8:23pm Saturday 18th February 2012
By Ian Morgan
Wellington 1 Cradley Town 2
PAUL Jones hit a stoppage-time penalty for Wellington in a West Midlands League Premier Division defeat this afternoon (Saturday).
But it wasn't enough to save Derek Williams' men who crashed to defeat on a cold and windy afternoon after letting in two first-half strikes from Jason Barton.
It could have been different for the hosts, however, had they taken their chances in the opening 15 minutes.
Wellington attacked up the slope and Matt Williams was foiled by Cradley goalkeeper Matt Jones after racing clear.
And the Wellington club captain also shot narrowly wide after being put through.
Cradley withstood the early pressure and took the lead against the run of play in the 17th minute.
A quickly-taken free kick on the edge of Wellington's box caught the hosts napping and Barton bundled the ball in the net from close range.
Aaron Morgan was a whisker away from levelling soon afterwards but Jones made a vital save to push the ball around a post.
Wellington went close to drawing level on a couple of occasions, including a header cleared off the line.
But Cradley doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time.
Wellington's defence gave Barton too much room and he lashed home a shot from the edge of the box.
Tom McLean fired into the Cradley side-netting before Wellington goalkeeper Dan Tecza made three fine reflex saves to keep his side in contention.
Cradley were well organised and looked comfortable for the majority of the second half.
Wellington, to their credit, refused to give up and scored a consolation in added time.
A home player was bundled over inside the area and Jones dispatched the spot-kick with confidence.
Cradley saw out the remainder of the five added minutes without any further alarms and deserved the points for a hard-working display.
Wellington: Dan Tecza, Sean Bowden (Will Burley 61), Nick Williams (Sam Archer-Plane 82), Andy Price, Dale Withers, Saul Thomas, Will Perkins, Aaron Morgan, Tom McLean (Mark Hole 74), Matt Williams, Paul Jones. Sub not used: Ed Perkins.
Cradley Town: Matt Jones, Brett Mander, Luke Guy, Sam Wilkinson, Karl Gardner, Rafael Griffiths, Sean Williams, Richard Taylor, Daniel Dickson-McKenzie, Matthew Bailey, Jason Barton. Subs: Ryan Brown, Leslie Palmer, Edward Flory, Adam Granger.
Booked: Wellington: Withers 57 min, foul; Burley 69 min foul.
Referee: Andrew Langsdon (Worcester).
Goals: Barton 17 min, 0-1; Barton 44 min, 0-2; Jones 90 min, 1-2.
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