The Blues share the spoils with the Pics
By Andy Chilton
Goals from Mikey Taylor & Lewis Wilson not enough to secure a third consecutive win in the Staffordshire sunshine
Match Report by Kevin Hand, Photographs by Granty
Rushall Olympic 2 v 2 Stratford Town (HT 1-1)
Saturday 29 September, 2018 3.00pm in the EvoStik Premier Central League.
• Striving to better…….
On a glorious late September afternoon there were high expectations of Town completing a hat trick of wins. Twice leading the Town boys were twice pegged backed by a game Rushall outfit.
Playing conditions were excellent and Rushall kicked off with Town playing down a slight slope towards the clubhouse end. Stratford was quickly on the front foot and went ahead on 2 minutes. Grocott receive the ball in midfield from Westwood and played a ‘killer’ ball between the statuesque Rushall defenders as Taylor flashed past them and finished in style with clinically hit shot. Town threatened to overrun the Pics with Albi Skendi dominating midfield and Grocott and Taylor combining well.
But on 8 minutes the scores were level following Rushall’s first attack.. Sam Whittall strode forward from midfield and his long range shot was deflected for a corner. Daniel Waldron headed home from the corner with a minimum of fuss and a minimum of Town defensive marking.
The game then meandered forward with little discernible shape and some player tetchiness. Town was generally having the better of things but failed to make any clear cut scoring chances until 32 minutes. A sliced Rushall clearance saw Taylor race clear on the left but as he closed in on goal he fired wastefully over the bar. This could have proved disastrous as 5 minutes later Ashley Sammons found himself one on one with Ross Etheridge to be denied by the quick anticipation of the Town custodian.
Town had the better of the exchanges at the start of the second half and it was no surprise when they restored their lead. Lewis Wilson was making a promising run towards the Rushall goal when he was hauled down. From the resulting free kick ‘assist-king’ Grocott found the head of Jordan Williams whose looping return was headed home by Wilson from just under the cross bar.
For long periods Town pressed winning most of the 50/50 balls and their desperate defending earned them 2 yellow cards. Later Cox was also to receive yellow. But for all the pressure it was Rushall who replied and equalized 72 minutes. Ashley Sammons strode forward from midfield and his cleanly struck shot seemed to be covered by Etheridge down by his left hand post. Agonisingly, the ball slipped from his grasp and trickled over the line much to the frustration of the Town bench.
Rushall was re-energised but rarely threatened as substitutions were made. The biggest talking point was when the returning Kynan Isaac looked to have slipped through the Pics’ defence on 83 mintes only to be clipped in the act of shooting. Penalty? Stone-wall according to the Town boys but referee, Bradley Hall, begged to differ.
Rushall is a friendly, well-run club and are to be congratulated on an excellent and imaginatively produced programme.
Manager, Steve Walker, declared himself as being really excited by the progress the team was making but disappointed that two poor errors marred an otherwise strong performance resulting in the loss of two points.
Man of the Match: Will Grocott
• Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well. King Lear Act 1 Scene 4
Next up: Birmingham Senior Cup Arden Garages Stadium 7.45pm Wednesday 03 October Coventry