AFCW 2 Heather St John’s 1

Newly promoted AFC Wulfrunians made a winning start to life as a Midland Football Alliance club as a brace from new signing Brad Lawley helped them to a 2-1 victory against Heather St Johns, despite having to play for almost an hour with 10 men after goalkeeper Danny Tipton was dismissed for handling the ball outside his penalty area.


They almost got off to the worst possible start as in the first minute Joe Price’s cut back from the left was only half cleared to Jimmy Slack and his shot from the edge of the area skimmed off the top of the crossbar.


After working their way into the game, Wulfs took the lead on 15 minutes when Scott Stevenson’s low free kick into the area was missed by everyone in the middle and Brad Lawley stooped to head home at the far post.


Wulfs started to control the game and almost extended their lead when Dave Howells exchanged passes with Craig Gregg before firing a 25 yard shot against the angle of the goal frame.


The game took a turn in the 34th minute when Wulfs ‘keeper Danny Tipton was sent off after handling the ball outside his area to deny a goalscoring opportunity. Nathan Jackson, making his debut for the club, had to take over between the posts but didn’t have anything to do as Wulfs held their lead until half time.


Heather came out more determined in the second half and drew level within a minute of the restart when Price cut in from the right and fired a low right foot drive into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.


The visitors were now in the ascendency with the Wulfs defensive unit protecting Jackson’s goal superbly as the visitors were limited to shots from Price and Slack that both flew well wide of the target.


After soaking up a spell of pressure, it was Wulfs who grabbed the crucial next goal after the marauding Jake Webb had won a corner. Again Stevenson supplied the cross which wasn’t properly dealt with allowing Lawley to force the ball home from close range.


Heather threw men forward in the final stages of the game but were met by stiff resistance from the back line of John Hill, Dave Asbury, Tom Griffin and Dave Howells, supplemented by Nathan Rose-Laing, and confident keeping from stand-in keeper Jackson as Wulfs held on to a well earned three points.


Special praise for the four new boys on show. Nathan Jackson was initially dominant at centre half and faultless when forced to go in goal, Brad Lawley capped an excellent midfield display with two vital goals, Scott Stevenson showed fantastic quality on the ball and Craig Gregg put in an excellent and tireless display up front.


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