St Matthews and Paradise dominated a half each

Paradise Lounge’s three-match unbeaten run was brought to an end by Division 2 title contenders St Matthews.

The Burntwood side bossed the first 45 minutes with Paradise stopper Paul Webb keeping the visitors in the contest with several wonderful saves.

Ben Lowe did well to deny Andy Malkin when he slid the striker’s effort wide of the post just before the ball rolled over the line, but the defender soon went from hero to zero when pacy Malkin pounced on his mistake and burst through to open the scoring for St Matthews.

Richard Lyndon – sporting a snood – doubled St Matthews’ lead shortly before the half-time whistle with an exquisite chip which left Webb with no chance.

Paradise came flying out of the blocks after the break and, following the introductions of Ben Hartshorne and Nick Hill, dominated second-half proceedings.

Hill’s amazing 60-yard run deserved to be rewarded with a goal, while James Wilkinson missed a host of chances which in training he would have scored.

James Coombes plays a pass

James Coombes and Mark Morris combined to brilliantly clear four successive efforts off the line, but St Matthews wrapped up the win late on when midfielder Dave Bedford rifled into the bottom corner.

Paradise centre-half Lowe was gutted with his first-half error but delighted with the team’s second-half performance:

“It was a wet pitch, the ball rolled under my studs and good strikers are always likely to punish your mistakes. A change of football and a couple of subs and we were the better team in my opinion, so their third goal was a proper sucker punch. It was a thoroughly enjoyable game though and – if our second-half showing is anything to go by – we’ll soon get back into winning ways.”

Paradise: Paul Webb, Mark Morris, Paul Hill, Ben Lowe, Jack Lowe, James Coombes, Sam Owen, Graham Welsh, Stuart Gauntlett (Nick Hill), James Wilkinson, Steve Spencer (Ben Hartshorne).

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