Bustlehome 0-1 Stone Old Alleynians
Alleynians signed off their league season with a hard-fought one-nil win, away at mid-table Bustlehome.
Matt Thomas’ strike just before half time was enough to give the Old Boys the points, but the winning margin probably should have been greater.
Playing with the freedom granted with promotion confirmation, Alleynians controlled the opening half, and dominated possession, midfielders Dean Buckley and Paul Griffiths were afforded the space to pass and probe.
But as dominant as the visitors were in possession the score remained even. Luke Askey should have opened the scoring when a corner fell to him 10 yards out, but the centre back pulled his shot wide.
Then striker Carl Dibden failed to trouble the keeper with several opportunities that fell to him. And Thomas, Buckley and Luke Matthews also failed to get their efforts on target.
But the breakthrough came on the brink of half-time, full-back Cameron Sinclair cut in from the right-handside and clipped a ball into the path of Thomas, who controlled the ball perfectly before rolling it into the back of the net.
The second half started in the same fashion. A cross from Matt Thomas found Grant Bigham at the far post, but the winger was only able to head against the post, as Dibden fired the rebound over.
And then Dibden pulled his effort wide when clever play from Thomas and Bigham found him in space in the box.
The visitors were nearly punished for their wastefulness, as a sloppy clearance fell to a Bustlehome striker, but Lewis Paglia was on hand to turn his shot behind from point-blank range, as Alleynians held on.
Manager Matt Smith was happy with his side’s performance, “It was a good effort from the lads after getting promotion on Saturday, there was a chance we could have coasted through but we didn’t.”
“We changed the shape tonight and it worked well, we dominated the game and could have scored a lot more goals had we taken more of our chances, which would have made it easier for us.”
We have got a couple of weeks off now before the cup final so we will rest and prepare for that. Its been a fantastic season for us, we’ve finished 6 places and 19 points better off than last year, and a cup win would be a great way to cap it off.”
Stone take on Evostik Division One South side Tividale FC in the final of the JW Hunt Cup at Molineux on Thursday 21st May, kick off 7.30pm.
Stone OA: Paglia, Sinclair, Askey, Whalley (Hodgkinson), Taylor, Buckley (C Heard), Griffiths (c), Matthews (Tomkinson), Bigham, Thomas, Dibden