Wolverhampton SC were looking to build on last weekend’s win against Stapenhill at Pride Park and build a run of momentum to climb up the table. Their home record has been good coming into this match with only two losses in seven matches. The hosts will want to avoid any relegation worries and move clear of the relegation zone throughout the coming months.
Cradley were in an excellent run of form going into yesterday’s match and had picked up 14 points from their last six matches. The Hammers have been one of the standout teams in the division this season and were unbeaten from their last six matches going into this one. Three loses from twelve matches had the club in fourth and they were looking to sustain their momentum.
The atmosphere prior to kick off at Pride Park was relaxed and welcoming with the volunteers at the club helpful with any questions raised. The ground is full of character and the clubhouse was well presented with good facilities available. It’s an excellent location for groundhoppers across the West Midlands and offers a great view of the pitch and a chance to get close to the action.
Starting Line ups
The starting line up for Wolverhampton SC featured Vitor Pinheiro starting in goal with Mitchell Tomlinson leading the team as the skipper from left back. The formation appeared to be a 4-2-3-1 with Leslie Omorodion leading the line as the number nine and being supported by Reagan Wardle and Ade Francis on the wings.
There was only one change from the team that started against Stapenhill last weekend with Ade Francis coming into the team and playing on the right wing.
The starting line up for Cradley Town included Nana Frimpong starting in goal and Darren Whitley leading the team as the skipper from central defence. The formation looked like a 4-2-3-1 with Jordan Crump playing up front as the number nine and being supported by Thomas Cole and Brad Ward on the wings.
There were three changes from the team that started against Hinckley AFC last weekend with Cameron Milne and Jake Crackett coming into the team and playing in holding midfield.
Wolverhampton SC started the match brightly and took the lead in the opening few minutes. Ade Francis got into a good position down the left-hand side and fired a shot that was rebounded into the path of Leslie Omorodion who finished well to make it 1-0 to Wolves Sporting in the 2nd minute.
The visitors gradually grew into the match as the first half went on with Darren Whitley playing brilliantly at the back to
help the hammers settle into the match following the early goal. The defence and midfield looked good for the Hammers, but it was not quite clicking in the final third and they struggled to create clear cut chances in front of goal in the opening half an hour.
This was testament to how well organised Wolves Sporting were off the ball with the hosts doing well to contain an in-form team and limit the chances in front of goal. Both the holding midfield and defence played well and managed to make some crucial interceptions to stop the visitors getting into a rhythm. Louie Newbold stood out for Wolves Sporting in the first half. He did brilliantly to break up the play and made some incisive passes going forward to start attacks.
Leslie Omorodion had a chance from the right-hand side of the box but had an effort go off target in the 28th minute. Cradley did have some half chances, but these were either long range efforts or shots that were well blocked by Wolves Sporting. Joshua Marsden had a good chance to equalise for Cradley Town on the counter but shot over the bar in the 31st minute from a good position.
The Hammers managed to equalise near the end of the first half with the goal being a moment of genuine quality from the visitors. Daniel Hadley played a long ball out from the back that was perfect for Jordan Crump who controlled the ball and finished well into the bottom left corner in the 41st minute to make it 1-1. It was a clinical finish and a fair reflection of the match based on the balance of play. The first half ended without much incident and finished 1-1 going into half time.
The pattern of play throughout the second half was much more even with both sides having a decent amount of the ball. Ade Francis had a good chance for Wolves Sporting early on when he ran at the defender before having a shot that went over the bar in the 53rd minute.
A player who really stood out for the hosts in the second half was Matthew Gritton who was excellent at the back and reading the game well to take the pressure off Wolves Sporting. A key tactical change helped the hosts with Leslie Omorodion being moved to the wing and Ade Francis playing more centrally which gave the hosts more threat up front. The latter had a shot that was well saved by Nana Frimpong in the Cradley goal in the 65th minute.
Cradley had a few half chances late on to take the three points such as Daniel Hadley having a header from a free kick in the 84th minute. None the less, it was the hosts that looked like snatching the win and they were in the ascendancy late on. Substitute Daniel Mensah made a real difference up front for Wolves Sporting and linked up the play well in the final third. He played a ball to Reagan Wardle on the right who worked the ball into a good position before having a shot saved in the 90th minute.
The last chance of the match involved Daniel Mensah who got into a great position before having a shot well saved by Nana Frimpong deep into injury time. The match finished not long after with both teams taking a point.
This was an entertaining match and both teams worked really hard throughout the 90 minutes to get a point. There was not much to separate the two sides, and both set up well to stop attacks.
Wolverhampton SC were excellent and showed a lot of fight and character to battle against a team that were one of the form teams in the division. The amount of organisation out of possession to limit the chances for the visitors was excellent and they played as a team to get the point.
A player who really stood out for the hosts was Matthew Gritton at the back who was consistently excellent throughout the 90 minutes. He was getting into the right positions to clear the ball away from danger and read the game well to stifle the Cradley momentum. Reagan Wardle looked good on the wings and was positive on the ball and tried to make things happen.
Cradley Town were good in this match despite struggling to get into a rhythm at times. Darren Whitley was brilliant at the back for the Hammers and was composed on the ball. He was excellent at heading the ball away and helped the visitors settle into the match in the first half. Cameron Milne looked good from holding midfield and offered the visitors a bit of composure on the ball and linked up the play well.
Despite it not quite clicking in the final third, the visitors showed a lot of endeavour throughout the match and battled well to get something from it. It could feel a bit disappointing for Cradley supporters, but the team showed a lot of character yesterday to remain unbeaten in their last seven matches and it could be a good point come the end of the season.
FT score: Wolverhampton SC 1-1 Cradley Town
Man of the Match: Matthew Gritton (Wolves SC)
Match report written by Rhys Beardmore for the Midland Football League
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