18th Jan, 2020

Saltmen in the Hunt for three points after midweek abandonment

Ben Tyler 9th Jan, 2020

MARK Owen says his Droitwich Spa side are likely to be awarded the three points after a floodlight failure cut short Tuesday night’s fixture at Sikh Hunters.

The Saltmen were leading 2-0 in the West Midlands (Regional) League Division One clash at Long Lane Park with just 13 minutes left to play – thanks to goal-scoring contributions from James Lemon and Matthew Hunt after half time.

But with efforts to continue play proving futile, the two sides were forced to abandon the game.

Spa manager Owen shed some light on the situation, explaining: “The feeling from the ground was that because more than 75% of the game was played, the result should stand.

“But I don’t know completely, it will go to a league panel so we await the decision from them.

“In the first half it was a difficult pitch to play on with it being soft in places and the strong wind to contend with. The way we like to play was made very tough even though we had a lot of possession, but we didn’t test their keeper.

“We played better in the second half and got the goals, until the game came to an early end.”

It followed last Saturday’s 2-1 victory away to FC Darlaston for the league leaders, where a second-half Ben Tilbury strike earned all three points after an own goal in Droitwich’s favour was cancelled out before the break.

Spa controlled proceedings from the first blast of the referee’s whistle in Bilston, but were often unconvincing when it came to beating home custodian Aaron Morris.

Eventually, following a couple of saves from Matt Oliver down the other end, the visitors took the lead when Jordan Cox’s corner was diverted inadvertently into the net by Darlaston player-manager Mark Swann.

But five minutes later the scores were level when Michael Eagles found himself well-placed to help the division strugglers restore parity going into the break.

A second half littered with chances followed for the visitors, who reaped their rewards when Tilbury blasted into the far corner of the net with 15 minutes remaining.

While Connor Collins’ speculative effort from range crashed against the crossbar and out, Droitwich returned with a well-deserved three points.

Offering his thoughts on the game, Owen said it was the perfect example of why no team in the division can be underestimated by his high-flying side.

“Every team is fighting, from top down to bottom. I stressed this to the lads that there are no comfortable games in this league,” he said.

“At this time of year the pitches are soft and the games are more even because of it.

“We’ve got to ground results out every now and then. Last year we probably would have drawn that game, so overall we deserved the win, but it would have been nice to win more comfortably.”

A home game against seventh-placed Willenhall Town awaits this Saturday (3pm), with a fully-fit squad available to the Droitwich manager.

“Willenhall started with six wins from six but dropped off after that,” said Owen when asked about Spa’s next opponents.

“But they’ve still had some good results, albeit a mixed bag, so it could be a very difficult game.

“We’ll plan like we always do for it. It’s nice to be back at home and hopefully we get the win.”

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