Stone Old Alleynians 1-0 Team Dudley
Danny Heard’s second half header was enough to ensure that Stone Old Alleynians took all three points from an uninspiring game at a cold and windy Wellbeing Park.
The striker’s seventh goal of the season was enough to tip the game in the home side’s favour after a battling display from the Old Boys, bouncing back from their defeat last weekend at St Martins.
The first half was slow and weary, with Team Dudley having the best chance, as the ball fell kindly to their striker on the edge of the box, but he was only able to fire his shot straight at Lewis Paglia.
Alleynians best chance came through debutant Josh Brown, as the defender rose highest to meet a Matt Thomas corner but was unable to get his header on target.
Heard, Thomas and Grant Bigham all failed to test the visitor’s keeper with their efforts before the players returned to the sanctuary and warmth of the dressing rooms.
The second half began in a livelier fashion, Sam Hodgkinson jinked his way into the box but unselfishly tried to square the ball to Heard rather than shoot himself and his pass was intercepted.
And Dan Farrelly also came close, after a surging run into the box saw him find space for a shot but he was only able to fire into the side netting.
Then came the goal, a short corner from Thomas allowed Cameron Sinclair to cross from the right, and Heard’s powerful header at the near post was too strong for the Dudley keeper to keep out.
A change in system from manager Matt Smith to try and preserve the lead brought about the introduction of striker Carl Dibden, and he nearly made an immediate impact, but his shot from 25 yards flew inches wide of the left hand post.
Lewis Paglia remained untroubled, on a day where he would have hoped for a bit more to do to keep warm. The goalkeeper using the opportunity to sweep up any stray through balls and show off his footwork.
Matt Smith was pleased to see his side chalk up their eleventh win in the past fourteen games.
“The conditions weren’t ideal, which made it hard for us to get it down and play. It was never going to be a pretty game with the weather as it was, but we needed to find a way to win and we did that.” Said Smith
“It was important that we got back to winning ways after last week, so I’m happy, especially with the big games that we have coming up.” He added.
Stone OA: Paglia, Bigham, Whalley, Brown, Taylor, Hodgkinson, Sinclair (c), C Heard (Dibden), Thomas (Griffiths), D Heard, Farrelly (Matthews)