Walsall Wood and Darlaston go head-to-head as Midland League title race hots up

Walsall Wood and Darlaston Town will face off tonight as the battle for the Midland League Premier Division title heats up.

Walsall Wood take on Darlaston tonight
Walsall Wood take on Darlaston tonight

Wood currently sit top of the league on 66 points, with Darlaston third on 62, and the two teams are now preparing for a crunch clash this evening.

Darlaston had an opportunity to gain more ground on the leaders at the weekend, too, but instead fell to a defeat against Stone Old Alleyians.

A David Ablewhite penalty after 32 minutes gave Stone the lead, before Finlay Pattison and Jack Bowater made it 3-0 in the second half.

Leo Gill's penalty for Darlaston in the 81st minute proved to be a consolation, as they suffered their first defeat since November.

Darlaston boss Dean Gill said: "I thought Stone were very good. I said after we beat them two weeks ago that they were a very good side and they confirmed that again. They have very good players all over the park and Sam Wilson is as good as any in this division at what he does.

"That said, we just did not get going and did not build any momentum for a sustained period. They did not let us, but no excuses and no reasons. Stone were better than us and are thoroughly deserving of the three points.

"Of course, I am disappointed with the result and our performance, but I cannot be disappointed with my players. They have been excellent all season.

"As a club and team in our first season at step five, we are truly over-achieving, and we know there will be blips along the way.

"Take nothing away from Stone, they were very good. It was not our day and that is football. We now have to prepare for another very difficult away game against league leaders Walsall Wood."

Darlaston missed their chance to close the gap after Wood drew 1-1 with Atherstone Town. The hosts took the lead, before Wood fought back with a goal from Hayden Purves.

Wood remain top with two games in hand over second-placed Lye Town, and one game in hand over Darlaston, heading into tonight's fixture.

Elsewhere in the league, AFC Wulfrunians drew 1-1 with Racing Club Warwick, Wolverhampton Casuals drew 1-1 with Market Drayton Town, while Lichfield City beat Uttoxeter Town 3-2 and Bewdley Town beat Whitchurch Alport 1-0.

In Midland League Division One, Bilston Town Community thrashed Haughmond 5-2.

Goals from Eesa Sawyers, Ethan Pearce and Jordan Smith-Williams saw the visitors race into a 3-0 lead.

Haughmond responded before Lewis Archer made it 4-1, and after the hosts found the net again, Dan Westwood rounded off the scoring as the game finished 5-2.

Another high-scoring affair saw Wednesfield draw 4-4 away at Droitwich Spa.

Wednesfield were winning 3-2 at half-time but after being reduced to 10-men were hit back by the hosts – and survived to take home a point. Rhys Horton picked up a hat-trick, with Jack Dew scoring the other.

There was a disappointing result for OJM Black Country, however, who lost 4-0 at home to Hinckley AFC – in what was an opportunity for OJM to push into third in the league.

Cradley Town picked up a crucial 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Smethwick Rangers, while Heath Hayes lost 2-1 to Shawbury United and Wolverhampton Sporting Community lost 2-1 to Chelmsley Town.

In the North West Counties League Division One South, player-manager Alex Curtis scored the winning goal as Brocton came from behind to beat Maine Road 2-1.

Francesco Frangillo scored for Maine Road in the first half, before Brocton fought back in the second 45.

Morgan Payne volleyed home in the 70th minute before a late 87th minute strike from Curtis – his first of the season – secured the points.

Elsewhere in the league, Eccleshall beat Stockport Georgians 1-0 and Stafford Town beat Rocester 4-3.

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