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Paradise Lounge FC 5 Lichfield Crown FC 3

Paradise Lounge v Lichfield Crown

Paradise Lounge produced a brilliant performance to overcome city rivals Lichfield Crown in an eight-goal thriller at Beacon Park.

Within minutes of kicking-off, the Crown opened the scoring from the spot after Sam Owen was penalised for tripping their striker in the area.

Moments later Paradise were also awarded a soft penalty, but captain Paul Hill saw his effort easily saved by the goalkeeper.

Summer signing Lee Rafter, who was dominating the right flank with winger Pete Burton, levelled for the Lounge midway through the first-half when he powered an unstoppable header into the top-left corner.

Strikers Simon Owen and James Coombes celebrate Paradise's second goal

Shortly before half-time the hosts went ahead with a move straight from the training ground – Adam Worthington’s clever free-kick deceived the Crown wall and Simon Owen’s low cross was turned in for an own goal.

On the hour-mark, the visitors scored a controversial equaliser when Paul Webb’s punched clearance hit the referee and the ball dropped kindly into the path of one of their players who smashed in through a crowded box.

It seemed unlikely that would be the end of the goals and a double substitution up front for Paradise proved to be a managerial masterstroke.

Ben Hartshorne’s cross-cum-shot restored Lounge’s lead before fellow sub Stuart Gauntlett, wearing his bright banana boots, raced onto James Warburton’s magnificent through ball and the long-serving striker coolly chipped over the advancing Crown keeper.

Late on Graham Welsh’s driven left-foot volley from James Coombes’ pinpoint cross made it five for Paradise who then conceded a third in the final minute, but the goal was nothing more than a consolation.

Unsurprisingly, player-boss Dale Harley was delighted with the win over their Lichfield rivals in Division 2:

“Today’s game was a big one for us – we needed to build on last week’s first league win of the season, but being a local derby there was also added spice.

“We looked shaky early on and to be fair we deserved to be one-nil down, but as a team we showed our bouncebackability with everyone wearing the red and black shirt playing with pride.

“Even when they equalised we still plugged away and we ended up worthy winners. It really was a great all-round performance.”

Paradise: Paul Webb, James Warburton, Paul Hill, Ben Lowe, Lee Rafter, Sam Owen, Nick Hill (Stuart Gauntlett), Adam Worthington, Pete Burton (Graham Welsh), James Coombes, Simon Owen (Ben Hartshorne). Subs not used: Dale Harley.

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