Stone Old Alleynians 3-2 Smethwick Rangers
The Old Boys made it two wins from two with a clinical display in tricky conditions at Wellbeing Park.
First half goals from Adam Tomkinson and Ben Lewis, and a second half strike from substitute Billy Thorley secured the points, but the host’s were indebted to goalkeeper Matt Burslem who made a string of excellent saves to keep his side in front.
It was a result that pleased manager Matt Smith after seeing his side go through a barren spell of late, which included six straight defeats: “It’s a good win for us, but it perhaps should have been a little more comfortable than the score-line suggests. But it’s great to get back-to-back wins after the run we have been on, and we are looking forward to Monday’s game now.” Said Smith.
Playing with a strong wind in the first half, the game didn’t go to plan for the Old Boys when Albert Alexandru headed the visitors ahead from a free-kick inside the first ten minutes.
But the hosts responded quickly as Danny Heard squared a rebound for Tomkinson to tuck home after Ben Lewis’s shot had been well saved.
Heard was once again the provider as his header found Lewis, who powered through the Smethwick back line, before casually rolling the ball into the bottom corner.
The visitors missed a great chance to level, when Cameron Sinclair was adjudged to have brought down Rohan Gill inside the box, but Matt Burlsem easily saved Daniel Waldron’s penalty.
Burslem was again forced into action before the interval to keep his side ahead, but at the other end the Stone strikers kept Babucar Suane busy in the Smethwick goal and were unfortunate to only go into the break one goal in front.
Substitute Billy Thorley extended their lead midway through the second half with his first touch, following a great run by Lewis and a clever pass from Sam Wilson.
The tricky conditions for the players then got even worse, as apocalyptic rain and hail fell, but that didn’t stop Thorley from once more putting the ball into the back of the net. Another Wilson pass sent the winger through but he was deemed offside.
Heard and Alex Kay both came close to a fourth for the hosts, but the pairing both fired over.
Ali Trewale then made for a nervy finish, as he cut in from the left wing before unleashing a shot beyond Burslem, but Alleynians clung on.
Stone OA: Burslem, Heath, Dibden, Whalley, Sinclair (c), Thomas (Thorley), Tomkinson, Wilson, Lewis, Heard, Kay