FAIRFIELD VILLA tasted defeat for the first time this season as they let a two-goal lead slip against local rivals Droitwich Spa at the King George Playing Fields.
With both sides going into this game yet to lose a game in Midland League Division Two, it was Villa who took the lead in the 19th minute through Joe Brookes’ screamer before Ellis Blakemore doubled the advantage in the 38th minute with a calm finish from close range.
After the break, Spa found that extra gear and pulled themselves right back into the match in the 52nd minute when Nick Seabourne nodded home before James Lemon rifled in a wonderful shot from distance to level the scores with seven minutes remaining.
However, the drama wasn’t over as in the second minute of injury time Spa snatched all three points when former Villa midfielder James Ward prodded home from Jack Brighton’s cutback.
Despite their strong finish, it was Spa who started the game on the backfoot as Villa settled quickly before Bromsgrove Sporting old boy Connor Collins headed wide in the second minute of the game from James McKeon’s cross from the right.
Immediately up the other Aston Gunter probably should have opened the scoring but after collecting Brighton’s delivery, he could only fire aimlessly over the bar after neatly stepping past his marker on the edge of the area.
As the half progressed Spa began to give the ball away cheaply and allow Villa more time on the ball before Brookes fired a rasping drive from distance in the 17th minute which needed a good save from Oliver to stop it from nestling in the net.
But, from the resultant Stuart Hall corner, Spa failed to clear their lines and with acres of space in front of him, Brookes steadied himself and took aim before lashing home a powerful drive which arrowed into the top corner despite the desperate reaches of Oliver.
Villa continued with their game plan of keeping the ball and frustrating Spa but it took until the 38th minute for their dominance to pay off as Blakemore capitalised on more Saltmen woes.
Hall’s defence-splitting ball set Blakemore one-on-one with Oliver but his shot was well saved as well as his rebound, but it was a case of third time lucky as he rounded Oliver before firing past a couple Spa defenders to double the visitors’ lead going into the half-time break.
Whatever was said by Spa’s joint-bosses Wayne Oliver and Mark Owen in the Spa changing room at half-time spurred the Saltmen into action in the second half as they took just seven minutes to force themselves back into the game.
A delightful ball in from Jamie Smith was met by Seabourne who nodded home with ease after spotting Villa keeper Colin Matthews in no man’s land.
Villa had the ball in the net in the 67th minute but Alex Dugmore was called up for offside after prodding home Collins’ shot which was tipped onto the post by Oliver.
As the time began to run out, any hope of Spa drawing level looked dim as they were constantly left frustrated by the final ball but those frustrations turned into joy in the 83rd minute when Lemon struck home a sweet left-footed shot from the edge of the area of collecting Smith’s pinpoint ball from his own half.
Seabourne and Ward wasted chances to nose Spa ahead in the space of the next two minutes as the former saw his free header go into the grateful arms of Matthews before the latter guided a close-range effort over the bar.
Their pressure eventually paid off in the second minute of injury time when Brighton’s cutback across goal was met by Ward who powered home to send the Spa faithful and management team into sheer elation.
Substitute Bradley Burgess missed an open goal a minute later but it did not prove to be costly as a much-improved second half performance saw Spa walk away with the spoils in front of a 104-strong crowd at the KGPF.
The result sees Spa climb up to sixth in the table while Villa drop down to seventh.