AFC Bridgnorth were looking to get a result yesterday evening against Paget Rangers at Crown Meadow. The hosts have had a challenging few weeks in both MFL Division One and the FA vase and were looking to respond and push up the table.
Paget Rangers were also looking to get a result and climb up the table yesterday evening. The visitor’s recent form over the last few weeks has been good and they beat both Wolverhampton SC and Stafford Town at Coles Lane over the bank holiday weekend with the latter result being in the FA Vase.
The weather prior to the match was excellent with clear skies and sunny weather in Shropshire throughout the day. It never looked like raining throughout the match and the pitch was in good condition. The atmosphere at the ground prior to kick off was relaxed and welcoming and the clubhouse was excellent. There was a big crowd for a Wednesday evening which was commendable and added to the atmosphere.
Starting Line ups
The starting line up for AFC Bridgnorth featured Ryan Cheshire starting in goal and Charlie Swingwood leading the team as the skipper from midfield. The formation looked like a 4-2-3-1 with Craig Knowle leading the line as the number nine and Jason Pike and Bailey Storey playing in holding midfield for the hosts.
There were four changes from the team that started against Coton Green at the weekend with Louis Lake coming into the team and playing in central defence alongside Brett Taylor.
Paget’s starting line-up included Shaun White starting as the goalkeeper and Ryan Butler leading the team as the skipper from holding midfield. The formation appeared to be a 4-2-3-1 with Jonathan Millinchip leading the line as the number nine and supported by Levi Dawson and De-Quarnai Williams on the wings.
There were four changes from the team that started against Hinckley at the weekend with Anthony Umoh coming into the team and starting in central defence alongside Joseph Lowe.
The first fifteen minutes of the match were mainly tactical and both teams were settling into the match and working out the opposition. There was not much goalmouth action, but it was still engaging to watch as both AFC Bridgnorth and Paget Rangers were growing into what was an even match throughout.
The first good chance of the match fell to Ryan Butler who had an opportunity from the edge of the box on the left before shooting wide of the far post in the 17th minute. The visitors just shaded the opening half an hour in terms of chances and in how menacing they looked on the ball. Levi Dawson looked good on the right and got into good positions for the visitors.
It was a good team performance from Paget in the first half with the only thing missing being the final ball. This was ultimately Paget’s undoing in the first half as AFC Bridgnorth were showing signs of scoring, but things were not clicking up front. However, the one clear cut chance they did get was taken near the end of the first half.
A mistake from Joseph Lowe playing out from the back lead to Jason Pike getting into a good position near the edge of the box and unleashing an excellent strike into the top left corner of the net. Just as the half was coming to a close, Ryan Butler had a good chance to equalise, but his shot was well saved by Ryan Cheshire in the Bridgnorth goal.
The hosts held Paget at bay throughout the half and did enough to clear balls and make interceptions to go into the HT break with a 1-0 lead.
Bridgnorth had a few good opportunities early in the second half to extend their lead and take control of the match. Bailey Storey went through on goal and had a shot well saved by Shaun White in the Paget goal to keep the visitors in the match.
In terms of clear-cut chances in front of goal, the second half was a bit scrappy, but it was still engaging to watch and both teams showed a lot of effort with their pressing to cancel each other out. As the half went on, AFC Bridgnorth played slightly deeper and were looking to catch Paget on the counter more which was understandable given the scoreline. Similar to Paget in the first half, Bridgnorth got into a few good positions to seal the match, but that final ball was missing.
Paget started to build a bit of momentum as the second half went on and were looking more threatening going forward. De-Quarnai Williams had an excellent second half on the right and was looking to take on his man and cross dangerous balls into the box. Even though some of the moves did not come off, it was mainly positive as Paget were building pressure on the Bridgnorth goal.
Substitute Freddie Cockerell offered a real focal point for the visitors up front in the last fifteen minutes and found an equaliser in the 82nd minute. The goal was a bit scrappy and was a deflected shot that wrong footed Ryan Cheshire. None the less, the anticipation of Freddie Cockerell was brilliant and his movement in the box has been a huge strength for Paget this season.
On the balance of play, Paget deserved an equaliser and showed a lot of fight to get something out of this match. Mark Danks did have a late chance for Bridgnorth at the end and cut inside before shooting wide from the left.
Overall, the result was a fair one and both teams put in a good shift at Crown Meadow yesterday evening in front of a good crowd.
AFC Bridgnorth played well throughout the match and looked organised off the ball to stop promising Paget attacks. Jason Pike was excellent as the holding midfielder and protected the defence well throughout. He was constantly getting into the right positions to head balls away and make crucial interceptions. He’s a key player in this AFC Bridgnorth team as he links the defence with the attack.
Another player who impressed was Mat Dean from right-back who looked really good defensively and was constantly stopping Kallum Powell on the left for Paget who was having a good game for the visitors. Craig Knowles had an underrated game as the number nine and was linking up the play well to start attacks for Bridgnorth.
Based on this match, there’s a lot to be positive about for AFC Bridgnorth supporters as the team clearly works hard and has good quality on the ball.
Paget were really good in this match and caused Bridgnorth a lot of problems. They key thing which stood out from the visitors was their desire to get something from it and they were constantly going forward with a sense of purpose.
Ryan Butler was brilliant throughout the 90 minutes and really pushed Paget on. He was regularly getting on the ball and running at players from holding midfield. This gave the team a foothold in the match. Anthony Umoh had an underrated game from the back and was reading dangerous balls well. Callum Powell was reliably good at left back and offers a lot defensively as well as going forward.
Out of the three matches covered, it’s the best I’ve seen Paget this season as they worked hard and looked a handful for AFC Bridgnorth. There’s a lot to be encouraged about for Bears supporters but it might take a bit of time before things start to click as it’s a young team.
FT score: AFC Bridgnorth 1-1 Paget Rangers
Man of the Match: Jason Pike
Match report written by Rhys Beardmore for the Midland Football League
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