U18’s progress to semis

In front of a large and knowledgeable, crowd this county cup quarter final started with a bang as Wulfs took the lead after 42 seconds when Brookes won the ball and put in Bright down the right. He pulled the ball back to Jake Webb who finished clinically from 12 yards, driving the ball into the bottom corner.


Wulfs almost extended their lead when Brookes fed Webb but Richards in the Stourbridge goal made a good save.


Stourbridge began to get a foothold in the game and equalised on seven minutes when a good move down the left hand side ended with the ball being played in to Davis who slotted home from the edge of the box.


Stourbridge then dominated the game for the next 20 minutes and Ward was tormenting the Wulfs defence who conceded a number of petty free kicks around their box. From one of them Ward curled the ball just wide.


Also, Ryan made a fine save from Ward when he cut in from the right, and Moores also shot wide when in a good position.


To counter this Wulfs changed their formation switching to a 3-5-2 and this nullified Stourbridge’s wide threat. Wulfs came more into the game and a fine move between Marsh and Webb forced a last gasp clearance for a corner, which was driven across and cleared following a scramble in the Stourbridge box.


Just before half time a defensive error by Lloyd gave the ball to Webb whose shot from 20 yards was only just wide, so the sides went in level at half time.


The second half started brightly, and immediately Wulfs won a free kick on the left. Webb whipped in the free kick and Richards was forced to make a good save when the ball was diverted goalwards.


However, on 50 minutes, Stourbridge took the lead when Ward picked the ball up wide on the right, beat his man marker Gutteridge for the only time in the game, cut in and fired in a tremendous shot from 22 yards which flew in off the underside of the bar.


Wulfs tried to hit back immediately and Bright and Marsh fashioned a chance on the right hand but the ball was scrambled away.


Stourbridge had a great chance to extend their lead when Smith was put clean through but Ryan made a fine double save and Pearson blocked a third goal bound attempt. The resulting corner was cleared up field and Marsh and Bright again combined well down the right before Bright threaded the ball through to Brookes who shrugged off a defender before firing home from 10 yards.


This seemed to unnerve Stourbridge and two minutes later Bright was fouled on the right hand corner of the box and Charlesworth’s low driven free kick was missed by everyone and nestled into the far corner of the net to give Wulfs the lead.


Wulfs then took control with the midfield duo of Wilkinson and Purdie not giving Stourbridge time to play and could easily have extended their lead when firstly Bright played in Brookes whose shot was well saved by Richards and secondly when Marsh played in Webb who shot just over.


Wulfs bought on Turner for Bright to shore up the midfield and Stour made three substitutions in an attempt to get back into the game and it almost paid off when Ryan made another fine double save from Moores and Morgan Parker.


Substitute Hanson also created a chance with a fine turn and shot which was again saved by Ryan, but Wulfs, well marshalled by Whatton, held firm and put the game to bed on 85 minutes when Webb was set free and brought down by the onrushing keeper. He got up to hammer the resulting penalty into the bottom corner and although Stour threw everything at Wulfs for the last five minutes, and should have scored when Hodgetts fired over, Wulfs ran out worthy winners in a fine game played by two very good sides.


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