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Perfect send-off for James Baldwin as Shortwood United defeat Stratford Town

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 22, 2013

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SHORTWOOD United gave departing midfielder James Baldwin the perfect send-off ahead of his move into the professional ranks in Sweden.

The midfielder left the field to a rousing round of applause from his teammates and the Shortwood supporters ahead of his move to Ostersunds in the new year.

And Baldwin left with a win bonus as Wood completed a league double against last season’s Midland Alliance champions and a four-game winning streak in the bank too.

Wood flew out of the starting blocks and should have taken the lead in the first minute after Nick Hancock set Ross Langworthy free.

His cross was met by the onrushing Adam Mann, but the former Gloucester City man was unable to control his shot and it flew over the top.

Langworthy was to supply a stream of good crosses as the game went on. Kevin Slack shot across goal and then headed wide as Wood took control and it was 20 minutes before Stratford had a shot in anger with Sam Adkins firing over.

Stratford defender Callum Burgess almost scored a spectacular own goal from a Jake Parrott free kick before Shortwood took the lead after 26 minutes.

Matt Bennett fired in a cross from wide on the left that flew over keeper Adam Kemp and just under the bar.

Stratford then started to apply pressure of their own and Tom King did really well to pull out a corner that seemed destined to go straight in.

Wood started the second half brightly, but it was Town who had the first chance with Richard Gregory firing a fierce free kick wide of King’s post.

Slack delivered a dangerous cross that no Wood player could turn in, Langworthy mishit a shot in a good position and Mann forced Kemp into a save.

Stratford levelled after 61 minutes. A corner went to the near post and Gregory dived and sent a flick header past King

Shortwood were in no mood to drop points and with the busy Hancock and Parrott probing they started to create chances once more. Baldwin was narrowly wide with a header before Shortwood retook the lead after 70 minutes.

Tom King’s clearance bounced over a defender, Adam Mann controlled it and took the ball on before firing low past Kemp and into the corner.

Shortwood controlled the last 20 minutes and were largely untroubled. Sam Avery and Langworthy both went close, Hancock shot wide and Slack was only inches away.

Then in the last minute a great move gave Bennett a chance but he shot into the side netting as Kemp came to meet him.

Team: King, Avery, Bennett, Pritchett, Coates, Hancock, Baldwin, Parrott, Mann, Langworthy, Slack (Brown 85: Subs not used: Richards, Thomas, Sykes, Hoskins.

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