Home league match played on 10 December 2016.
Kicked off at 2:00 PM

Smithswood Firs entertained second placed Droitwich Spa at The Glades on a wet miserable day which saw The Lions and The Saltmen lock horns for the first time in their history.

Paul Ryder’s men were again struggling before the game with Zach Cogger, Henry Donaghey, Nathan Leek, Adam Rooke, Anthony Short, Troy Smith and Carl Thompson all out for different reasons leaving the home side with only fourteen players on the day with one of them ruling himself out shortly after kick-off.

Sam Hulme and Trea Bertie were both fit following last week’s injuries while Tyron Smith passed a late fitness test to partner Hulme up top. Khalil Harrison was fully recovered from his chest infection and took a place on the bench. The team was the same as last week with Richard Robinson the only change replacing the absent Carl Thompson.

Smithswood Firs Line-Up:

Rammal Robinson, Weeks, Richard Robinson
Anderson, Thomas (Capt.), Crawford, Bertie, Hewitt
Hulme, Smith

Subs: Harrison, Else, Ciesar

Smithswood started the better of the two teams and seemed to settle and adapt to the weather conditions quicker than Droitwich. Richard Robinson was back in defence after a few weeks off with injury and he made a big difference from the start with his organisation alongside Ash Weeks and young Rammal Robinson. The home side dominated possession but were restricted early on to long range shots which didn’t trouble Matt Oliver in goal. Dale Hewitt and Tyron Smith were the first to fire high and wide but the buildup play from the home side was excellent. The Saltmen had a chance of their own but Lewis Cottrill made a great save.

The last fifteen minutes of the first half saw both goals threatened more with the away side having most of the action at their end. Matt Oliver managed to keep Smithswood out with some great saves denying Curtis Thomas and Trea Bertie while Tyron Smith and Martin Crawford put chances just wide. They were almost punished for not taking those chances when a great move down the right saw the ball arrive at Luke Molloy’s feet but his first time shot hit the bar and went over.

Smithswood picked up where they left off with Curtis Thomas, Martin Crawford and Trea Bertie dominating in the middle of the pitch with all their chances coming through them. Dale Hewitt was getting in to some great positions on the left and causing Droitwich some real problems. He almost put his team in front with a surging run and shot. It whistled wide of the far post with the outstretched foot of Tyron Smith inches away as he tried to re-direct it in. Tyron Smith was extremely lively up front with his pace and both Smith and Hulme pressed from the front like last week and look to be forming a great partnership.

Ashley Weeks went close with a cross come shot which narrowly went over the bar while Aaron Anderson watched agonisingly as his long-range effort went narrowly wide. Droitwich had a great chance shortly after when Nick Seabourne snatched at a header putting it wide when he should have hit the target. It was a let off for the home side who reacted well as Droitwich started to come into the game more and were playing the ball around rather than looking for the front man with the long ball.

Aaron Anderson had another great chance and went even closer when he controlled the ball excellently wide right turning inside the full back and unleashing a left footed shot that was heading to the far corner from outside the area. Matt Oliver produced an amazing save to flick it over for a corner to deny Anderson as the home side pushed on for the goal.

Smithswood’s pressure finally paid off and it was worth waiting for as Sam Hulme beat one defender with his quick feet, stepped inside two others and hit a venomous strike across the keeper into the far post giving him no chance. They didn’t panic when the goal hadn’t come and had just kept playing their own game passing the ball around with quick movement and their hard work paid off with the goal.

Khalil Harrison and Chris Else came on to replace Aaron Anderson and Sam Hulme just after the goal and Smithswood seemed to be in control in the last ten minutes as they cleared a lot of long balls and played their football through the three in the middle. Trea Bertie had another effort superbly saved by the impressive Matt Oliver near the end as the game ended 1-0 to Smithswood Firs who thoroughly deserved their victory. Man of the Match could have gone to a few players with everyone playing so well but the Manager was impressed with Rammal Robinson who edged out Captain Curtis Thomas where Droitwich Spa opted for Thomas. From the home side there was only one choice for Droitwich and it was keeper Matt Oliver who was excellent all game.

Smithswood Firs move into a crucial part of their season with several games coming up against teams in and around them but two wins on the bounce now, a settled side and the high pressing football they are playing will have given them the confidence that they can go on a run now and start to move up the table and get away from the relegation zone.

Next up is a trip to Earlswood Town Saturday who are in good form themselves and are currently on a five-game unbeaten run.

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