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Jamie Denley
Wednesfield secure their spot in the Midweek Floodlit Challenge Cup final

Wednesfield secure their spot in the Birmingham Midweek Floodlit Challenge Cup final for a second consecutive season following victory against Dudley Town.

Wednesfield ran out 1-0 winners in the local clash at the Guardian Warehousing Arena, the visitors claiming bragging rights courtesy of Ashley Southall’s first-half strike.

A cagey start to affairs was somewhat to be expected with a place in the final on the line, Dudley’s Joe Scriven creating the first chance of the night as he fired a low ball across goal for Samuel Chukwurah to tap narrowly wide of the near post. The duo were at it again moments later, Chukwurah returning the favour with Scriven rising highest for the corner with his firm header straight down the keeper’s throat.

The hosts continued to push on in hopes of finding the opener, a golden opportunity falling to Connor Armstrong on the edge of the D, his free-kick crashing against the left-hand post while the Wednesfield keeper was left flat-footed.

The visitors were in the ascendancy as the half drew to a close, however, with Wednesfield’s no. 8 launching a dangerous free-kick in from the left, finding their no.9 with his header crashing off the post. Town failed to clear the danger and were soon punished for their mistakes, Ashley Southall bundling the ball home from close range to give the Cottagers a vital lead going into the break.

Neither side looked to assert themselves from the off in the second 45 with Town beginning to ask questions of the Wednesfield defence as we approached the hour mark.

Scriven continued to be at the heart of the Dudley attack, narrowly curling a shot over from distance before sending an inviting corner into the penalty area where Daniel Hadley’s header sailed just over the bar.

Substitute Daniel Danks provided an extra spark for the hosts in the final third, sending Scriven through on goal only to be denied by a smart stop by the Wednesfield keeper, sticking a leg out to deny the low, driven effort.

Danks soon after had a chance of his own with smart defending from a white and blue shirt to deny the Midland Football League Division One league leaders once more.

Resilient defending from the visitors meant there were little chances to speak of in the final chapters of the encounter with Dudley’s best chance of the final 15 arriving in the 98th minute.

A long throw from Jamie Beddall dropped dangerously into the Wednesfield box with a red shirt making contact with the loose ball but the shot under pressure was wasted, the effort scuffed wide of the target.

Victory against their league rivals sees the visitors make it back-to-back finals in hopes of defending their title after defeating Darlaston 2-0 at Damson Park last season. They will face FC Stratford in the final round of the Midweek Floodlit Challenge Cup.