Hanley Town’s march towards the Midlands Football League Premier Division title continued with an impressive 6-0 victory over the division’s basement club Bewdley Town, a result that puts them 15 points clear of second-place Lichfield City in the league table.
A goal just before the break from centre back Jayden Cotterill gave the hosts a slender lead going into the break but, Carl Dickinson’s men turned on the style scoring five more times in the second half, thanks to strikes from Theo Stair, Jake Avery, Aaron Cole and a brace from Charlie Walford to give Hanley a convincing victory.
The hosts had two glorious chances to open the scoring early on in the game. First of all, captain Louis Dodds saw his effort deflect wide of the goal as he picked up on a loose ball following a fine save by Joe Sidway to deny Dickinson. Shortly afterwards Avery put an effort over the crossbar, as Hanley looked to get on the front foot.
While at the other end, the visitors from Worcestershire had two half chances but, they were never going to trouble Kieran Harrison between the sticks for Hanley. Harrison showed his toughness as he donned a short-sleeved jersey on a day when temperatures struggled to get into double figures.
Reece Jones is Hanley’s top scorer this season with 14 goals in all competitions and, he nearly got his 15th on 14 minutes when he hit a half volley just wide of Sidway’s goal after a lovely knockdown by Dodds.
Then just a couple of minutes later Jones did well to beat defender Jordan Graham before playing the ball to Jake Twyford, the forward twisted and turned in the area before hitting a shot just wide of the far corner of the goal.
Despite being bottom of the league, Bewdley made life difficult for Hanley throughout the 90 minutes, by not allowing the hosts much time on the ball and, going on the attack whenever they could. One of those attacks almost caught Hanley cold when Issac Cooper hit a deep cross towards Harrison’s goal. The ball sailed over the crossbar and out of play but, it did have the former Kidsgrove Athletic goalkeeper briefly worried.
The deadlock was finally broken just a minute before the halftime whistle when a Kyle Stubbs long throw was headed across goal by Ryan Shotton which allowed Cotterill to head home from close range for what was his second goal of the season.
Visiting goalkeeper Joe Sidway earned his corn just after the interval when he made two fantastic saves to keep the score at 1-0. First of all, he denied Jones after the winger went on an impressive run down the left-hand side of the pitch. Then just moments later Dodds broke the offside trap and, looked destined to score but, Sidway was there again to make a fine save.
However, Hanley made it 2-0 on 66 minutes when Walford played a lovely ball over the top to Avery. The forward drove into the box before guiding the ball past Sidway. From that point, all doubts of Hanley not taking the victory were gone.
That was to be Avery’s last action in the game as shortly afterwards he picked up a knock after colliding with one of the advertising boards when chasing back a Bewdley attack. He was replaced by club legend Theo Stair and, it was Stair who would get goal number three of the afternoon on 77 minutes. Twyford got in the box before striking his effort against the post, Stair was quickest to the rebound and he tucked it home for 3-0.
Hanley made it four just two minutes later when Dodds, Walford and Josh Green all combined to allow Green to get into the area, he placed the ball across the face of the goal for Walford to blast home.
Although being four-nil down Bewdley continued to play football the right way and, could have had a goal back on 81 minutes when substitute Mike Bridges got a shot away but, he could only find the side netting.
Despite entering injury time Hanley still had two more goals to score. First Walford got his second of the afternoon when from the outside of the area he curled an effort into the top left-hand corner of the goal. Then Cole completed the scoring when he headed home Green’s cross in the fourth minute of injury time.
The result sees Hanley go 15 points clear at the top of the Midlands Football League Premier Division. It also means they scored more than 70 goals this season in all competitions- 57 of them now in the league.
After the game I spoke to two goal hero Charlie Walford.
I also spoke with Hanley Town player manager Carl Dickinson.
Hanley Town: Harrison, Green, Walford, Stubbs, Cottrill, Shotton, Jones (Campbell-Gordon, 63), Dickinson, Twyford, Dodds (Cole, 85) and Avery (Stair, 70).
Unused subs: Chapman and Sanders.
Bewdley Town: J.Sidway, Littlejohn, Graham, SummLL, Bakala, Beardstall, Cooper, Rudd, L.Sidway, Carpenter and Worthington.
Sub: Morris, Hadley, Bridge, Jones and Stockton.