Shifnal Town 3-2 Droitwich Spa
Saltmen go out despite battling performance
A first ever visit to Shifnal Town and also appearance in the FA Vase 2nd Qualifying round for Spa, and although they can be proud of their performance, they will be disappointed that the game was not won over the course of the 90 minutes.
The visitors started cautiously and nervously in the first half, and Town enjoyed alot or possession and also a quick press on Spa which in turn created plenty of first half chances.
The powerful forward pairing of Pugh and Novis were causing all kinds of problems and Spa were forced into making several mistakes which could have proven costly.
The best chance of the half fell to Droitwich's Haydn Morris who after being put through one-on-one, could only shoot straight at the on rushing Jones in the Shifnal goal.
At the other end, matt oliver made several decent stops to keep the hosts out, but just after half an hour a pin-point cross found Novis who powerfully headed Shifnal into the lead from 12 yards out - a lead that they retained without any trouble into half time.
Droitwich came out a different side in the second half and took the game to the hosts ; surely after a dressing down and re-organisation from Mark Owen & Wayne Oliver during the break!
Bradley Burgess spurned an excellent chance early on before an attacking substitution for the Saltmen.
Nick Seabourne replaced Graeme Pardoe and it paid dividends: with almost his first touch of the ball Seabourne made it 1-1 after good work from James Lemon down the right which teed him up to head in the equaliser.
Spa were certainly in the ascendancy, and within 10 minutes found themselves 2-1 up.
Max Crisp with a peach of a free kick which curled over the wall and into the bottom corner.
More excellent chances came Spa's way; Haydn Morris and Brad Burgess should have done better when in good positions but the wide men had left their shooting boots at home as they failed to trouble Jones while Seabourne also had 2 good headed chances which both went wide of the target.
Spa would soon pay for those misses and have a taste of their own medicine as in injury time, Sean Pugh struck an equally impressive free-kick which Oliver could not get to and the game went to extra time.
The hosts seemed to tire but again Droitwich could not make their possession and chances pay and then the game stared to boil over - Sean Pugh was shown a straight red card for an off the ball altercation with Max Crisp, but the hosts managed to get their noses in front early in the 2nd half of extra time.
Excellent work from the powerful Novis who turned Crisp and Townley inside out before unleashing a superb shot from 25 yards into the top corner.
The hosts stood firm with ten men, but more sendings-off were to follow - a heavy challenge on James Lemon was followed by a mass brawl with bodies seemingly flying everywhere!
When the officials had finally brought the situation under control, both James Lemon for Spa and home 'keeper Jake James were shown red cards, several Town players yellow cards and Chris Glover and Max Crisp (already booked) were also sent for an early shower.
It meant that Droitwich finished the game with 8 players and Shifnal 9 ; although Spa threw everything forward in the last few minutes it was not to be and Shifnal progressed to the first round proper.