Stone Old Alleynians 1-1 Black Country Rangers
Stone Old Alleynians were made to pay for missing a number of gilt-edged chances as they were held to their twelfth draw of the season by visitors Black Country Rangers, despite taking a first-half lead through midfielder Cameron Sinclair.
Manager Matt Smith sensed a familiar pattern to the game: “It’s kind of been the story of our season, we do well for a spell, get ourselves in front, then shoot ourselves in the foot, concede, and draw the game. It’s something we need to sort out for next season, we need to become more ruthless, because at times this season we have been incredible and at other times not so.”
Edward Cox had to be alert in the Black Country goal to tip Jimmy Lee’s drive behind after the winger latched onto a clearance from Adam Heath’s cross.
And Jack Tomlinson was inches away from turning home Paul Griffith’s cross-come-shot.
Whilst at the other end the Old Boys were grateful for Danny Heard’s last ditch tackle to deny Ryan Boothe.
Heard was then denied himself by the woodwork, as he rose highest to meet Lee’s right side corner, only for Cox to tip his effort onto the bar.
But not to be outdone, the visitors had their own set-piece near miss when Josh Wilis’s header was cleared off the line by Cameron Sinclair
Stone did find the breakthrough five minutes before the break, clever link up play between Sam Wilson and Jack Tomlinson saw the latter send Sinclair through on goal, and the midfielder curled the ball beyond Cox into the far corner.
The visitors rallied after the break, and the pace of striker Lewis Archer always looked to be a threat to the Alleynians back-line. And it proved to be when a long throw was flicked on by Boothe into the path of Archer who raced clear and rolled the ball beyond Cameron Bliss to draw the scores level.
The Old Boys spurned a glorious chance to edge themselves back in front, a short corner between Lee and Ollie Davies picked out Wilson who saw his effort from the five yards out saved, before Tomlinson fired the rebound wide from inside the six yard box.
Adam Heath will feel he should have done better when he headed Lee’s free-kick narrowly over, although the hosts were unfortunate not to have been given a penalty instead of a free-kick when officials incorrectly deemed the transgression to have happened outside the box.
Archer nearly punished the home-side for their wastefulness as he again burst beyond the Alleynians defence, but could only fire his shot at Bliss, as the game finished 1-1, just as it had in the two previous encounters between these sides this season.
Stone OA: Bliss, Heath, Heard, Whalley, Davies, Sinclair, Pope, Wilson, Lee, Griffiths (Hewitt), Tomlinson (Dibden)