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Paradise Lounge defend a Drayton Manor attack

A Paul Hill penalty proved to be the only goal of the game as Lichfield side Paradise Lounge earned an impressive result over Drayton Manor.

The popular centre-half, who has won Paradise’s players’ player of the year award for the past two campaigns, confidently converted from 12 yards after substitute striker Stuart Gauntlett was hacked down in the box.

Tamworth outfit Drayton Manor, who have enjoyed a couple of promotions in recent seasons, dominated possession in the first-half and looked the more likely team to take the lead at Elford cricket ground.

But it was the visitors who came closest to opening the scoring – James Coombes’ clever header crashing against the crossbar and bouncing off the line.

Paradise upped the tempo after the break with Sam Owen and new signing Adam Worthington excellent in the middle of the park.

With a quarter-of-an-hour left on the clock, a long ball from the back was chased by Gauntlett who was clattered in the area by the on-rushing goalkeeper.

Hill stepped up and made no mistake from the spot to stake his claim of becoming Paradise’s penalty taker on a permanent basis.

The Lounge nearly scored a second in the final attack of the game when Coombes’ chip fell inches wide of the far post.

Paradise player-manager Dale Harley was delighted with the victory. He said:

“Tonight’s friendly was always going to be a tough test – and that showed during the first half-an-hour as we struggled to get our foot on the ball and play it out of our own half.

“But we showed our true character and fighting spirit the longer the game stayed goalless. We grew in confidence and were rewarded with the penalty, which Paul put away.

“It was a great performance by the whole team and a very encouraging result against quality opposition.”

Paradise: Paul Webb, Lee Rafter, Paul Hill, Ben Lowe, James Wilkinson, Sam Owen, Nick Hill, Graham Welsh, Adam Worthington, Pete Burton, James Coombes. Subs: Ben Hartshorne, Jack Lowe, Stuart Gauntlett.

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