AFC Bridgnorth 3-2 Stone Old Alleynians

Ten men Stone Old Alleynians went down three-two at high flying AFC Bridgnorth, as striker Carl Dibden saw red for a bad tackle.

Stone Manager Matt Smith bemoaned his side for the manner of their demise: “We conceded our goals at bad times and really contributed to our own downfall. We battled back to get the equaliser when we were one down, but then let them score straight away. We showed character to keep creating chances when we went down to ten men, but the third goal has killed us, and left us a bit too much to do, even with the goal late on.”

The home side enjoyed the best of the early running, playing with the advantage of the slope and the wind, but despite their control they were unable to create any clear cut chances, but shortly before half-time they found the break through. A Matt Burslem goal kick was returned behind the Stone defence and Bridgnorth striker Anwar Olugbon raced clear and rolled the ball beyond Burslem.

Alleynians were indebted to Burslem soon after, when Olugbon was again sent clear of the visitors defence, but the keeper managed to force him wide and his cross was easily dealt with by the recovering defenders.

Matt Burslem made several saves to keep his side in the game
Matt Burslem made several saves to keep his side in the game

Burslem was again pressed into action after the break, as he twice denied the home side from extending their lead.

And the Old Boys repaid their stopper for his heroics with an equaliser. A good passage of play freed Ollie Davies down the left wing, and his cross was acrobatically headed home by Luke Askey.

Carl Dibden disbelief as he is given his marching orders
Carl Dibden disbelief as he is given his marching orders

But no sooner had the celebrations died down when Stone found themselves under pressure again. Ian Whalley was unable to clear and the ball eventually fell to Liam Bood, whose shot from the edge of the box deflected off Askey and beyond Burslem into the back of the net.

The visitors then saw their task made even harder when Carl Dibden was dismissed. The front-man stretched into a tackle with a Bridgnorth defender, and the referee deemed it worthy of a straight red card.

Stone’s afternoon then took a fatal turn, as Jason Pike struck a third goal that would ultimately prove decisive.

Despite being down to ten men, the Old Boys rallied late on, and managed to get a goal back when Danny Heard pounced after Bridgnorth keeper Chris Crook parried Matt Thomas’s shot, but that was as good as it got for the visitors.

Stone OA: Burslem, Whalley, Askey, Taylor, Griffiths (c), Davies, Moloney (Sinclair), Bainbridge (Thomas), Heard, Kay, Dibden