On a beautifully sunny and warm afternoon we welcomed Declan Allen and his Shawbury side to Evans Park. Despite the intense heat at pitch level both sets of players contributed to an entertaining and competitive game played at a lively tempo. Some folk were still taking their seats in the main stand when just two minutes in Josh Wilson bent a delightful free kick up over the wall and into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area. Two keepers weren’t stopping that one!
Shawbury credibly dusted themselves off and looked to strike back immediately through the industrious Ryan Hadley who would be a threat throughout. The next quarter hour or so saw the hosts enjoy the lions share of possession and chances, appearing comfortably in control of proceedings. Nathan Scott on the right flank was proving a real handful for the visiting fullback and was a dollop of composure away from converting what would have been a delightful individual goal. His blasted finish at the end of a mazy dribble at pace, showing great tight control cleared bar, fence and county border.
It was however the visitors who struck next. Left winger Pratt showed superb feet and trickery taking on and beating Chris Anderson’s attempts to show him to the byline. He converted from the acutest of angles to level the affair.
It would take just five minutes for the hosts to reaffirm their lead. A well worked short corner between Shiekh Barrow and Josh Wilson resulted in the latter whipping a delightful cross to the back post where Kyle Wainwright adjusted his body to slam home. Some five minutes later and Wainwright was at it again, with Wilson once again at the heart of the creativity. Ben Wood played a nice exchange with Barrow circa 30 yards out, Barrow lobbed the advancing defender to find Wilson who squared for Wood who had continued his run. His outstretched left boot was enough to steer the ball into the patch of Wainwright who received with his back to goal, moved across his marker and found the bottom corner on the turn to end a lovely team goal.
With just five mins left before the break the visitors once again reduced the deficit. The lively right winger danced in from the touchline, was afforded too much space as he entered the Town penalty area and dispatched an accurate long range strike through the laces of his right boot. The daisy cutter went beyond the outstretched reach of Henry Smith in the home goal and nestled into the far corner to reduce the deficit to a single margin just before the HT whistle.
The second half saw more of the same and it was pleasing that those that came on maintained the high tempo and number of chances being created. It is sometimes the case that things drop off when multiple personnel are changed at once. In the 56th minute young Cydon Walker picked the ball up on the halfway line and carried it forward with pace. Manager Dom Heath had made a lungbusting overlap to the left which drew the defenders movement. Walker opted to strike from distance and despite the lack of pace on the shot, it snuck inside the sprawling keepers upright for to give the hosts a 4-2 lead.
Both sides went on to create more chances in what was an entertaining affair for our steadily increasing home contingent in the stand. This was Shawburys opening friendly and towards the end of the contest the energy appeared to drain from the legs somewhat. On this showing they'll do well as the movement and link up play offensively was at times very effective. We wish all associated with them a successful season.
The best bits of the game can be found on our YouTube channel 'Stafford Town TV' Just hit the link here: