started getting a few knocks too with Grant Esp and Carl Whyte feeling the effects of another hard game against our friends from Hereford!

Nevertheless we continued to put pressure on the Pegasus goal. On 64 minutes Geoff Hill raced along the by-line before shooting at the keeper, on 70 minutes TJ Munthali’s header was tipped on to the cross-bar, and on 81 minutes their keeper lost Anthony Cox’s cross and Darren Whitley’s shot was blocked the ball came to Lewis Clarke and he performed an air-shot. Yes, it was all a bit frustrating.

That goal we wanted never came. On 87 minutes R’mar Murray was sent off and on 91 minutes it was Pegasus who increased their lead. We were pushing up with our backline almost on the half-way line when we missed a ball kicked out of their keeper’s hands. Their top scorer Cory Hyde was quick to take advantage and raced clear to slot his shot past Richard Kennedy making the final score 3-1 to Pegasus Juniors.

On 91 minutes TJ Munthali (4) misses this long ball…..

….the bounce beats Darren Whitley…

…and Cory Hyde (10) (chased by Grant Esp [2]) shoots past Richard Kennedy to
make it 3-1 to Pegasus.

The final whistle went on 94 minutes.

It was a shame to end the year with a defeat but we’ve been on a great run having won eight of our last twelve league games drawing two and losing only two. We are up to ninth in the table and look forward to our remaining fifteen games and a possible run in the League Cup.

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League round up

Other WMRL Premier Division results

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Gornal Athletic
Stone Old Alleynians
Dudley Town
Wellington Amateurs
Willenhall Town
W'ton Casuals
Ellesmere Rangers

League table

# Team Pl Pts
8. AFC Bridgnorth 38 55
9. Pegasus Juniors 38 54
10. Cradley Town 38 53
11. Shifnal Town 38 53
12. Stone Old Alleynians 38 49
13. Black Country Rangers 38 49
14. Willenhall Town 38 48

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