Stone Old Alleynians 4-3 Dudley Town
The Old Boys signed off from 2016 with a seven-goal Christmas cracker at Wellbeing Park, twice coming from behind to see off a determined Dudley Town.
Manager Matt Smith saw enough positives in his side’s performance to hope for a good start to 2017: “It was a great win to sign off the year, we showed character to come back from behind twice, and scored four brilliant goals. We now have a short break, but hopefully we can come back with a bit more consistency in our results in the New Year and have a strong finish to the season.”
Jack Tomlinson put his side into a deserved lead when his deflected shot looped over Ashley Horton in the Dudley goal, but the lead appeared to be a burden for the hosts as they relinquished their early dominance over the game.
Andy Arnold headed the visitors level when he rose highest to meet Leon Naylor’s free-kick, before Jovan Blake-Walker forced his way through the Alleynians back-line and rolled the ball beyond Cameron Whittington to put Dudley ahead.
Sam Wilson twice came close to restoring parity to the scoreline shortly before half-time, but the midfielder saw his first header go wide of the far post before Horton saved the second.
Wilson did however bring the scores level midway through the second-half. Substitute Danny Heard played in Wilson after a spell of good possession and the youngster finished emphatically from the left side of the box.
The scores weren’t level for long as sloppy defending from Stone allowed Dudley to retake the lead when Leon Naylor finished off a move that he had started, as he popped up in the six-yard box to poke home Blake-Walker’s cutback.
Stone once again drew the scores level when Heard met Jimmy Lee’s corner at the near post and powerfully headed home.
Matt Thomas wrapped up the points for the Old Boys with a stunning 25-yard strike. A surging run from Ollie Davies down the left saw the ball drop to Heard, who set the ball to Thomas who drilled the ball low into the bottom corner.
Heard almost topped off an impressive display with a second, but saw his deflected shot come back off the woodwork.
Stone OA: Whittington, Hewitt (Heard), Heath, Whalley, Davies, Sinclair, Wilson, Lee (Fox), Griffiths (c), Tomlinson (Thorley), Thomas