Whatton at the double for U18’s

Wulfs U18’s produced an outstanding team performance to beat Hednesford Town 2-0 at Keys Park and progress to the quarter final stage of the B’ham FA Midweek Youth Cup.
 
Manager Jon Purdie was forced to make changes with top scorers Ryan Bright and Jake Webb both unavailable through injury while the Pitmen included former Wulf Amani Allan in a line up containing many talented individuals.
 
With a swirling wind inside the Keys Park stadium, Wulfs got off to the perfect start taking a 3rd minute lead. Jack Purdie’s corner caused problems, Jack Marsh saw his effort blocked on the line by Adam Smyth but Rob Whatton was on hand to fire home the rebound.
 
The home side pushed hard for a quick reply with Brad Grice having their first two efforts, first when he lobbed well over the bar after Chris Ryan had punched clear and then when he turned and fired wide from near the penalty spot.
 
At the other end Mike Brookes nicked Benji Gutteridge’s low cross past his marker before firing a low shot straight at the keeper.
 
After a frantic opening quarter of an hour, the game settled down with the only real effort at goal in the next 25 minutes a stinging shot from Town centre half Alex Morris from fully 35 yards out which Ryan dealt with very well to smother.
 
Wulfs then went close to extending their lead when keeper Jake Woodhouse and defender Clifton Forbes got into a tangle allowing Gutteridge to nip in but they somehow managed to recover to block his two close range efforts before the ball was scrambled clear.
 
On the stroke of half time Grice headed a corner from the right goalwards but Wulfs keeper Ryan somehow managed to get across to clear allowing him and his defenders Ben Webb, Harvey Pearson, Rob Whatton and Harry Charlesworth to deservedly hold out to the interval.
 
The home side continued to take the game to Wulfs but the defence, now including Jack Marsh after Charlesworth had to be withdrawn at half time and replaced by Jacob Craner, held out resolutely. The only time Hednesford breached the back line was when Forbes danced between three defenders and struck an angled shot which deflected on to the face of the crossbar.
 
Wulfs were looking dangerous on the break though and went close when Gutteridge struck a low shot from just outside the area which cannoned back off the post.
 
Craner and Liam Wilkinson then combined for Brookes to test the keeper with a low shot before the vital second goal finally came in the 71st minute when Gutteridge delivered a near post corner for Whatton to power home a header for his second of the game.
 
With more tenacious defending and industrious work from Brookes, Purdie, Wilkinson, Gutteridge and Charlie Turner, added to by some excellent work from Craner and late subs Dan Beese and Jack Martin, Wulfs closed out the game.

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