Stafford Town 2 Bloxwich United 0

Tuesday 10th January 2012
Stafford Town 2 Bloxwich United 0
Walsall Senior Cup Quarter Final
At: Evans Park
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Admission: £4; Programme: £1 (28 pages)
Attendance: 45 (headcount)
Weather: mild, dry
Duration: first-half: 45:07; second-half: 45:34

Stafford Town booked their place in the Walsall Senior Cup semi finals, and a short trip to Brocton in March, with two second-half goals from Sam Agar. Extra time and possibly penalties looked a distinct possibility after a goalless and largely chanceless first half on an unusually mild January evening. However, Town’s leading scorer found the net on the hour and later added a second to take his tally for the season to 42 goals.

In all my years of watching football, I’d only seen one previous game in the Walsall Senior Cup - a first round tie at Audley which visitors Armitage 90 won 2-0. To be honest, I really though tonight was a first for me. Assuming Wikipedia was accurate in 2007, apparently the cup has been contested on 127 previous occasions with Rushall Olympic being the current holders. To reach the quarter finals, Stafford Town defeated Romulus and Darlaston Town while Bloxwich, given a First Round bye, beat Walsall Wood in the last round.

The programme editor highlighted in his editorial that Bloxwich (26 points from 17 games) went into the tie in ninth position in the Athium Midland Combination Premier Division table. Stafford Town (26 points from 21 games) stood in 16th position in the West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division table. Last season, Town and Bloxwich were in the same division before Bloxwich switched to the Combination last summer. I saw at home them back in August in the FA Cup against AFC Wulfrunians.

Stafford Town (in all red with black trim) got the game underway attacking the cricket ground end and few decent goalscoring opportunities were created during the first half. Worrying with no replay and the prospect of extra time and even penalties.

Joshua Jones got down the left and looked to impede a defender before striking a rising drive which the well-positioned Stafford keeper Andy Heal held. That first effort on target came in the 8th minute and it wasn’t until the 35th minute that Town tested Matthew Edwards in the Bloxwich goal. Mat Dockerty’s free-kick played forward into the area found Agar who shot straight at the Bloxwich keeper. Just before the break, Jack Milgate found Agar on the right who crossed low into the area but a defender made a vital block for the ball got to Craig Hulme.

After my usual half-time tea and chocolate bar, Hulme saw a decent shot blocked by the boot of Edwards within 34 seconds of the restart. Agar was soon going for gaol again with dipping shot just over the bar despite being marked by two defenders.

Eventually, it was Agar who broke the deadlock on the hour. Mark Johnson took the ball forward on the left and fed Hulme who in turn found Agar. The prolific striker turned inside the area and clinically hit home a low shot from eight yards out.

Bloxwich (in all blue) were told to “liven up, all of us,” and Josh Jones sent a left-foot shot over the bar. However, the Reds kept up the pressure and Agar saw an initial shot blocked by Jon Walker and Jack Milgate’s follow-up effort deflected wide off a defender. From the resulting corner, a header from Agar was cleared off the line by Adrian Jones.

During the second half, I got chatting to a spectator near to me at the back of the stand. He turned out to be Harry (aka ‘glossop terrace’ on the Non-League Matters Forum’) wearing a warm red Porthmadog hat and who had travelled down from Birkenhead.

We wondered if Bloxwich would snatch an equaliser to force extra time but those thoughts were eased in the 79th minute when Agar netted his second goal. Josh Anderson delivered a free-kick into the area from the left which Agar flicked home.

The Reds almost scored a third goal following a delightful move involving Mat Dockerty, Dave Woodvine and Agar. The ball fell to Hulme who saw a deflected shot hit the left-hand post.

With Brocton defeating Wolverhampton Casuals at the same time, Stafford Town will face the Badgers at Silkmore Lane in the semi-finals on Tuesday 12th March. The other semi-final is Chasetown v Ellesmere/Rushall.

1-0 Sam Agar (60)
2-0 Sam Agar (79)