Ludlow 2-2 Stone Old Alleynians

Skipper Paul Griffiths nods home for the Old Boys
Skipper Paul Griffiths nods home for the Old Boys

Alleynians head into Christmas after stretching their unbeaten run to nine games with a hard-fought draw away at Ludlow.

In-form striker Carl Dibden’s late equaliser was enough to ensure that Matt Smith’s men returned home with a share of the points despite not being at their best, a result which Smith feels was probably about right.

“Overall today I’m happy with a point, we weren’t at our best at times but again we have come away with a result. But I have to admit I am a bit disappointed that we didn’t snatch it right at the end.

“We have had two difficult away games and I am happy to take four points from them.

“Again it shows our strength of character, to score so late on, but we competed well all game, and didn’t give up, which is a real positive.” he said.

The Old Boys started brightly with Ben Lewis proving a constant menace to the host’s defence, and went close when the lively frontman went through on goal but unfortunately dragged his shot wide.

It wasn’t long before Lewis was sent clean through again before the recovering defender, who was very fortunate to go unpunished, cynically brought him down.

Chris Heard also came close when he rose highest to meet a Paul Griffiths corner but the keeper was equal to his effort.

Luke Askey gets acquainted with the Ludlow forwards (photo courtesy of Darren Musgrave)
Luke Askey gets acquainted with the Ludlow forwards (photo courtesy of Darren Musgrave)

The Old Boys were then left to rue their missed chances as an excellent bit of a skill and flick over the head of defender Luke Askey from Ludlow striker Dale Hodge left the frontman with a simple finish.

Hodge then came close to doubling the home side’s lead as he leapt well and headed towards goal, only to be denied by Lewis Paglia, who acrobatically turned his effort onto the post before gathering the rebound.

The goal had put the home side in the ascendancy but in a rare foray forward from the Old Boys, an excellent bit of play from winger Matt Thomas saw his cross headed home by last week’s match winner Paul Griffiths.

The home side kept up their pressure after the break but the centre back pairing of Askey and Buckley had come to terms with the lively Hodge and restricted Ludlow to few chances.

But with the Old Boys beginning to get more of a footing and creating several chances of their own for Lewis and Dibden they received a sucker-punch when a long ball into their box dropped to the Ludlow left winger who drilled his effort past the stranded Paglia via several deflections.

The hosts then dropped off in trying to protect their lead and invited pressure from Alleynians, and with five minutes to go, the visitors took advantage.

Ben Lewis got to the by-line and cut the ball back for Dibden to fire past the helpless Ludlow keeper.

There was still time for Alleynians to nearly pinch it, as a break from Billy Thorley allowed Grant Bigham to cross but for the second time Chris Heard was denied by a good save from the Ludlow stopper.

Stone OA: Paglia, Bigham, Askey, Buckley, Whalley, Sinclair(Matthews), Griffiths, Heard, Thomas(Thorley), Dibden, Lewis