Cradley Town 3-4 Stone Old Alleynians

Stone bounced back from consecutive defeats to the league’s top two teams, with a last gasp victory over high-flying Cradley Town.

Two goals apiece from Danny Heard and George Askey edged the game in the visitors favour after the hosts had been reduced to ten-men late on.

Manager Matt Smith was left delighted with how his side bounced back from back-to-back defeats: “It was a really big win for us today, we have had a tough week, and a depleted squad today, so to cap it with a win is fantastic.”

“Everyone worked hard to achieve it, including the subs who contributed to the two late goals. We had a couple of lads playing out of position as well. And it’s always a bit sweeter when you win in the last minute.” He added.

Stone started brightly in a scrappy game, played in difficult conditions, but it was the home side who opened the scoring when a shot was deflected off Grant Bigham beyond Matt Burslem, midway through the first half.

And Cradley then doubled their lead when slack defending allowed Jovan Blake-Walker to find space in the box and he made no mistake in beating Burslem.

The Old Boys reply was immediate, as Danny Heard picked the ball up on the edge of the box and his deflected shot found its way into the bottom corner.

And Alleynians were unfortunate not to go into the interval level, Alex Kay raced clear of the host’s defence, but saw the ball bobble as he went to shoot.

Heard did level the scores early on in the second half however, when he again found himself in space on the edge of the box and curled the ball into the top corner out of the reach of Shaun Edwards in the Cradley goal.

Stone were in the ascendancy but were unable to capitalise on a number of half chances, and were dealt a sucker punch when Blake-Walker cut in from the left-hand side and fired a shot past Burselm, with help from yet another deflection.

The visitors brought the scores level once more when George Askey bundled the ball over the line after a Cameron Sinclair cross had been turned goalwards by Heard.

Cradley’s Aaron Lloyd was then given his marching orders for a second yellow, when he angrily kicked the ball away, after the referee had turned down his claims for a penalty.

Before Askey secured the points, when he acrobatically headed home a Sam Chilvers cross, following a powerful run from the substitute.

Stone OA: Burslem, Bigham, Whalley, Heath, Davies, Dibden (Tomkinson), Sinclair (c), Wilson, Askey, Heard, Kay (Chilvers)