Cradley fail to hammer the Steelmen as honours are shared.
A man sent off and a very debatable penalty decision meant it was an unhappy day all told for the Hammers.
After a period of heavy rainfall this game was played on a wet pitch on a dull, overcast, murky day. Some people described the surface as ‘borderline’ and we were a little surprised that all the other games in our division went ahead too.
There was a good crowd of 75 though but not everyone was happy. Before the game we overheard one gentleman on the phone to his wife complaining it had cost £9.50 for him and his young son to get in which was more than they had paid whilst on holiday in Spain. Anyway everyone is entitled to their opinion and we thank that man for coming to our game and for buying a programme too. Perhaps we should start charging ‘kids for a quid?’
We were pleased the Bilston manager Scott Hamilton insisted they wear their blue away kit. Like us he hates to see an orange team playing a red team. Could someone tell Wellington FC please? Scott said they had never yet lost a game in this blue kit. Indeed they were unbeaten since August in their away league games which is astonishing considering they have lost ten home games.
Strikers like to keep tabs on their goals (Chris Bladen knows just how many goals he’s scored for Cradley) and before the game our red-hot goal-scorer Geoff Hill told me (club secretary) that the WMRL league had not credited him with the goal he scored in our 3-1 defeat at Pegasus Juniors. I was able to inform him we had spotted this too and, after two emails on the subject, the matter had been corrected. Geoff said he would be aiming to add to his 19 goal tally against Bilston but sadly that turned out not to be the case and a frustrating afternoon was in store for him.
Both teams went close on occasions in the first half with the Hammers probably being on top for most of the time. Our pressure finally paid off on 42 minutes when Geoff Hill was put clear but, as he shot, a defender dived in to tackle and the ball hit the near post. The rebound came out to Scott Stevenson and his cultured left foot sent the ball low into the net before the keeper could get back and Cradley were 1-0 up.
On 42 minutes Cradley go 1-0 up. A Geoff Hill shot hits the post but it rebounds nicely to Scott Stevenson (5) who fires home low just before the Bilston keeper gets there.
Bilston Town were soon back on level terms on 44 minutes. Scott Stevenson looked favourite to deal with a ball forward into our box but he was muscled off the ball by the bustling Bilston striker Roland Agbor. Scott stretched a leg out trying to get a touch on the ball but just failed to make contact and Agbor fell over his leg. The referee blew for a penalty. It was unnecessary really because we had lots of defenders there and they were going away from goal but if you give a striker a leg to fall over they will fall over it.
On 44 minutes Scott Stevenson (5) battles with Roland Agbor (9) and
it’s a penalty to Bilston Town.
On 44 minutes Bilston’s Ross Clarke fired in from the spot to equalise at 1-1.
On 44 minutes ‘good as gold’ TJ Munthali (4) and Joseph Drake-Cervantes (2) race forward in case of a rebound but Ross Clarke’s penalty kick sends Richard Kennedy
the wrong way and Bilston Town are level at 1-1.
The referee had been a little bit prissy in the first half and after having lots of cautions and a sending-off in our previous two games we thought if he just carries on lecturing the lads that will be ok with us but sadly he started flashing his cards around.
Four minutes into the second half Grant Joshua was cautioned for dissent (no excuse for that) and soon after Carl Whyte was booked for a challenge which went wrong entirely due to the slippery conditions. Then the referee got a red card out and we didn’t know why but he showed it to Geoff Hill on 53 minutes saying Geoff had called him a name after he had cautioned Carl. Thus early in the second-half we were down to ten men and facing an uphill struggle.
After a scare when a Bilston cross went all along the face of our goal we went upfield on 56 minutes and Aaron Weston, who has been a revelation since joining us from Dudley Sports, put in a great cross from our left wing. It beat the keeper and Carl Whyte bundled it in at the far post despite their left-back going for the same ball so we were in front again at 2-1.
On 56 minutes the Bilston keeper Ben Holden misses Aaron Weston’s cross and Carl Whyte bundles the ball in at the far post putting the Hammers 2-1 up. We stopped clicking the shutter because we thought Carl had missed it but we can assure you
the ball did end up in the net!
Cradley were doing really well despite having a man missing and on 60 minutes Carl Whyte headed on to Scott Stevenson whose looping header hit the cross-bar. Come to think of it, can anyone remember Scott scoring with his head?
A minute later Richard Kennedy saved well from Ross Clarke but overall we were largely untroubled with Darren Whitley heading away every high ball that came into our box.
Sadly on 82 minutes two of our defenders and Bilston’s Roland Agbor were chasing a ball into our box when Agbor went down. TJ Munthali was cautioned and a penalty kick awarded. Some of our fans thought this was a poor decision as did TJ who insists no one touched the Bilston player. Roland Agbor himself admitted it was no penalty but on 83 minutes he fired in from the spot to equalise at 2-2.
On 83 minutes Bilston Town’s Roland Agbor fires his penalty kick past Richard
Kennedy to equalise at 2-2
Cradley slipped down two places to 11th after this draw and the feeling was very flat amongst us fans after the game. Two penalties denying us the three points, and a sending-off and three more cautions again. We felt very hard done by.
Geoff Hill faces more charges after the referee reported him for making comments and gestures AFTER getting sent off, and our physio faces charges of verbally abusing the ref too. Very depressing and very expensive.
Still we will just have to knuckle down and concentrate on the job with some very tough games coming up this month.