WHILE VAR dominates talk in football’s top flight, another new initiative introduced lower down the pyramid helped Shawbury United continue their promising start to the season.

The West Midlands League is this season trialling ten-minute sin bin periods for dissent – and United took advantage of one such instance to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 win against Worcester Raiders.

Just minutes after a Raiders player was sin-binned for showing dissent to a linesman in the Premier Division clash, Steven Nicholson converted a 76th-minute penalty won by David Jones to equalise.

Charlie Warren then made an immediate impact from the bench, firing home the winner three minutes later to give new-look Shawbury four points from their opening two games.

Manager Declan Allen, who took over in the summer, said: “It was probably a lesson to everyone there, that if you mouth off, you’re going in the sin bin and it could affect your team.

“Our performance was quite disappointing but we got the three points. Compared to the week before (a 0-0 draw at Wolverhampton Casuals), we were poor.

“But as soon as we scored the equaliser, we looked rejuvenated, we looked a completely different side and we started to play at a really high tempo.”

Shawbury, who visit Littleton on Saturday, have retained just two players – goalkeeper Tom Delamere and Liam Taylor – from last season’s squad.

But Allen said: “We were quite fortunate in that a lot of the new lads knew each other from playing together or playing against each other. They have gelled probably quicker than we expected.”

League restructures mean four promotion places could be available this year and Allen added: “Some teams are going for it and spending a bit of money.

“We have our own internal targets but we will wait until Christmas to see if we are on course to achieve them."