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Drama as OJM run ends with defeat at the death

OJM Black Country suffered last-gasp heartbreak on the road at rivals Hinckley in one of few clashes to beat the chill.

Midland Football League Division 1 fixture between Dudley Town & Smethwick Rangers, at The Guardian Warehousing Arena, Noose Lane, Willenhall.
Midland Football League Division 1 fixture between Dudley Town & Smethwick Rangers, at The Guardian Warehousing Arena, Noose Lane, Willenhall.

While frost ripped through the region and caused the postponement of a large percentage of Midland League action, a few matches did take place – with OJM frustrated to lose their 10-game winning run at the death.

They were beaten 3-2 in Leicestershire in a rollercoaster Division One affair in which it appeared they had fought back to claim a point.

Black Country star winger Zaqib Hussain took his impressive goal tally for the campaign to 25 with a penalty on the stroke of half-time putting the visitors ahead.

Hinckley turned things around on the artificial surface in Barwell with Chandler Pegg and Jack Edwards on target, but Hussain’s superb 25-yard free-kick picked out the top corner for 2-2.

However, the home side were not to be denied after a controversial penalty call deep into stoppage time for an alleged foul on Pegg. After lengthy protestation, Tom Weale buried the spot-kick.

OJM remain fourth, but Hinckley climbed to fifth, level on 44 points.

Dudley Town retained their two-point lead atop the standings with a tight 1-0 victory over Smethwick Rangers on the 4G in Willenhall.

Striker Kyle Montague was the match-winner from the penalty spot for the league leaders.

Harry Crook was clipped from behind midway through the first period and Montague slotted home from 12 yards for his 13th goal of the season.

Rivals Ashby Ivanhoe won elsewhere to trail by just two points.

Smethwick are 16th, but have a comfortable seven-point buffer to the relegation places.

Heath Hayes are 18th, just a point out of the drop zone, following a 3-1 defeat at mid-table Chelmsley Town. Joe Hartshorne netted for Hayes, who were level at half-time.

Just three games went ahead in the Premier Division and one involved runaway leaders Walsall Wood – who fell to just a second league defeat in 19 games this season.

The Wood were the wrong side of a 4-3 scoreline on a dramatic and bad-tempered afternoon on the artificial pitch in Castle Vale against Romulus.

The visitors were made to pay for an extremely sloppy start and found themselves 2-0 down at half-time.

Harry Harris’ side fought back commendably and levelled by the hour after goals from Daniels Gyasi and Jai Verma.

Wood again slipped behind midway through the second half before recent signing Joey Butlin made it 3-3 with 12 minutes left, before which Gyasi was dismissed.

But the contest was decided by another controversial penalty decision, where Luke Shearer was spot-on for Romulus from 12 yards. Kevin Monteiro was sent off in stoppage time for nine-man Wood, who tackle Dudley Town, from the division below, at home in Midland League Cup action tonight, should it survive the weather.

Elsewhere in the cup, Smethwick head to Lye Town.

Darlaston Town are up to third following a 2-2 draw at Studley.

Darlo cut the gap to Shifnal in second to five points with a useful share of the spoils in Warwickshire.

The visitors led at half-time through Rivel Mardenborough before Studley turned the scores around by the mid-point of the second half.

But Harry Higginson stepped up for Dean Gill’s injury and illness-depleted Town to grab a point inside the final 20 minutes.

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