Midland League, Division Three
Shipston Excelsior 0
WLV Sport 1 (Shaw 90)
Report by Craig Gibbons
A LAST-GASP strike from Marcus Shaw was enough to give visiting WLV Sport victory over a spirited Shipston Excelsior.
Neither side did not do enough in the final third throughout the 90 minutes to deserve to come away victorious, but it was Shaw who managed to find a way past goalkeeper Marcus Ireland on the cusp of stoppage time to give his side the three points.
Second-bottom Excelsior, who have not won a league game since 26th August, started brightly and the lively Shaye Eden was immediately causing problems down the right-hand side.
From one such move in the second minute, the tricky No.10 got in behind the WLV defence and his ball across the face of goal to the unmarked Jordan Allen was plucked out the air by goalkeeper Jack Gibbons.
Ten minutes later it was Eden’s turn to get an effort on goal, with his right-footed shot from the edge of the area deflected behind.
And with 18 minutes on the clock, Eden missed an even better opportunity to put Excelsior ahead, heading wide from six yards out after getting on the end of Matthew Partridge’s deep free-kick.
After a slow start, WLV eventually grew into the game and Aurimas Brazauskas had the visitors’ first strike on goal in the 28th minute, but his long-range effort was comfortably saved by Ireland.
Four minutes later it needed a goal-line clearance from Joe Marston to stop Jean Chin from giving the University of Wolverhampton side the lead before Louis Clifton saw a 25-yard free-kick sail over the bar moments later as both sides went into the interval on level terms.
After the break, WLV came out all guns firing, but could not find that killer instinct in the final third to make the most of their chances.
Tevon Campbell was the first to threaten just four minutes after the restart, but his effort was blocked and the recycled ball back into the area was blasted over from a tight angle by Chin.
Dalintin Tichia then saw a speculative volley comfortably saved by Ireland before Brad Fox headed over a glorious chance to put his side ahead on the stroke of the hour mark.
Excelsior continued to defend doggedly and a fabulous last-ditch tackle from Dale Simspon denied Benjamin Larrington from getting a shot off on goal from inside the penalty area with 18 minutes remaining.
The WLV onslaught continued as the clock ticked down, but it looked as though wasteful finishing would ensure the spoils would be shared.
However, Shaw had other ideas.
The visitors won a free-kick on the right-hand side in the 90th minute and the Excelsior defence failed to clear the delivery by Clifton, which allowed Shaw to turn and shoot into the bottom corner.
Ireland did manage to get a strong hand onto the shot, but it wasn’t enough and the ball nestled into the back of the net, leaving very little time for Excelsior to strike back.
The hosts did have a couple of dangerous free-kicks in stoppage time, but Eden and Alex Welsby saw their efforts fail to trouble Gibbons in the WLV goal.
EXCELSIOR: Marcus Ireland, Joe Marston, Matthew Partridge, Alex Seys (James Smith 70), Alex Welsby, Richard Moss, Dale Simpson, Alan MacKinnon (Sam Dexter 78), Connor Grant, Shaye Eden, Jordan Allen (Oscar Hair 64).
WLV: Jack Gibbons, Aurimas Brazauskas, Sam Round 90+1), Ben Finlan, Marcus Shaw, Tevon Campbell, Louis Clifton, Adeola Diya (Nhlalwenhle Siso 64), Brad Fox, Jean Chin, Dalintin Tichia, Benjamin Larrington. Unused sub: Ashford-Joseph Forest.