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Result – Wanderers 1 – Shelfield United – 5;

Following a week off last week the Wanderers were back in action today in the Carol Cup, with Division 1 side Shelfield United FC visiting us at Willenhall Academy.

Match Report –
After 2 great results in the earlier rounds of the Carol Cup we were expecting a tough game in the latest round against a good division 1 team. Although we were keen to keep our unbeaten run going, we made it clear to the boys that today was about playing our game without any pressure! We said the result wasn’t the main thing to focus on today and that we just wanted the boys to enjoy the game. With a full squad available we made a couple of changes and started the game well, holding our own against a physical and technically good team. We played some good football in the first period and created a couple of good chances, one piece of great play from Jack Chard put Josh Lees through on goal only to be denied by a fantastic last gasp tackle by the defender. At the other end our defence was looking solid, with Phoenix controlling the back four and even when Shelfield did break through they were stopped several times by a couple of great saves by Tom. The first goal did finally come though when a long ball beat the offside trap and the Shelfield striker managed too, somewhat luckily beat Phoe to the ball and shin a lob over Tom to make it 1-0. The rest of the half was fairly even and saw us go in at halftime only 1 nil down.
At halftime we encouraged the lads to keep going and just enjoy the game and felt we still had a chance to get back into it. The first 10 minutes of the 2nd half was all us, with us pressing Shelfield back into their own half and it paid off. Some good football found Jack in the box, and after some quick feet he was brought down by the defender to win us a penalty. He then picked himself up to dispatch an unstoppable penalty to level the score. 1-1!
We were now back in the game, but unfortunately couldn’t keep up the same level of intensity and pressure. This allowed Shelfield to slowly take control of the game and within 10mins they were back in front. Some good work down their right was ended with a great cross and neat header to make it 2-1. Our heads were down a little and shortly after a through ball found the Shelfield striker in our box, only for Phoe to be penalised for a foul by the ref. A harsh decision as he did manage to win the ball, although he did also connect with the player. The resulting penalty was converted to make it 3-1. We made our final changes for the final 20mins and didn’t give up, pushing forward and creating a couple more half chances. As we tired Shelfield pushed forward, creating a couple of chances down our left, with one being excellently pushed round the post by Tom for a corner. Their fourth goal did eventually come when a long cross field ball beat the offside trap and allowed their striker to calmly finish to make it 4-1. The final goal of the game came after some poor defending, we failed to clear the ball several times and the ball then fell to a Shelfield player on the edge of our box, he’s first time shot looped over Tom to make it 5.

A good performance today against a tough team, the score definitely wasn’t a fair reflection of the game as we matched them for 50-60mins. As always some good individual performances this week, but the “Man of the Match” went to Jack Chard. To follow up his “Player of the Month” Jack put in a tireless performance as well as converting a great penalty. Well done Jack!

Well done to everyone today, although our first defeat of the season lets take the positives from today and now focus on the important league game against FC Premier next week.

Joe, Jason and Ronan.

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