AFC Wulfrunians 0-1 Shepshed Dynamo
Sam’s the man as Shepshed secure hard-fought away win
After losing at the death to 10-man Worcester City in their previous outing, Shepshed Dynamo capitalised on a red card for their opponents this time around as they ground out a narrow 1-0 victory away to AFC Wulfrunians.
On an overcast and inclement Saturday afternoon in the West Midlands, Sam Moore’s second-half strike proved decisive after Charles Wilson was sent off for a vicious elbow earlier in the match.
The CKW Stadium was hardly the stage of a true classic, with the game scrappy and bitty as raindrops and players frequently tumbled to the ground, but Dynamo, who have risen to 15th in the table following this triumph, will not care one iota about the absence of glamour in what was a decidedly workmanlike performance that saw them record a first clean sheet of the campaign.
Shepshed made a sprightly start to the match. In the opening exchanges, Pearson Mwangonyo’s driven cross from the left was erratically sliced behind before Niall Prenderville nodded just wide following Liam Hurst’s measured ball from the other flank.
This early pressure stirred AFC Wulfrunians from the seemingly slumberous state they entered the pitch in, and, in the 10th minute, Dynamo ‘keeper Brandon Ganley had to save attentively from Jake Webb before the rebound was blocked.
The hosts’ resurgence showed little sign of abating. Strong appeals for an apparent handball by Joe Pheasant were followed by Ganley being called into action again to parry away Michael Nelson’s shot after enterprising build-up play from the Wulfs.
Shepshed would respond, though, by creating a flurry of opportunities of their own.
After Webb blazed over for the hosts following good play by Angelo Franco, Jordan Smith raced onto a through ball with only home ‘keeper Springthorpe to beat, but saw his low effort pushed away with ease.
Shortly thereafter, Karl Whymark fired just wide from Jordan Smith’s low cross after the latter pinched possession in the box.
Celson Patrocinio then burst forward apace and rode a slide tackle before finding Whymark, who found Hurst, who could only scuff wide.
The chances continued to come, but Dynamo continued to spurn them. Jordan Wakeling met a Whymark corner only to be denied by home ‘keeper Mason Springthorpe before Patrocinio broke the offside trap and pulled the ball back for Whymark, who lost his footing inside the area.
Damion Beckford-Quailey’s men appeared to have been punished for their profligacy just before half-time, but Ben Jevons’ header was judged to be offside as he headed past Ganley from a free-kick on the right.
Shepshed’s chances of averting a third successive defeat were given an appreciable boost just 10 minutes into the second half - when Charles Wilson saw red for elbowing Pheasant.
They immediately sought to seize the initiative.
Smith should perhaps have had his second goal in two games when he headed against the crossbar from Sean Phillips’ excellent cross on 58 minutes.
And his failure to convert that gilt-edged chance began to look as though it would cost Shepshed victory, with Wulfrunians reorganising themselves by making a double substitution and establishing a rigid defensive structure.
But after Patrocinio made way for Sam Moore in a bold final substitution by Beckford-Quailey on 68 minutes, Dynamo broke the deadlock.
It took Moore a mere six minutes to collect the ball from fellow substitute Luke Day before swivelling and sending a low effort bobbling into the net to put Shepshed on course for a crucial win.
And Dynamo might have put the match out of sight if Chris Acott, another substitute, had been endowed with a little more luck when he received possession from Whymark, cut inside and unleashed a low effort that Springthorpe did well to tip onto the post.
Shepshed’s recent form suggested that the game’s remainder would hardly be a walk in the park, and sure enough, as the rain continued to come down and douse, they were given an almighty scare when Nelson galloped through and thundered a fierce effort against the crossbar with just four minutes of normal time to play.
The visitors were eminently aggressive throughout the game, picking up five yellow cards in total, and Acott and Shaun Doy were both booked during time added on, but the scores of fouls committed worked in Dynamo’s favour, stifled any prospect of a Wulfrunians revival, and the three points were soon theirs.
This will likely not go down as the finest victory in the club’s history, chiefly owing to the gritty nature of the performance, but Shepshed can take much credit for not allowing the absence of captain Jake Betts and first-half injuries to Mwanyongo and Wakeling to disrupt them, and can now set their sights on a first home victory of the season when they do battle with newly promoted Walsall Wood at The Dovecote on Tuesday night.
Dynamo: Ganley, Phillips, Doy, Pheasant, Wakeling (Day 45+3’), Hurst, Prenderville, Whymark, Mwanyongo (Acott 23’), Patrocinio (Moore 68’), Smith.
Unused subs: Foster, Hill.
AFC Wulfrunians: Springthorpe, Rowley, McDonald, Attoumani (Daley 60’), Taylor, Franco, Webb (Meggoe 60’), Wilson, Gregg (Birch 83’), Nelson, Jevons.
Unused subs: Brown, Jackson.
Booked: Rowley (Wulfrunians), Wakeling, Doy, Pheasant, Whymark, Acott (Shepshed).