AFCW 2 W’ton Casuals 1

 

Nathan Rose-Laing spearheaded an AFC Wulfrunians victory as they came from behind to defeat 4th placed local rivals Wolverhampton Casuals 2-1 in what was a closely fought contest. Casuals had taken the lead in the early stages of the match through a curling free kick by Mark Bellingham, but a penalty by Wulfs’ captain, Jake Sedgemore, and a close range finish by Rose-Laing meant that it was Wulfrunians who came out on top.

 

Wolverhampton Casuals looked much the better side in the opening exchanges, having the first real chance within 2 minutes: Tom Maydew ran through one-on-one but Wulfs’ ‘keeper Danny Tipton won the battle of wits as the Casuals forward bore down on goal, getting a solid hand to the ball to put it behind for a corner. Casuals continued to dominate but constantly looked susceptible to a Wulfs counter attack; it was a counter attack of their own however, which led to them going ahead on 13 minutes. Bellingham took an aerial ball on the turn and beat Wulfrunians’ centre back, Dave Asbury, who pulled his shirt and fouled him. Asbury was booked and Bellingham stood over the free kick just to the right of the goal. Whipping his left foot round the ball, he curled it around the wall and past Tipton’s outstretched right hand. The Casuals continued to press after their goal, with Sean Williams floating a cross over towards the back post from the right forcing Danny Tipton into an attempted punch which he just about got enough onto to force away from his goal.

 

Wulfrunians managed to work their way back into the game through a few moments of majestic ball control from striker Nathan Rose Laing.  The Wulfs didn’t really deserve to go into half time still behind after seeing themselves have plenty of chances to equalise, the most notable falling to Richard Palmer whose header from Jake Sedgemore’s corner was scrambled off the line by Casuals’ Angelo Franco.

 

Neither side made a half time change, Wulfs certainly took the initiative at the start of the half, going on to sustain their dominance for lengthy periods throughout the half. They were level within just 4 minutes, albeit in controversial fashion. Casuals’ Jon Aldridge fouled Jordan Perks out on the right hand side of the pitch, Ashley Burd whipped in the resulting free kick which bobbled about in the penalty area before clearly striking Angelo Franco’s arm leaving the referee with no choice but to award the Wulfs a penalty. Jake Sedgemore calmly sent the keeper the wrong way and headed off in celebration, but had to be called back to retake the spot kick because the linesman had ruled that the goalkeeper was not ready for the kick to be taken. Sedgemore stepped up and again stroked the ball to the ‘keeper’s left. AFC pushed on after getting level and took the lead 13 minutes later through Nathan Rose-Laing. Burd was once again involved as his free kick was headed across goal by Dave Asbury before Rose-Laing arrived in the 6-yard box to apply a left footed finish.

 

Casuals’ goal scorer, Bellingham, was replaced by Leon Taylor soon after the restart, but it was Wulfrunians’ first substitution that had the biggest impact on the game. Replacing striker Tom Piggot on 71 minutes, Andy Thompson gave the Casuals the run around for the final 20 minutes, linking up elegantly with Rose-Laing who complimented him perfectly with a large repertoire of skills and excellent first touches. His presence upfront meant that the Wulfs could confidently hold on for the rest of the game, giving only one more opportunity to Leon Taylor whose rebounded effort in the 87th minute was chalked off for offside before the Wulfs saw out the final minutes without any further difficulties.