FOOTBALL - Droitwich Spa 3-2 Gornal Athletic - The Droitwich Standard
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12th Aug, 2022

FOOTBALL - Droitwich Spa 3-2 Gornal Athletic

Aaron Sutcliffe 4th May, 2022 Updated: 6th May, 2022

DROITWICH Spa came from behind to beat 10-man Gornal Athletic 3-2 and move top of the table to give themselves the best possible chance of securing the title.

The Saltmen fell behind to Ethan Delaney’s early goal only for Scott Braiden-Smith to equalise and Connor Collins’ penalty to hand Spa the lead at the break.

And Gornal had captain Tom Rann sent off after his handball denied a clear goalscoring opportunity which led to the spot kick.

However, the visitors drew level through Brad Maslen-Jones’ free-kick only for Perry Moss to score the winner from close range in the second half at Walshes Meadow.

The result means Droitwich now sit top of the West Midlands Regional League Division One table having played all of their scheduled matches.

Andy Crowther’s side are waiting to discover the outcome of their postponed fixture against AFC Bentley after their opponents failed to fulfil the match.

Should Droitwich be awarded the points they will be crowned champions as they currently lead Gornal by two points with their title rivals set to play their remaining fixture this weekend.

However, Spa made a disastrous start when Delaney opened the scoring for Gornal inside the quarter hour mark after he was left free down the right-hand side of the penalty area and produced a low powerful finish into the bottom corner from 10-yards out.

Droitwich struggled to get the ball down for much of the first half with their first real chance falling to Collins who drilled a low effort against the outside of the post.

And Spa spurned a gilt edged chance to draw level when Perry Moss headed wide from close range at the back post from Haydn Morris’s inch-perfect cross from the left.

The Saltmen drew level shortly before half time when Braiden-Smith’s effort found the net after Gornal failed to clear their lines at a corner having blocked an effort on the line moments earlier.

And the game turned in Spa’s favour when Gornal captain Rann handled in the box with James Lemon waiting to pounce which left the referee with no choice but to show the visiting defender a red card.

Collins held his nerve to convert the resulting penalty with the final kick of the half and edge Droitwich into the lead heading into the break.

Despite Spa’s numerical advantage, Gornal drew level at the start of the second period when Maslen-Jones curled a free-kick past Spa keeper Matt Oliver from the left-hand side to stun the home side.

The game became a fiery affair for the next few minutes with crunching tackles flying in all over the pitch.

And Droitwich eventually regained the lead when Moss tapped home into an empty net from close range after Gornal keeper Callum Stokes could only parry Collins’ effort into his path.

Spa looked to extend their lead when space opened up for Haydn Morris on the edge of the penalty area only for the midfielder to blaze his effort high over the crossbar.

The chances continued to come the home side’s way when Collins kept the ball in the play before jinking inside of two defenders and curling a short over the bar.

However, Gornal remained a threat at the other end when Delaney controlled a ball on his chest before firing inches past the left-hand post on the turn.

Spa had a chance to wrap up the win late on when Morris was played through by Collins only to be denied by Gornal goalkeeper Stokes.

Droitwich survived a late scare when Oliver made a save at his near post before the referee’s whistle sounded with joyous celebrations ensuing on the Spa bench and between the players on the pitch.

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