Midland Football League Newsletter
30th March 2016
Coventry United issued an official club statement on Sunday
“It’s with mutual agreement that the CUFC Board and their first team manager have agreed to part company with immediate effect and the appointment of Terry Anderson as interim 1st team manager is confirmed”
“This difficult decision was made by the board based on the teams downturn in recent performances at this crucial stage of the promotion push”
“Edwin Greaves has been a loyal hard working manager and gained CUFC two back to back promotions and for these achievements, we thank him and will forever be part of the CUFC family”.
Latest reports from the FA indicate that over 14,000 tickets have been sold of the Hereford allocation for the FA Vase final – incredible!
Travels of the Press Officer
Friday 25th March
Barton United 3 BT 0 (Fazeley Charity Cup Final @ New Mill Lane)
My first cup final of the season and an opportunity to see if MFL Division 3 promotion challengers Barton United can pick up some silverware against BT from the Birmingham & District League. The game took place at New Mill Lane, the home of MFL Division 2 side Coton Green and after missing the turn first time round, a welcoming sight the floodlight pitch proved to be. Parking my car in the large car park behind the goal (trying to find a strategic place so that it wasn’t target practice), I took a wander around the ground to take in the atmosphere. The well appointed clubhouse was heaving with supporters (lots of green and white clad Barton fans) and I headed for the halfway line on the far side of the ground to get a good vantage point. When the sides came out, the green and white shirt of Barton United stood out which is more than I can say for their numbers. As a seasoned radio commentator and sports reporter, there is nothing worse than shirts with unidentifiable numbers. The Barton shirts are now in my top three of indistinguishable numbers – sort it out, please! BT created the first real chance of the game in the 4th minute with a free-kick being volleyed over but the game soon established the pattern we were to see for the full 90. A free-kick for Barton caused panic in the BT defence and they were happy to clear for a corner. The opening goal came in the 20th minute when a well-worked move down the left-hand side saw Richard Holmes run on goal and his shot was deflected past the BT keeper and into the net. Barton continued to pile on the pressure but they couldn’t convert their chances. Prolific striker Peter Martin continued to strive for a goal and his shot on the turn was just off target.
Barton started the second half the way they finished the first and grabbed a second three minutes when the ball was played across the box from the right and Anthony Warrington was on hand to turn it home. A fantastic break from Barton saw Craig Swinfield’s shot heading for the corner but for a fantastic fingertip save from the keeper. Barton weren’t to be denied and goal number three was turned in from close range by Earl Grant. It was all Barton and Chris Francis saw another effort well saved by the keeper. Martin shrugged off two defenders and raced through but this shot was well saved again. BT made rare incursions but never really threatened the Barton goal. A long ball from Grant found Martin but he pulled his shot wide. Martin was again through on goal, beat the keeper but a defender raced back to clear. Jonathan Douglas saw a shot well saved but it mattered little as Barton deservedly lifted the silverware. A great game to watch and some super performances from Barton – Jonathan Douglas and Ross Burr were commanding at the back, skipper George Stack controlled things in the middle of the park, and up front, BT had no answer to Peter Martin. A special mention for Earl Grant who appeared to play in every position possible apart from goalkeeper, and I reckon he could’ve done that too! The question now is – can Barton make it a double and win promotion?
Saturday 26th March
Stafford Town 1 Southam United 0
Another relegation zone scrap this time at the bottom of Division 1. Southam United have lost nine on the trot leaving them marooned in bottom place. Stafford Town had moved well away from the bottom but a run of poor results and improved form from Bolehall Swifts means that The Reds are just one place above the relegation zone. Easter Saturday had brought some filthy weather to the Midlands and with rain, gale force winds and the position of the teams, a classic was not anticipated. Tom Vaughan had the first opportunity for Town but his shot was saved by Matt Archer. Jordan Featherstone beat his defender and forced Richard Stone into a save at the other end. The game was littered with mistakes and the conditions were certainly not helping. A piece of real quality almost broke the deadlock for Stafford. Dan Nowell picked his spot from 25 yards and let fly but his shot cannoned off the crossbar and Spencer Gunnell couldn’t convert the rebound. Chris Morris on the right-hand edge of the area beat the advancing Archer but the ball drifted agonisingly wide. Just before the break, Morris saw his shot saved as the teams went into the break level.
The impressive Featherstone had an early opportunity for Southam but his effort was comfortably saved by Stone. A shot from Vaughan took a slight deflection which was enough to send it past the post. The woodwork again saved Southam just after the hour when Gunnell’s cross was headed goalwards by James Keller hitting the outside of his own post. Nowell went close again for Town putting his shot over the bar. The opening goal came in the 69th minute. A fine run into the box from Paul Govier, saw the ball played to the left to Jon Govier whose shot was well saved by Stone. With Paul Govier lying injured in the box, Town broke quickly. A two on one situation developed with Gunnell the wrong side of the Southam defence. He laid the ball into the path of Dan Jones who sidefooted home. Southam were incensed that the referee hadn’t stopped the play for the injury – the sort of decision that goes against you when you are at the bottom. Southam did respond positively with Featherstone again forcing a save from Stone. Gunnell was given acres of time and space by the Southam defence and after beating numerous defenders his shot from a tight angle hit the outside of the post. Town should have made it safe with four minutes to go when substitute Declan McMahon beat Archer but missed the target.
A vital three points for Stafford but still some way to go if they are to avoid finishing in the bottom two. Southam battled hard and will feel hard done to coming away from the game with nothing. If they are to get away from the bottom, they will need to start taking some of their chances.
Monday 28th March
Brocton 3 Boldmere St Michaels 1
Along with 1,500 others, I was anxiously keeping a close eye on my Twitter feed to see if Alvechurch had beaten Storm Katie to enable them to entertain Hereford. Alas, it wasn’t to be so an alternative had to be found. With question marks over travelling conditions (floods, trees down etc), I decided to stay close to home. Confirmation that the Silkmore Lane pitch had drained well meant a 25-minute journey up the M6 to Stafford and Brocton FC. The Badgers and visitors Boldmere St Michaels had flirted with the relegation zone earlier in the season but improved form and results from both meant they were safe. Brocton had an early shout for a penalty when Dan Lomas’ cross appeared to strike a Mikes' hand but the referee waved away the protests. Given the amount of rain overnight, the pitch was playing remarkably well but neither side made any real inroads. Anthony Fitzmaurice created an opening for himself driving forward but putting his shot wide of the target. Fitzmaurice, or rather his backside, was in action at the other blocking a fierce drive from Gary Fife. Boldmere went close to opening the scoring in the 29th minute when Harry Craven’s shot on the turn was hacked off the line by Ben Douglas. Brocton took the lead in the 36th minute and there was more than a little controversy about the goal. Paul McMahon challenged Dom Perkins for the ball. Some would say he used his strength, others (including me) would say he shoved Perkins in the back, but either way he came away with the ball and lobbed Sean Butler for the perfect finish. Three minutes later, it was two. Perkins had decided to have a ‘conversation’ with McMahon, and while he was otherwise engaged Jack Edwards broke through the defence and finished superbly. On the stroke of half-time, Charlie Morris went close for Boldmere, his shot just over the bar.
Boldmere were back in the game 10 minutes after the break. A free-kick was floated into the area, and Craven headed home beating Callum Barrett to the ball. The match official were clearly upsetting the Boldmere management and players with every decision against them seen as an injustice. Edwards should have scored his second in the 61st minute but his header was weak and directed straight at Butler. Barrett made a fine save to thwart Morris but it was the home side that extended their lead in the 76th minute. Lomas played the ball down the line to Edwards who ran into the area. His initial shot was blocked back into his path and an inch perfect cross found McMahon who stooped to head home. An excellent challenge in the middle of the park by Charlie Jones saw him come up with the ball and hit a goalbound shot which was well saved by Butler. The Mikes had claims for a penalty waved away after a challenge in the air went unpunished. In stoppage time, Joe Smith headed wide when he should have hit the target but this wasn’t the Mikes day and Brocton ran out 3-1 winners.
Wednesday, March 30th
AFC Wulfrunians 1 Heanor Town 1
Games are coming thick and fast now and a rare match at Castlecroft on a Wednesday evening is tonight’s attraction. Both AFC Wulfrunians and Heanor Town are without a number of key players meaning the team sheet bearing little resemblance to what would normally be expected. The game started slowly with the Wulfs keeper, Josh Moreton called into action in the 10th minute to thwart Arash Abdollahi. Wulfs went close in the 17th minute when Joel Ayettey controlled well and saw his shot squirm away from Joe McCormack but the ball was cleared from danger. Abdollahi wasted a great chance for Heanor three minutes later, beating Moreton but taking too long allowing the defender to block. Wulfs went close again in the 28th minute. Craig Gregg’s shot was saved by McCormack, Gregg’s follow-up was also saved before teeing up Jake King, and his goalbound shot was cleared off the line by Greg Marriott. Wulfs were having a decent spell and Jordan Perks beat 2 defenders before seeing his shot saved at the near post. The spell of pressure paid off for Wulfs as they took the lead in the 30th minute. Karl Demidh gave away possession in midfield and King ran free down the left and crossed into the box where Matt Ellis sidefooted home. Wulfs keeper Moreton almost gifted Heanor an equaliser when he flapped at a long ball into the box from Nick Hall. Jake Sedgemore came to Wulfs rescue clearing a header from Hall off the line and then King saw his shot saved at the other end after a quick break from the home side. Ayettey should have made it 2 just before the break, racing clear on goal but McCormack saved well. When the ball came back to the striker he slipped as he tried to kick it and the chance had gone. In stoppage time, Ryan Seale struck a shot from 20 yards which Moreton did well to save.
The second half took some time to get going. In the 61st minute, Ayettey beat McCormack to the ball on the edge of the area but his header lacked sufficient power to cross the line and Heanor cleared. Chris Bettney was becoming more and more involved for Heanor and his shot on the turn was just wide. A good move from Wulfs down the right ended with a Gregg cross into the path of King whose first-time shot was into the midriff of McCormack. McCormack again excelled saving well at the feet of King as Wulfs looked for a second. King was involved in the Heanor equaliser in the 76th minute. His wild clearance was straight underneath his own bar and when the ball dropped into the area, Hall hammered it into the roof of the net. There was almost a calamitous own goal at the other when Seal knocked the ball towards his own goal but the young defender managed to hook the ball off the line. Moreton was forced into a brave save at the feet of Matt Harris and McCormack saved well at the feet of Webb. In stoppage time, Demidh curled a free-kick goalwards but Moreton saved well. The final word went to Ayettey who was again off target after King’s initial shot had been blocked.
Over the 90 minutes, Wulfs had the better chances but failed to take them. Heanor can be pleased with the performances of some of their youngsters – Substitute Jack Warner looks an exciting prospect – as they battled for their point.
Alvechurch remain 5 points clear thanks to an 86th-minute winner from Sam Williams against Heanor Town. Church contrived to miss two more penalties but on this occasion, it didn’t cost them any points. Hereford warmed up for their top of the table clash at Alvechurch with a 7-0 victory over Bardon Hill at Edgar Street. Mustapha Bundu was the star man scoring 4 times as the Bulls improved their goal difference to a massive +72. Sporting Khalsa are up to 3rd following a 2-0 win at Long Eaton United. With both of the top two to play, Khalsa will undoubtedly have a big say in the destiny of the title. Shepshed Dynamo drop to 4th after losing in a 5 goal thriller at Walsall Wood, Joey Butlin with the decisive goal. At the bottom of the table, Coventry Sphinx climb out of the bottom three thanks to a Jackson Downie penalty giving them a 1-0 win at home to Stourport Swifts. Continental Star couldn’t build on their midweek point, going down 5-0 at Boldmere St Michaels for whom Dom Perkins scored twice. Dunkirk are now 11 points away from safety after they went down 2-1 at Highgate United. Lye Town move up to 12th in the table with another good win on the road, 3-0 at Coleshill Town. Brocton came away from Loughborough University with all 3 points following a 2-1 win, three draws and two wins from 5 successive away games. A single goal from Jamie King gave AFC Wulfrunians all 3 points at Rocester.
Storm Katie knocked out 5 Premier Division games on Bank Holiday Monday including the top of the table clash at Lye Meadow between Alvechurch and Hereford. Sporting Khalsa moved to within 10 points of Alvechurch with a 1-0 win at Westfields. Despite being reduced to 10 men when Lee Wherton was red carded, Khalsa took all 3 points with a goal from Matty Gardner. Second bottom Dunkirk picked up a point in a 1-1 draw at home to Long Eaton United. Coventry Sphinx stay just outside the bottom three but they suffered a heavy 6-3 defeat at Coleshill Town. Danico Johnson and Mykel Beckley both scored twice for the home side who remain in 8th place. Brocton made it 6 games unbeaten with a 3-1 win over Boldmere St Michaels at Silkmore Lane, veteran Paul McMahon with a brace. In front of a good Bank Holiday crowd of 201, AFC Wulfrunians and Rocester drew 1-1 at Castlecroft. On Wednesday evening, Lye Town moved up to 9th place in the table with a 4-0 win at Continental Star, Ryan Rowe with a couple. AFC Wulfrunians and Heanor Town, both shorn of a number of players, fought out a 1-1 draw at Castlecroft.
Could Easter Saturday turn out to be a pivotal day in the destiny of the Division 1 title? Nuneaton Griff are the new leaders following a 4-1 victory at Littleton. Goals shared around the team and a massive positive goal difference have enabled Griff to become serious title challengers. Previous leaders Bromsgrove Sporting drop to 3rd following a thrilling 3-3 draw at Studley. The Rouslers went into a 2 goal lead but a double from Daniel Stokes saw the home side take the lead only to be pegged back at the death. Coventry United took the lead at Heath Hayes in awful conditions but two second half goals from the hosts condemned United to defeat and they sit in 3rd place. The battle to avoid relegation has intensified in recent weeks. Two of the bottom three met at Evans Park and the points went to Stafford Town with a 1-0 win over Southam United. Heather St Johns moved out of the bottom two with an excellent 2-0 win at Cadbury Athletic. Despite a 5th game unbeaten, Bolehall Swifts drop back into the bottom two following a 3-3 draw at home to Racing Club Warwick, Wade Malley with two more for the Racers. Pelsall Villa are one of four clubs separated by just one point, and the point they gained in a 1-1 draw at Lichfield City could be invaluable at the end of the season. Hinckley AFC had to come from behind at home to Pershore Town, eventually running out 3-1 winners. Leicester Road and Pilkington XXX shared the points and 4 goals at Leicester Road Stadium. Atherstone Town had an excellent win on their travels beating Coventry Copsewood 2-0 at Allard Way.
Bromsgrove Sporting regained top spot following a 1-0 win at Pershore Town in front of a bumper crowd of 387. Sean Brain bagged the only goal in the 13th minute to give The Rouslers a 2 point lead. Former leaders Nuneaton Griff were involved in a thriller at home to Leicester Road. Coming back from a goal down, two Josh Ruff goals gave Griff the lead but Amarvir Sandhu scored a late equaliser to grab a share of the points. At the bottom, Heather St Johns drop back into the bottom two following a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of tenants Hinckley AFC. Bolehall Swifts continued their remarkable run of form with a 3-0 win at Atherstone Town. Swifts are now 16th and 2 points ahead of the drop zone after 6 games unbeaten. Another side unbeaten in 6 are Heath Hayes and they are now joint 5th after a 4-2 win at Lichfield City, Joe Pickering with a brace. On Wednesday, Hinckley AFC climbed into the top 4 with a 4-0 win at Lichfield City, Ryan Seal with two penalties.
Chelmsley Town are back on top of the table following a 2-1 home win over Rostance Edwards, Mitchell Thompson with both the goals. Two goals from Matt Lewis helped Sutton United beat Fairfield Villa and move up to 56th in the table. Hampton remain in relegation trouble following a 1-1 draw at home to Austrey Rangers. Knowle and Coton Green fought out a goalless draw at The Robins Nest.
Bank Holiday Monday proved to be a complete wash out for Division 2 with all 5 games postponed.
Leamington Hibernian opened up a 4 point lead at the top of the table with a 1-0 win at promotion rivals Alcester Town, Luke Swinnerton with the goal. Smithswood Firs were the big winners in the chasing pack, an Aaron Anderson goal giving them a 1-0 win over AFC Solihull moving them up to 4th with 6 games in hand. Northfield Town are up to 5th with a 2-0 win at Perrywood. 3rd placed FC Stratford fell further behind the leaders with a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Inkberrow for whom Sean Parish scored twice. Burntwood Town completed a quick double over Badsey Rangers with a 2-1 win at Badsey. Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons edged out Coventrians 1-0 while it was the same scoreline at Shipston Excelsior as they beat Enville Athletic.
Leamington Hibernian extended their lead to 7 points with a hard fought 2-1 win over Northfield Town. Two goals from Dan Russell helped Smithswood Firs to a 3-1 win at Burntwood Town. Firs are now 3rd with 4 games in hand on second-placed Redditch Borough. Perrywood moved a point further away from the bottom with a 2-2 draw at Inkberrow. Shipston Excelsior had a good away win, 2-1 at Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons which confirms their 8th position.
Les James Challenge Cup
Two goals from Mark Bellingham sent Paget Rangers through to the semi-final with a 2-1 win at Feckenham. They will meet Knowle in the semi-final. Waiting for the winners in the final are Alvis Sporting Club who overcame a 1-0 deficit to beat Droitwich Spa 2-1.
Barton United lifted the Fazeley Charity Cup after a comprehensive victory over BT. The 3-0 scoreline barely does justice for the total dominance showed on Friday at New Mill Lane. Nuneaton Griff are through to the final of the Birmingham Midweek Floodlit Cup following a 3-0 win at Smethwick Rangers.
Cadbury Athletic 2 Gresley 1
Continental Star 3 Rocester 3
Coventry United 1 Lichfield City 1
Evesham United 0 Solihull Moors 6
Romulus 1 Coleshill Town 3
Coleshill Town 4 Cadbury Athletic 1
Rocester 0 Lichfield City 1
Anstey Nomads 0 Sutton Coldfield Town 2 (U21N)
Tipton Town 1 Walsall Wood 2 (U21N)
Gornal Athletic 1 Heath Hayes 2 (Bowl)
H.O.W. Academy 0 Tamworth 2 (Bowl)
Leamington 0 Bedworth United 5 (Bowl)
Heath Hayes 3 Anstey Nomads 1 (U21N)
Joel Mills Hereford 44
Craig Bannister Sporting Khalsa 39
Lei Brown Highgate United 28
Jamie Cuss Westfields 27
Tony Clarke Lichfield City 36
Luke Shorthouse Nuneaton Griff 36
Josh O’Grady Coventry United 26
Luke Richards Hinckley AFC 25
Chris Lloyd Chelmsley Town 38
James Lemon Droitwich Spa 36
Mark Bellingham Paget Rangers 28
Dildale Linton Alvis Sporting Club 22
Matt Layton Alcester Town 30
Jak Albutt Redditch Borough 28
Peter Martin Barton United 27
Ashley Wilkes FC Stratford 23
Three games on Thursday night as teams play catch up following the horrendous winter. Hereford face the long journey to Long Eaton United looking to close the gap on Alvechurch at the top of the table. When the two sides met back in October, Hereford won it with a single goal – they would settle for the same again. 3rd placed Sporting Khalsa can close the gap to 7 points should they beat relegation-threatened Coventry Sphinx at the Aspray Arena. Walsall Wood have eyes on a top 5 finish and they welcome Rocester to Oak Park.
On Saturday, the top two have away trips to sides struggling near the foot of the table. Leaders Alvechurch travel to Sphinx Drive to face a Coventry Sphinx side playing their second game in 3 days. Hereford have one of their longest journeys of the season as they head to Nottingham to face 2nd bottom Dunkirk, a repeat of the opening game of the season which the Bulls won 4-1. 3rd placed Sporting Khalsa are off to Church Lane for a game against mid-table Boldmere St Michaels. All Khalsa can do is keep winning and hope the pressure begins to tell on the top two. 4th placed Shepshed Dynamo are too far adrift for a promotion push but a top four finish is the obvious target. They welcome 10th placed Rocester to the Dovecote. Heanor Town have had an excellent first season in the MFL and they travel to Westfields eyeing a top 5 finish. At the bottom, survival is looking unlikely for Continental Star and they probably need to win most of their games starting this week at Dales Lane against AFC Wulfrunians. Bardon Hill are battling to finish out of the bottom three and with games in hand on Coventry Sphinx, they can make a significant step to safety with a win at Stourport Swifts. Quorn are far from safe particularly if Coventry Sphinx and Bardon Hill get on a run. They have a tough trip to Loughborough University themselves comfortably in the middle of the pack. Two teams that will be disappointed with their league positions are Coleshill Town and Long Eaton United and they meet in a game that has goals written all over it at Pack Meadow. Highgate United are another side that can realistically aim for a top 5 finish and they travel to Stourbridge Road to face Lye Town, who have won 6 of their last 7.
Two games on Thursday night and both affect the bottom of the table. Bottom club Southam United are at home to Atherstone Town with 7 points between them and safety. Pelsall Villa are one of three clubs on 24 points and will be hoping to get something from their trip to Studley.
On Saturday there is a fascinating clash at Rene Road between in-form Bolehall Swifts and league leaders Bromsgrove Sporting. 4 weeks ago, you would think this was a formality but not anymore – crucial for both teams. Coventry United have dropped to third and this has led to the departure of manager Edwin Greaves. How will the side react to this – a trip to relegation-threatened Stafford Town should give us some answers. The big game at the bottom sees the bottom two go head to head at St Johns Park. If Southam United are to pull away from the bottom a win at Heather St Johns is a must. Pelsall Villa are another side desperate for points and they welcome Pershore Town to The Bush Ground. Heath Hayes have been in excellent form since the turn of the year and they will be hoping for another win at home to Atherstone Town. Leicester Road have made a favourable impression in their first season in Division 1. They travel to 5 Acres to face 9th placed Littleton. Racing Club Warwick are in tremendous goal scoring form and they welcome Studley to Townsend Meadow. Cadbury Athletic made an excellent start to the season but their form has dipped with nine successive league defeats. They will be hoping to arrest the slide at Coventry Copsewood. Lichfield City’s promotion push faded after Christmas but they are still striving for a top four finish as they travel to Pilkington XXX.
On Thursday night, promotion challengers Alvis Sporting Club host bottom club Earlswood Town, a win would take them to within 4 points of leaders Chelmsley Town.
Earlswood Town are back in action two days later when they host 7th placed Coton Green. Paget Rangers are on an excellent run of results and they travel to Fairfield Villa looking for their 8th successive league win. 2nd bottom Feckenham are 4 points away from safety with 4 games in hand and they travel to Barnt Green Spartak looking for the three points which could kick-start a run away from the drop zone.
Leamington Hibernian have opened up a 7 point lead at the top and they travel to Hall Drive to tackle lowly Enville Athletic. Redditch Borough have been in tremendous goalscoring form which doesn’t augur well for host Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons. Two sides who have seen their promotion challenges fading in recent weeks are Alcester Town and FC Stratford and they meet at Old Stratford Road. Barton United get back to league action after tasting cup glory last week with Badsey Rangers the visitors. The bottom two lock horns at Neel Park with Perrywood at home to AFC Solihull. Shipston Excelsior have won 5 on the spin and they take this record to Burntwood Town. Elsewhere it is 12th versus 9th as Coventrians host Inkberrow.
Presidents Cup Semi-Finals
It’s the last four of the Presidents Cup with three of the four protagonists in the thick of the Division 2 promotion race. Chelmsley Town meet Droitwich Spa and when the two sides met in the league 4 weeks ago, it went the way of Chelmsley with a 2-1 win. In the other semi, Alvis Sporting Club will be hot favourites as they travel to Hampton. Alvis’ recent cup form is poor and this must give Hampton encouragement.
Challenge Vase Semi-Final
Two of the Division 3 promotion candidates meet at The Mackadown Stadium as Smithswood Firs host Northfield Town with the winners meeting Redditch Borough.
Midland Football League Newsletter
23rd March 2016
Congratulations to Hereford FC who reached the FA Vase final in their very first season. A trip to Wembley on May 22nd is a reward for the dedication shown by many people in not letting their football club die. Wembley officials today confirmed that as of Wednesday morning, over 6,500 tickets had been sold to Hereford fans in just 48 hours for the FA Vase Final on 22nd May.
Supporters can purchase tickets through the Wembley website, or by phoning the Wembley Box Office on 0844 826 2010.
It is expected that Hereford will have an allocation of around 15,000 and they are certain to be gone very quickly. Hopefully, players, supporters and officials of other MFL clubs will take a trip to Wembley to cheer the Bulls on to success.
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday 19th March
AFC Wulfrunians 0 Alvechurch 4
With Hereford on FA Vase duty, Alvechurch can go 5 points clear if they win at Castlecroft. Following a 1-0 defeat in midweek at Boldmere, Church needed all 3 points to put pressure on the Bulls with the big Easter Monday head to head just over a week away. Wulfs have been hit by injuries in recent weeks and had no fit strikers available for the game. The visitors could have been ahead inside 13 seconds, Josh March hitting a volley on target which Josh Moreton saved comfortably. Jordan Nadat found space in the 2nd minute but shot wide when he should have hit the target. Alvechurch took the lead in the 6th minute when a good move down the left saw March glide into the area and hammer a shot past Moreton. In the 10th minute, a flick on from James Spray sent Nadat clear but Moreton did well to block the forward. Nadat, a thorn in the side of the Wulfs defence, showed some great strength but missed the target with his effort. Spray, a recent signing from Lye Town, then forced a decent save from Moreton as Alvechurch dominated proceedings. The second goal came in the 17th minutes, March setting up Nadat and the shot evaded Moreton who perhaps should have done better. Spray again forced a save from Moreton before sending March clear but his shot hit the side-netting. Nadat upset the home supporters by throwing himself theatrically to the ground in the vain attempt to win a penalty however the referee was having none of it much to Nadat’s disgust,
There was no change to the tempo in the second half with Alvechurch in total command. In the 52nd minute, the linesman on the far side flagged for a penalty following a challenge on Nadat but the referee waved away the flag and waved play on – a strange decision. Nadat again forced a save from Moreton but he should have done much better in the 55th minute heading a Chris Field shot over the bar. Alvechurch scored their third in the 58th minute when Spray picked his spot and curled an exquisite shot into the corner. Spray was then off target with a header from a Leigh Downing free-kick. Danny Ashton was next to try his luck with a shot which just cleared the crossbar. With 5 minutes left on the clock, the visitors got their 4th through the prolific Karl Edwards, in the right place to finish after good initial work from Connor Deards. There was still time for Dave Bellis and Edwards to go close as Church moved 5 points clear at the top of the table. A comprehensive win for Alvechurch who probably should have had more. The addition of James Spray to their squad is a significant and the former Lye man had an excellent game leading the line. As for Wulfs, a day when their squad looked a little light against a top if the table side. The fact that they couldn’t manage an attempt on goal in the whole of the 90 minutes will be the biggest concern on a disappointing afternoon.
Wednesday 23rd March
Continental Star 1 Coventry Sphinx 1
A game between two teams in the relegation zone promises to be a nervy affair. Continental Star have had some encouraging results in recent weeks but have probably left it too late to escape the drop. Coventry Sphinx have been struggling to string results together and are in a battle with Bardon Hill to avoid the third relegation spot. A win for Sphinx would take them out of the bottom three and a healthy turnout of groundhoppers was on hand to see if they could achieve it. The home side were the first to have an attempt on goal with Tony Green seeing his shot saved in the 8th minute. Sphinx first effort came from Lewis Rankin but his shot cleared the bar. A good run by Kieran Nesbitt ended with his shot blocked while at the other end Dwayne Robinson planted a free header over the bar. All of the spectators were grateful for the half-time whistle and the hope that things would improve after the break.
The game continued to be full of nerves. There was no lack of endeavour from either side but the lack of a cutting edge was clear for all to see. A free-kick from Jon Haynes was straight into the midriff of Star keeper, Jordan Ellis. Sphinx wasted a decent chance when Nesbitt blasted over the bar when well placed. Nesbitt then put a header wide from a corner and a goal for either side looked highly unlikely. Aaron Moses-Garvey tried a speculative effort for Star but it was easily gathered by Ash Mulhotra. The best chance of the game fell to Dan Elwell for Star in the 72nd minute but his volley was way off target. In the 77th minute, we finally had a goal for Continental Star. The ball was played in from the right, controlled well by Simeon Tullock who picked his spot and fired into the bottom corner. A moment of controversy 3 minutes later saw Sphinx level. A free-kick from the right and Nesbitt got there before Ellis to knock the ball into the net. The referee and Sphinx said head, Star were incensed and said hand. From where I was stood, it was difficult to see but the reaction of the home side was i#one of fury. Sphinx could have grabbed an unlikely winner in the 83rd minute but Ellis made a fine save from Garfield Robinson’s acrobatic effort.
A poor game of little quality between two sides lacking any real confidence. For Sphinx, this may be a point gained rather than two dropped when the season ends but they will have to play much better than this if they are to avoid finishing in the bottom three. As for Star, plenty of energy and commitment, but lacking that cutting edge required to get out of trouble.
Hereford will be playing at Wembley in the FA vase final on May 22nd after beating Salisbury 2-1 at the RayMac in the 2nd leg of the semi-final. Salisbury levelled the tie in the 18th minute but a goal from “The Beast” Mike Symons just before half-time meant the Bulls went into the half-time break ahead on aggregate. They saw a Mustapha Bundu penalty saved by the home keeper before Joe Tumelty scored the winner on the day to send the Bulls through to the Wembley final where they will meet Northern League Morpeth Town.
Alvechurch extended the lead at the top of the table to 5 points with a comfortable 4-0 win at AFC Wulfrunians. Two goals in the first 20 minutes from Josh March and Jordan Nadat sent the Church on their way and they were never troubled by the injury-hit Wulfs. It was a great day for the top two with the teams in 3rd and 4th dropping points. 3rd placed Shepshed Dynamo took the lead at Highgate United but Lei Brown levelled things late on, 1-1 the final outcome. Sporting Khalsa and Stourport Swifts fought out a goalless draw at Walshes Meadow – four points dropped in a week by Khalsa. Goals were at a premium this week with further goalless draws at Westfields, versus Brocton, and at Continental Star, versus Loughborough University. That point for Star was the only positive for the bottom 5 clubs with defeats for the other sides battling against the drop. Second bottom Dunkirk remain 8 points short of safety following a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of a resurgent Lye Town. Coventry Sphinx were heading for a point at Walsall Wood until Max Black grabbed a winner in the 85th minute, 2-1 the final score. Bardon Hill played a second home game at Coalville Town but it didn’t prove to be a happy hunting ground as Rocester emerged the victors with a solitary Oli Roome goal. Quorn are still too close to the drop zone for comfort, Andy Lewis scoring a hat-trick for Boldmere St Michaels in a 3-1 win. A goal 3 minutes from time for Ashleigh Lynch gave Heanor Town their second home win in the week against Coleshill Town.
Leaders Alvechurch maintained their 5 point lead with a 4-1 win over Rocester at Lye Meadow. New signing James Spray scored twice as did Jordan Nadat in front of a healthy crowd of 126. Hereford returned to league action beating Loughborough University 1-0 at Edgar Street in front of 2349. Mustapha Bundu got the all-important goal from the penalty spot. Third-placed Shepshed Dynamo kept in the hunt with a 4-1 win over Lye Town while 4th placed Sporting Khalsa picked up an excellent 3 points with a 3-0 win at Walsall Wood. At the bottom, Bardon Hill moved two points clear of Coventry Sphinx despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Long Eaton United. Simeon Cobourne scores twice as Coleshill Town won 3-0 at Quorn, who are still not clear of danger. Westfields and Highgate United shared the points with a 1-1 draw at Allpay Park. Continental Star and Coventry Sphinx picked up a point apiece in a 1-1 draw at Dales Lane. Heanor Town and AFC Wulfrunians couldn’t find a goal between them in a 0-0 draw.
No doubting the biggest story of the day in Division 1, the 11-0 win for Bolehall Swifts against fellow strugglers Southam United. Swifts won the reverse fixture 4-0 last week to swap places with Southam but who could have anticipated such a change in fortunes. Both Joe Obi and Jordan Francis scored 4 and Swifts are now just two points away from safety with games in hand. Heather St Johns are one of the teams in Swifts’ sights as they were beaten 2-0 at St Johns Park by Leicester Road. Stafford Town’s recent revival appears to have hit the buffers and they are only 2 points off the drop zone. They held out for 65 minutes at leaders Bromsgrove Sporting but eventually went down 3-0. Pelsall Villa have slipped into the relegation dogfight, a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Hinckley AFC putting them just 3 points away from the bottom two. At the top, Coventry United stayed 4 points behind the leaders Bromsgrove Sporting following a tight 1-0 win over Studley, skipper Chris Cox with the goal. Nuneaton Griff make it a 3-way battle for the title, picking up 3 points with a 2-0 win over Cadbury Athletic at The Pingles Stadium. Racing Club Warwick made it 4 wins out of 5 with a 2-0 victory over Littleton at Townsend Meadow, Wade Malley with both goals. A Tony Clarke double helped Lichfield City maintain 4th place with a 4-1 win over Coventry Copsewood. Heath Hayes are 7th, Dmitri Dunkley with the only goal of the game at Pershore Town. There was a good away win for Atherstone Town at Pilkington XXX, Mark Latham with the winner in a 3-2 scoreline.
The result of Tuesday night came at Rene Road with Bolehall Swifts beating Lichfield City 4-0 to move out of the relegation zone. Southam United stay bottom after a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Racing Club Warwick, Terry Morton with the goal. Pilkington XXX raced into a 3-0 lead against Hinckley AFC but the visitors made them sweat as they clawed it back to 3-2, but that is how it finished. Pelsall Villa picked up an important point at the bottom of the table thanks to a goalless draw with Littleton. It was the same scoreline between Heath Hayes and Leicester Road. Studley and Pershore Town shared the points and 4 goals at The Beehive. A huge result on Wednesday at the top end of the table with Nuneaton Griff sending a clear message that this is a three-way battle for promotion, beating league leaders Bromsgrove Sporting 4-0 at The Pingles Stadium.
Droitwich Spa regained top spot with a 2-0 win at Austrey Rangers, James Lemon scoring his 36th of the season from the penalty spot. Rostance Edwards suffered their third defeat on the spin, going down 1-0 at home to Coton Green., Ahmet Bilgimer with the goal. No games at home since November for Feckenham but they finally returned home and what a way to celebrate – a 5-4 victory over Fairfield Villa, doubles for James Gifford and Ben Welsh. Paget Rangers have picked up 19 points out of the last 21, a 1-0 win over Earlswood Town win number three on the trot. A second consecutive win for Barnt Green Spartak has moved them away from the bottom two, the latest win 2-1 at Sutton United. Hampton and Knowle shared the points in a 1-1 draw and they remain in 12th and 10th respectively.
Myles Phipps scored twice as Paget Rangers extended their run of form with a 5-0 victory over Hampton. Barnt Green Spartak move up to 9th following a 2-1 win over Coton Green.
Leaders Leamington Hibernian extended their lead at the top with an emphatic 5-0 win at lowly Perrywood, Jack Keeling and Luke Swinnerton both scoring twice. Two of the promotion candidates couldn’t be separated as Barton United and Smithswood Firs drew 1-1. The bottom four all suffered heavy defeats. AFC Solihull went down 3-1 at Coventrians who are 4 points ahead of the bottom 4. 14th placed Enville Athletic lost 3-0 at mid-table Inkberrow while Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons lost 4-1 at 8th placed Shipston Excelsior. Burntwood Town swapped placed with Badsey Rangers following a 3-1 win at Ravenhill Park.
Redditch Borough closed the gap at the top to just one point following an emphatic 7-0 win over Badsey Rangers. Jak Albutt and Jason Cowley both grabbed hat-tricks in front of a crowd of 67.
Redditch Borough are through to the final of the Challenge Vase after an excellent 3-0 win at Alcester Town, Jak Albutt adding two more to his season tally. They will meet either Smithswood Firs or Northfield Town in the final. Northfield booked their place in the last 4 with a 3-0 win over FC Stratford.
Alvis Sporting Club were knocked out of the Birmingham Saturday Vase, losing on penalties to AEI Rugby. Chelmsley Town reached the final over the Coventry Evening Telegraph Charity Cup beating Whitnash on penalties. Alvis Sporting Club have had a bad week in cup competitions losing 3-2 to Woodlands WMC in the Coventry Charity Cup.
The top two in the reserves division were beaten at home. Leaders Coleshill Town lost 2-1 to 10th placed Continental Star while 2nd placed Solihull Moors were beaten by a solitary goal by Romulus. 3rd placed Rocester beat Brocton 3-1 at Hillsfield while 4th placed Coventry United won 1-0 at Gresley. Evesham United and Lichfield City shared 6 goals at the Spiers and Hartwell Jubilee Stadium.
Gornal Athletic 0 Bromsgrove Sporting 2 (South)
Leamington 0 Stourport Swifts 6 (South)
Bedworth United 4 H.O.W. Academy 3 (South)
Basford United 1 Newcastle Town 1 (North)
West Midlands Football Academy 0 Walsall Wood 4 (Bowl)
Heath Hayes 1 Tamworth 0 (Bowl) 1 Bedworth United
Joel Mills Hereford 44
Craig Bannister Sporting Khalsa 38
Lei Brown Highgate United 27
Jamie Cuss Westfields 27
Tony Clarke Lichfield City 34
Luke Shorthouse Nuneaton Griff 34
Josh O’Grady Coventry United 26
Luke Richards Hinckley AFC 25
Chris Lloyd Chelmsley Town 38
James Lemon Droitwich Spa 36
Mark Bellingham Paget Rangers 26
Dildale Linton Alvis Sporting Club 22
Matt Layton Alcester Town 30
Jak Albutt Redditch Borough 28
Peter Martin Barton United 27
Ashley Wilkes FC Stratford 22
Pick of the day's matches is at Lye Meadow where leaders Alvechurch welcome Heanor Town. This could be a really tough game for Church ahead of their Monday fixture with Hereford. Hereford welcome Bardon Hill to Edgar Street with both clubs needing three points for contrasting reasons. Sporting Khalsa haven’t given up hope of the title just yet but three points are a must for them in a tough looking game at Long Eaton United. Shepshed Dynamo and Walsall Wood can be proud of their efforts this season and the two meet in an attractive fixture at Oak Park. Brocton travel to Loughborough University for their fifth successive away game. They are unbeaten in the previous four – can they keep the run going? Dunkirk are in need of a stellar end to the season if they are to avoid relegation starting this week at The Coppice against Highgate United. Continental Star are even further adrift and it will take some run for them to avoid the drop. They travel to Boldmere St Michaels who sit comfortably in the middle of the table. Coventry Sphinx are in a titanic battle at the bottom as they aim to keep their premier Division status. They welcome Stourport Swifts to Sphinx Drive. Rocester have been in good form for some weeks and they welcome injury-hit AFC Wulfrunians to Hillsfield. Two inconsistent sides meet at Pack Meadow with Coleshill Town entertaining Lye Town. Picking the result of this one is anyone’s guess.
With fixtures coming left, right and centre, it’s impossible to give a preview of Easter Monday. However, there is no doubting where most of the attention will be – all eyes on Lye Meadow where a 1,500 all ticket crowd will see leaders Alvechurch tackle second-placed Hereford. While the result will not decide anything, a victory for either will give them a significant advantage in the run-in. Sporting Khalsa and Shepshed Dynamo are keeping up their chase. Khalsa travel to Westfields while Shepshed make the short journey to Quorn. Dunkirk have a local derby against Long Eaton United knowing that three points are a must if they are to have any chance of escaping the drop. Coventry Sphinx take their relegation fight to Pack Meadow to face free-scoring Coleshill Town. Bardon Hill entertain the students from Loughborough University with points required to move away from the bottom three. Brocton and Boldmere St Michales have moved well away from the drop zone and they face each other in an attractive fixture at Silkmore Lane. AFC Wulfrunians and Rocester meet for the second time in three days at Castlecroft and Wulfrunians are offering free entry to the game. Two of the leading sides meet at Oak park with Walsall Wood entertaining Heanor Town. At the Coppice, Stourport Swifts are the visitors to Highgate United.
Leaders Bromsgrove Sporting face a tricky afternoon at the Beehive against Studley. Equally, Coventry United put their promotion candidacy on the line with a trip to Staffordshire to face Heath Hayes. The other promotion candidates, Nuneaton Griff are also on their travels and face a tough looking encounter at Littleton. There’s a big game at the bottom as Stafford Town, back in danger, face bottom club Southam United at Evans Park. Heather St Johns have slipped back into the relegation zone and they could do with 3 points from their home game versus Cadbury Athletic. Resurgent Bolehall Swifts have found form just when it was needed and they welcome another in-form side, Racing Club Warwick to Rene Road. Pelsall Villa are in the relegation fight and they go to high flyers Lichfield City. Leicester Road will be hoping for a top 6 finish in the first season in Division 1 and they entertain Pilkington XXX. Hinckley AFC had a poor result in midweek and will want to put that behind them when Pershore Town are the visitors to St John's Park. Coventry Copsewood welcome Atherstone Town with both sides sitting in the middle of the pack thanks to improved recent results.
Loads of local derbies in Division 1 with plenty to look forward to. Leaders Bromsgrove Sporting travel to Pershore Town while Nuneaton Griff host Leicester United. Landlords versus tenants at St Johns Park with Heather St Johns at home to Hinckley AFC. Its tenants at home to landlords at the TSa with Cadbury Athletic welcoming Pilkington XXX. In form, Bolehall Swifts make the short journey to Atherstone Town while struggling Southam United face Studley at home. Coventry United welcome Littleton to Sphinx Drive, Coventry Copsewood host Racing Club Warwick and Lichfield City host Heath Hayes in the other fixtures.
Chelmsley Town can return to the top of the table if they can beat 3rd placed Rostance Edwards in the game of the day. Coton Green in 6th place are the next highest team in action as they travel to Knowle. Hampton are only three points ahead of the drop zone and the drive for safety starts with a home game against Austrey Rangers. 7th meets 8th as Sutton United welcome Fairfield Villa to Hollyfield Road.
Game of the day on Easter Monday sees in form Paget Rangers entertain promotion challenging Droitwich Spa. Alvis Sporting Club get back to league action at home to Sutton United while Chelmsley Town travel to Austrey Rangers looking to hold on to a top two spot. Bottom side Earlswood Town are at home to Knowle while second bottom Feckenham are at home to Hampton.
Undoubted game of the day between two of the promotion contenders as Alcester Town face leaders Leamington Hibernian. FC Stratford can close on the top two should they beat Inkberrow at home. Smithswood Firs could be in the top four by 5pm if results go their way and if they beat bottom side AFC Solihull. Northfield Town are 7th yet still in with a chance of promotion. They travel to second bottom Perrywood. Enville Athletic are three points ahead of Perrywood as they travel to Shipston Excelsior. The next two sides in the table meet with Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons at home to Coventrians. In the return fixture from last week, Badsey Rangers host Burntwood Town looking to avenge the 3-1 defeat.
Promotion favourites Redditch Borough are at home to Alcester Town in the game of the day. Leaders Leamington Hibernian are at home to another promotion contender in Northfield Town. FC Stratford travel to bottom side AFC Solihull while Smithswood Firs have an away trip to Burntwood Town. Inkberrow face Perrywood in a local derby while Enville Athletic welcome Badsey Rangers to Hall Drive. Barton United go to Coventrians and in the other fixture, Boldmere Sports & Social falcons are at home to Shipston Excelsior.
Les James Challenge Cup
In the quarter-final of the competition, Feckenham entertain in form Paget Rangers. In the semi-final, two of the top 4 in Division 2 lock horns with Droitwich Spa at home to Alvis Sporting Club.
Midland Football League Newsletter
16th March 2016
REGION’S FOOTBALL CLUBS LIMBERING UP FOR INAUGURAL DING DONG DERBY CUP!
FORGET El Classico, AC Milan v Inter or even the Old Firm.
The mother of all derbies is set to be contested on Birmingham’s streets – as local clubs bid to get their hands on the inaugural Ding Dong Derby Cup at the Great Birmingham 10k. All clubs across the region are invited to join Villa, Blues, West Brom, Wolves, Walsall and Coventry in entering teams into the Sunday, May 1 running challenge. From Premier League outfits at the tip of the footballing pyramid down to Sunday League sides at grassroots level, clubs of all sizes can enter. Each team must be at least four-a-side, up to a maximum of eight runners, although there is no limit on how many teams each club can enter. Any club that enters 12 or more runners will receive its own personalised engraved plaque in the name of its fastest runner.
The Ding Dong Derby Cup gets its name from the phrase made famous by Free Radio’s Tom Ross in describing local affairs down the years. Mark Gillett, Albion’s Director of Performance, is captaining a team comprising members of the Baggies’ medical and sports science staff. “Anyone who plays or is involved in sport tends to be ultra competitive and we’re in it to win it,” declared Mark, who is also chair of the Premier League Doctors’ Group.
“To compete against teams from all over the region, from all levels of the game, at the Great Birmingham 10k should be great fun and will create plenty of banter. We’ll aim to be as competitive as possible. We want to win that cup!”
Wolves and Coventry have stated their intention to deny Albion the silverware. “We’re delighted to have been asked to take part in the Great Birmingham 10k and look forward to coming up against our counterparts from the other Midlands clubs, and proving again that we are without doubt the fittest backroom staff in the region,” said Phil Hayward, head of Wolves’ medical department who will be part of the Molineux team. “I’m sure the staff at Villa, Blues, Albion, Walsall and Coventry will also be relishing the challenge. The race will no doubt be viewed to be very important by all clubs as an opportunity to get on a ‘good run’ towards the end of the season.” Jamie Clapham, first-team coach at Coventry and a former Blues and Wolves defender, said: "I've got full confidence in the team we've put together and we're definitely in it to win it. "Having experienced a few big derbies myself, I know how important it is to get the edge over your local rivals and it'll be no different in the Great Birmingham 10k. Our running team will be put through a difficult training course ahead of the 10k to make sure Coventry will be lifting the Ding Dong Derby Cup on Sunday, May 1." The four fastest times posted by each team will be accumulated to determine who is the fittest and fastest club in the region – and secure the ultimate derby bragging rights!
Erdington-based Paget Rangers, of Midland Football League Division Two, are the first non-league club to enter. Midlands football legend Cyrille Regis MBE, who played for Albion, Coventry, Villa and Wolves, will present the Ding Dong Derby Cup to the winning team. Cyrille said: “I played for four of the clubs involved and know how competitive they all are. They’ll be desperate to beat their local rivals and get their hands on the Ding Dong Derby cup!
“But this is a chance for the smaller teams in the region to go head to head with the big boys and pip them to the silverware. May the fittest team win. I’ll look forward to presenting them with the trophy.” Tom Ross, who hosts the Goalzone on Free Radio 80s on Mondays and Fridays from 6 pm, said: “Events like the Great Birmingham 10k and the Great Birmingham Run make me even more proud of my city. “I care passionately about local football and the fact teams from all levels of the game are being invited to come together to compete for a trophy named after one of my catchphrases is, on a personal level, really special. “There promises to be one hell of a Ding Dong Derby during the Great Birmingham 10k. Let the fittest club win!”
David Hart, Communications Director at The Great Run Company, said: “The region boasts several huge football clubs but also hundreds at non-league level and thousands more at the very grassroots of the game. “This is a chance for them to come together and compete for silverware on a level playing field, so to speak, at the Great Birmingham 10k. We’ll hopefully see lots of friendly local rivalry and some classic David and Goliath contests.” Starting at 11 am, more than 7,000 people are expected to take part in the Great Birmingham 10k which begins and finishes in the city centre.
Ding Dong Derby Cup signs-ups can be made via the Great Birmingham 10k Business Challenge page. The full club name should be typed in the ‘name of company’ box. To enter, visit: https://www.greatrun.org/great-birmingham-10k/business-challenge
Polymac Packaging League Cup Semi-Final Details All k.o. 7.45pm 1st Leg: Stourport Swifts or Nuneaton Griff v Hereford...Thursday 21 April 2nd Leg: Hereford v Stourport Swifts or Nuneaton Griff...Thursday 28 April 1st Leg: Lye Town v Walsall Wood...Thursday 14 April 2nd Leg: Walsall Wood v Lye Town...Thursday 28 April Cup Rule 3 applies...1st Leg 90 minutes 2nd Leg 90 mins, away goals to count double...if level then 2 x 15m extra time, if still level the tie goes to "penalties"
Smithswood Firs are hosting their third qnnual Charity match this Sunday (20th March)
All proceeds go to The Birmingham Children’s Hospital and this will be the third match that Neil Armstrong and Paul Ryder have organised and has seen greats like Dele Adebola, Robert Hopkins, Maik Taylor, Paul Peschisolido, Jeff Kenna and many more play against the teams that have been put together. They have raised just under £9000 so far for the Cancer Ward at the Hospital.
The match will be played at the Mackadown Pitch, Mackadown Lane, Tile Cross, Birmingham, B33 0JJ on Sunday 20th March 2016 11am Kick-off. Gates open at 0930.
Prices on the gate are £5 adults and £1 Under 12’s
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday 12th March
Bromsgrove Sporting 4 Coventry United 2
Only one place to be as the top two in Division go head to head at The Victoria Ground. The sense of anticipation was very high as I walked towards the ground with supporters from both sides eager to witness what promised to be a classic between two in-form sides. I always enjoy my visits to Bromsgrove and it was a pleasure to talk to officials of both teams prior to kick-off. Both clubs are ambitious and eager to progress and today, while not a decider, could have a big bearing on promotion at the end of the season. The opening ten minutes were somewhat cagey but this all changed in the 11th minute. A flick on from Connor Collins sent Sean Brain clear and he finished superbly to put the Rouslers 1-0 up. The lead was doubled three minutes later when the same pair combined this time for Collins to find the bottom corner. Reece Hewitt picked up the ball in midfield, ran forward and hit a screamer into the top corner from the edge of the box. 19 minutes gone and the league leaders 3 goals to the good. It took United some time to recover from this onslaught but recover they did and they gradually started making some inroads into the Bromsgrove defence without causing Chris Jay too many problems. Just before the break, Liam Spink should have made it four but he inexplicably blasted over with the goal at his mercy.
Brain missed another good chance at the start of the second half before United grabbed a foothold, Ross Briscoe finishing well at the far post. Bromsgrove were not done and Richard Morris was forced into a decent save to thwart the ever dangerous Brain. The home side increased their lead in the 63rd minute when United failed to clear their lines allowing Aaron Roberts to thump home a volley giving Morris absolutely no chance. At 4-1, the Rouslers were comfortable and try as they might, there was no real way back for United. With two minutes left, Josh O’Grady skipped into the box and was needlessly brought down to give Coventry a penalty. Chris Cox made no mistake but there was little time left and Bromsgrove increased their lead at the top of the table.
A fantastic advert for Division 1 and what a crowd and atmosphere. 924 with a healthy following from Coventry made it into something special. Whoever come out on top in the promotion race, and you must include Nuneaton Griff in this, will thoroughly deserve their place in the Premier Division. Bromsgrove are on a roll and look to be in prime position. How Coventry respond to this defeat will be the key.I’m sure it will go the wire.
Tuesday 15th March
Sporting Khalsa 2 Brocton 2
My work schedule dictates a second Tuesday in succession at the Aspray Arena. This time, it is a league game between Sporting Khalsa and a club I know well, Brocton, having commentated on many of their games. Khalsa still had an outside chance of joining the promotion party while Brocton, after a poor start to the season, were looking comfortable in the middle of the pack. The early stages of the game were competitive without ever really catching fire. A deep cross from Tim Jackson was pushed around the post by Callum Barrett and Barrett also had to react well to stop Craig Bannister after the striker was in on goal. Brocton had a great chance in the 16th minute. Dave Berks’ corner found the head of the unmarked Ed Booth but his header was off target. Khalsa went close in the22nd minute when an excellent run by Nicky Campbell was played into Bannister but he couldn’t find the target. Bannister was agin off target after a run down the left from Marvin Nisbett. Brocton went close in the 32nd minute, a cross from Berks picked out Dan Lomas but, under pressure from James Pemberton, he could only hook it over the bar. The home side took the lead in the 38th minute with an absolute purler from Bannister. Some 35 yards from goal, he spotted Barrett off his line and volleyed over him and into the net. The Badgers response was swift and incisive. A poor back pass by Jackson was intercepted by Jack Edwards who calmly rounded Pmeberton and tapped the ball into the net.
The game was pretty even with Brocton a threat on the break. This was to prove the case in the 55th minute when the visitors took the lead. A quick break from the back sent Edwards clear down the right and his cross was hit first time with the outside of his left boot by Berks, the ball flying into the net. Khalsa continued to have the majority of the play without threatening Barrett. A cross from Bannister flew across the box with no-one getting a touch while at the other end a free-kick from Gary Fife was headed goalwards by Lomas but Pemberton was in the perfect position to make a comfortable catch. Brocton were playing some nice football and a classy move with Sean Kinsella heavily involved saw the final cross drift past the far post. Khalsa were now applying pressure and Bannister forced a fabulous save from Barrett with the ball arrowing towards the top corner. Substitute Simeon Townsend also found Barrett in inspired form as his shot on the turn was well saved by the Badgers’ keeper. Two minutes into stoppage, Khalsa grabbed their equaliser. Carlo Franco had a header cleared off the line but David Meese was on hand to fire home through the massed penalty area.
A fair result on the night with both sides feeling that they could have taken all three points. The two finishes from Bannister and Berks will stay with me for some time.
Hereford hold the upper hand into the second leg of their FA Vase semi-final against Salisbury. A headed goal just after half-time from Mustapha Bundu was all that separates the two sides as they go again at the RayMac. It could have been so much better as the Bulls hit the woodwork four times, however, a save late on by Martin Horsell may be the biggest factor over the two legs.
It was all change at the top of the Premier Division as Alvechurch reached the summit with a 2-1 win over Walsall Wood. They needed a Nick Wright free-kick in the last 5 minutes to take all 3 points and are now two points clear of Hereford having played the same number of games. Sporting Khalsa are still on the heels of the leaders and with both Alvechurch (twice) and Herford to play, they could have a big say on the destination of the title. They maintained third position with a 2-0 at Bardon Hill (played at The Aspray Arena). A Liam Read double saw Shepshed Dynamo beat Long Eaton United 2-0 at the Dovecote and they stay 4th. Big winners of the day were Westfields who put 7 past bottom club Continental Star at Dales Lane, skipper Jamie Cuss with a hat-trick. There was a huge win at the bottom for Coventry Sphinx who beat fellow relegation threatened Dunkirk 2-1 at Sphinx drive. Quorn did their survival prospects the world of good with a 3-0 win at Stourport Swifts. A stoppage time winner by Ben Wilkins gave Lye Town a 2-1 victory over Heanor Town whose title tilt now looks to be over. The Staffordshire derby at Hillsfield between Rocester and Brocton ended in a 2-2 draw, Ed Booth with a late equaliser for the Badgers. There was another late goal at Pack Meadow as Josh Quaynor’s effort 4 minutes into added time gave Coleshill Town all 3 points against AFC Wulfrunians. Highgate United moved into the top 6 with a 2-0 win at Boldmere St Michaels.
On Tuesday, Alvechurch had the opportunity to move 5 points clear but they went down to a Roland Agbor goal at Boldmere St Michaels. The Church had keeper Matt Sergeant sent off early on but the numbers were evened up when Joseph Lyng saw red for The Mikes. Nick Wright missed a penalty for Church when the scores were level – that’s two missed spot-kicks in recent weeks. It was a good night for Hereford with 3rd placed Sporting Khalsa being held 2-2 by Brocton. Khalsa needed a stoppage time equaliser from David Meese to pick up the point. Shepshed Dynamo move into 3rd place, 9 points behind Alvechurch, with a 3-2 win over Bardon Hill who drop into the bottom three. Quorn now look much safer, a 3-1 win over Long Eaton United moving them 11 points clear of the drop zone. Westfields picked up their second away win in four days with a 2-0 triumph at Highgate United. Walsall Wood suffered their second defeat in 4 days with a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Stourport Swifts. Ben Wilkins grabbed another late goal for Lye Town to give them a 2-1 win at Rocester. Coventry Sphinx slipped back into the relegation zone on goal difference following a heavy 4-1 defeat at Heanor Town. Kieran Debrouwer was on target twice for the Lions who stay 5th.
In the big game at the top of the table, it was Bromsgrove Sporting that came out on top beating Coventry United 4-2 at The Victoria Ground. 924 spectators saw the Rouslers go 4 points clear at the top of the table. Nuneaton Griff make it a 3-way tilt for the title, Pilkington XXX their latest victims in a 4-1 win. A huge result at the bottom for Bolehall Swifts as they swapped places with Southam United following a 4-0 win, Joe Obi with a hat-trick. Stafford Town are still in trouble and they threw away a 2-0 lead at Coventry Copsewood, 3-2 the final score to the home side. The local derby between Hinckley AFC and Atherstone Town ended honours even after a 2-2 draw. Pelsall Villa gained a vital point in their quest to avoid relegation with a 2-2 draw at Leicester Road. Heather St Johns are another side who picked up a welcome point on their travels in a 1-1 draw at Studley. Two goals from Chris Conway sent Littleton on their way to a 3-2 win over Cadbury Athletic.
A Luke Shorthouse goal gave Nuneaton Griff all three points at bottom club Southam United on Tuesday, closing the gap to the leaders to 5 points. Two goals from Jordan Francis, the second in stoppage time, earned Bolehall Swifts a 2-2 draw in the A5 derby against Atherstone Town. It wasn’t such a good night for some of the other relegation threatened sides. Stafford Town went down 3-1 at Racing Club Warwick for whom Ashley English scored twice. Daniel Fraser helped himself to a hat-trick as Coventry Copsewood beat Heather St Johns 4-0 at Allard Way. Heath Hayes climbed to 7th in the table with a 3-0 win at Cadbury Athletic. On Wednesday, there was a stunning away win for Studley, 4-1 at Littleton. The win moves Studley up to 13th while The Ton Boys remain 9th.
The big game of the day saw third-placed Droitwich Spa beat leaders Rostance Edwards 3-0 in front of a huge crowd at King George Playing Fields. This result means that Chelmsley Town are now top after they beat Coton Green 2-0 at New Mill Lane. Keep a close eye on Alvis Sporting Club as they play their games in hand. Fairfield Villa were put to the sword with the home side running out 6-0 victors, Dildale Linton with a hat-trick and Shane Brassington a brace. At the bottom, there was a welcome point for Earlswood Town in a goalless draw with Austrey Rangers. Barnt Green Spartak swap places with Hampton following a 2-1 win at The Coppice. Knowle are one place higher following their 2-0 win over Sutton United.
Alvis Sporting Club moved to within 4 points of the top with a 4-1 midweek win over Hampton, Rickie Cutting scoring twice. Coton Green and Austrey Rangers fought out a 1-1 draw under the lights at New Mill Lane.
Leaders Leamington Hibernian exacted revenge on Coventrians following last week’s defeat, winning 3-2 at Holbrooks Park. In a game between two of the promotion contenders at The Valley, it was Redditch Borough who came out on top with a 2-1 win over Northfield Town. Martin Kendashki scored twice as FC Stratford got back to winning ways with a 3-1 win over Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons. Alcester Town remain the form team with a 6-0 win over Perrywood, Nick Dance with a couple. Ignore Smithswood Firs at your peril as games in hand may make all the difference. They picked up another 3 points with a 4-1 win at Inkberrow, Daniel Charlton with a couple. Despite two goals from Callum Howells, basement side AFC Solihull went down 3-2 at home to Shipston Excelsior. Adam Wooldridge was the hero for Enville Athletic as his hat-trick helped sink Burntwood Town 4-1 at Hall Drive. Barton United are in the thick of the promotion battle and they won a tight game at Badsey Rangers 2-1.
On Tuesday night, Redditch Borough moved to just a point off the top with a 1-0 win over Barton United.
The Staffordshire Vase final will be between Heath Hayes and Lichfield City as both won tough semis on Saturday. Heath Hayes beat Audley & District 3-0 while Lichfield had to come from behind to beat Abbey Hulton United 4-1, Dave Yonwin with two. In the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup, Chelmsley Town beat Feckenham 5-1 at Pack Meadow while Northfield Town edged past Rostance Edwards 2-1 at the Red Lion Ground.
Brocton 0 Solihull Moors 1
Cadbury Athletic 2 Rocester 1
Coventry United 2 Romulus 2
H.O.W. Academy 0 Stourport Swifts 1 (South Division)
Newcastle Town 5 West Midlands football Academy 3 (Bowl)
Basford United 5 Tipton Town 1 (North)
Walsall Wood 0 Anstey Nomads 1
Hereford head to Salisbury with a single goal lead as they aim for a Wembley final in May. Steve Claridge’s side have an excellent home record but that is probably bettered by the Bulls on their travel. I expect Hereford to score which puts the onus on Salisbury to win by two goals. Good luck to Hereford and we’ll all be keeping a close eye on the score.
With Hereford on Vase duty, Alvechurch can move 5 points clear if they can taste victory at AFC Wulfrunians. The defeat in midweek would have hurt Alvechurch and they will need the three points to put pressure on Hereford when they return to league duty. Shepshed Dynamo can close the gap between themselves and the top two should they win at Highgate United. Sporting Khalsa are still in the promotion shake up but need to be picking up maximum points on a regular basis. This week they travel to inconsistent Stourport Swifts. At the bottom, it’s looking like an almost impossible task for Continental Star and they must win most of their remaining games starting this week with Loughborough University. Dunkirk are 8 points adrift with games running out. It will be important to win all their home games, Lye Town being the visitors on Saturday. Coventry Sphinx are battling for survival and they travel to Walsall Wood who have lost their last two. Bardon Hill are battling to both get away from the relegation zone and to get games played. They face Rocester this weekend at Coalville Town FC. Seven points out of the last nine has given Quorn hope that relegation will not be an issue. This week they welcome Boldmere St Michaels to Farley Way. A run of four straight defeats has dented Heanor Town’s excellent debut season in the Midland Football League. They face Coleshill Town this week in a fixture that promises lots of goals. Two sides that have flirted with the foot of the table but who are now showing vastly improved form are Westfields and Brocton They meet at Allpay Park in another attractive fixture.
Leaders Bromsgrove Sporting will be hoping to consolidate their position at the top of the league when they welcome struggling Stafford Town to the Victoria Ground. Coventry United welcome Studley to Sphinx Drive and it will be interesting to see if last week’s defeat at Bromsgrove is still on their minds. All 3rd placed Nuneaton Griff can do is keep on winning to pile the pressure on the top two. Cadbury Athletic are the visitors to the Pingles Stadium intent on stopping Griff in their tracks. Focus at the bottom is on a rematch between the bottom two at Rene Road with Bolehall Swifts entertaining Southam United. 4 points in the week has certainly given Swifts encouragement – can they keep the momentum going? Heather St Johns are in Bolehall’s sights and they face a tough encounter at home to Leicester Road. Racing Club Warwick have scored 12 in their last three games and have won 3 out of the last 4. They welcome Littleton to Townsend Meadow hoping to maintain this upsurge in form. Coventry Copsewood have also scored 12 in 3 with 9 points being amassed. They take their good form to 4th placed Lichfield City. Pelsall Villa are still looking uncomfortably over their shoulder and in-form Hinckley AFC are the visitors this week. Pershore Town have shown improved form since the turn of the year and they welcome Heath Hayes to the King George V Stadium. Pilkington XXX recent results have been a real mixed bag and it’s hard to predict how they will fare this week at home to Atherstone Town.
Rostance Edwards can return to the top of the table if they can beat Coton Green at The Red Lion Ground. Droitwich Spa will, in turn, leapfrog Chelmsley Town should they take all 3 points at Austrey Rangers. Feckenham are hoping to return home for the first time in many months when they entertain Fairfield Villa. Bottom club Earlswood Town travel to Paget Rangers looking to build on last week’s point against Austrey Rangers. Hampton have slipped into the bottom three and are only 5 points clear of Feckenham. They welcome Knowle needing points to move up the table. Barnt Green Spartak picked up an important 3 points last week against Hampton and will be hoping to repeat this when they travel to Sutton United.
It is always difficult to know quite where to start in Division 3 as things change on a weekly basis. Leaders, Leamington Hibernian have seen their lead cut to one point and they travel to 2nd bottom Perrywood. 5th meets 7th this week with Barton United hosting Smithswood Firs. With sides above them not in league action, there is an opportunity for both to climb nearer to the top. At the bottom AFC Solihull have suffered narrow defeats in recent weeks, Can they go one better as they travel to Coventrians? Enville Athletic had an excellent victory last week at home to Burntwood Town and they travel to mid-table Inkberrow. Burntwood Town have won 3 and lost 3 in the last 6 so who knows what they’ll do this week when they welcome Badsey Rangers to Ravenhill Park. In the final game Shipston Excelsior entertain Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons.
Two big games in the Challenge Vase this week involving a quartet of promotion chasers. In the quarter-final, Northfield Town entertain FC Stratford with the winners facing a trip to Smithswood Firs in the semi-final. In the first semi-final, two sides in cracking form go head to head at Old Stratford Road with Alcester Town welcoming Redditch Borough.
Midland Football League Newsletter
9th March 2016
LONG EATON UNITED ANNOUNCE NEW MANAGERIAL APPOINTMENT
Long Eaton United Football Club are delighted to announce the appointment of Gary Sucharewycz and Ian Robinson as their new managerial duo for next season. Gary and Ian have considerable experience of both managing and playing in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League with Grantham Town, Rainworth, Hucknall Town and Loughborough Dynamo. Shaun Rickford will continue as acting manager until the end of the season which will allow Gary and Ian time to prepare for the new season which will be the start of an exciting and ambitious period for the club.
Chairman Jim Fairley advised “We are delighted to welcome Gary and Ian on board. As a Club we have been progressing our off field plans and now have a Stadium and Infrastructure set for the Evo-Stik level - with those plans advanced, we were clear we wanted a management team with access to players to progress to that level and who also share our long term aims and ambitions for this Football Club. We are confident that Gary, Ian and the management team they bring with them will generate some real excitement at Grange Park next season”. Jim added “We would like to go on record in thanking Shaun and his management team who have been a credit to themselves and the Club. Shaun will continue until the end of this season, supported by Gary and Ian where possible, and will always have a role to play at the Club”.
Long Eaton United continue to work with Sport England and the Football Foundation in developing Grange Park with a further phase of work planned over the close season.
BROCTON held a sportsman's dinner at the White Eagle Club in Riverway with former Liverpool and England full back Alan Kennedy as the guest speaker. Kennedy was the first man to score the winning goal in two European Cup finals, following up his strike against Real Madrid in Paris in 1981 with the 1984 winner in a penalty shootout against Roma at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.
He told guests of a playing career that spanned 22 years and saw him make over 500 appearances, beginning at Newcastle United before Bill McGarry sold him Liverpool for £330,000, where he collected five league championships four League Cups and those two European Cups. After Liverpool, he moved to hometown club Sunderland, and while some players choose to quit at the top it was clear from the way he spoke of the game that Kennedy simply loved playing and from Sunderland he moved on to Wigan Athletic, then Hartlepool United and Wrexham before finally ending his professional career at non-league Barrow.
The evening raised £1,250 for local charities as well as raising funds towards Brocton's running costs. The Badgers were supported by Premier League sponsors Barclays, who match-funded monies raised by Peter Russell and Eddie Wright to a total of £1,750.
Hereford Chairman Jon Hale has been speaking ahead of the Bulls FA Vase Semi-Final against Salisbury FC.
“What an absolutely phenomenal achievement to sell out of our home tickets for the FA Vase semi-final in just 6 days. Over 4,000 tickets in total. Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in selling tickets and manning the club shop last week whilst tickets were being sold. Hereford FC has an extremely dedicated team of staff and volunteers who go way beyond the call of duty time after time to ensure that supporters are looked after. Whether it is to inform of ticket arrangements, take online orders or be in place to receive orders at the ground, they put the supporters first. The amount of work that goes on behind the scenes for such games is really astonishing, so to see such a reaction from our incredible fans is extremely satisfying for all of those people.
Furthermore, a huge thank you to our supporters. The support and togetherness this season has been humbling. As each game has come along our fans have turned out in great numbers and for this momentous occasion we will be sold out in all home areas of Edgar Street. What better way to give the players the maximum backing we can. It is testament to the appetite within the supporter base that this game is widely deemed a ‘must-see’ game and I can only imagine the noise we will make in the first leg. I’m sure the same can be said for the away leg a week later. The club shop – which will open at 12 midday on the day of the game – is well stocked up ahead of the 1st Leg, so get along early on the day to buy your scarves, jester hats, wigs and merchandise to show your colours and make the atmosphere even more special. The two games against Salisbury can’t come soon enough I’m sure you will agree. Thanks again to staff, volunteers and supporters for making Hereford FC what it is”
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday 6th March
Brocton 0 Alvechurch 2
With only one point splitting the top two in the Premier Division, I head to Brocton for what promises to be a tough encounter for 2nd placed Alvechurch. The Badgers started the season slowly but have had a decent run of late and sit comfortably 17 points clear of the relegation zone at kick-off. Alvechurch could have gone top in midweek but a missed penalty from Nick Wright meant that they were still chasing Hereford. One surprise in the team sheet saw Brocton record goalscorer, Gary Fife lining up in the heart of the Badgers defence. The game commenced at a decent tempo with neither side establishing ay control. Jordan Nadat was the first to have an attempt on goal for Church but his header was easy for Callum Barrett. Andrew Parsons was off target for the visitors as they began to create the better openings. A shot from Wright was well gathered by Barrett and Jack Cresswell was unlucky with a shot that flew over the bar. Barrett had to react quickly, racing off his line to hack the ball away from Wright as the striker raced through on goal. Brocton’s first chance came courtesy of a Sean Kinsella free-kick which was deflected off the wall for a corner. From the corner, Dan Lomas’ header was over the bar. A nice move from the visitors saw Zack Foster’s shot blocked and Creswell’s follow up saved. Brocton went close to grabbing the lead 5 minutes before the interval. A mistake at the back by Mark Smith let in Matt Dean but Parsons saved his defensive partner blocking the shot on the line. In stoppage time, Connor Deards hit a superb shot from 25 yards only to see it rebound off the post. A minute later, Deards thought he had broke the deadlock but his deflected shot was cleared off the line by Dave Ablewhite.
Brocton should have taken the lead two minutes into the second half when Church failed to deal with a corner but Fife put his shot from inside the 6-yard box, over the bar. Church responded immediately but Nadat’s run and shot was blocked by Kenny Devoir. Lomas was just off target with a left footed shot for Brocton but the pressure began to mount on the Badgers’ goal. A back pass from Devoir was short for Barrett but the keeper beat Nadat in a 50/50 challenge. The introduction of Karl Edwards had an immediate impact for Alvechurch and Nadat should have done better after the dub had laid the ball perfectly in his path. In the 65th minute, Alvechurch came might close to opening the scoring. A shot from Wright was well saved by Barrett. The rebound fell to Josh March whose shot rattled the crossbar. The ball fell at the far post where Edwards shot hit the outside of the post and Brocton escaped. Brocton were still a threat on the break with Lomas firing just over and Dean forcing Matt Sargeant to make a last ditch challenge. Smith headed a corner wide when he really should have hit the target. With the game entering stoppage time, it was substitute Edwards who sent the Church fans wild, beating Barret to the ball and heading a high hanging cross from Chris Field into the net. Three minutes later, a long throw from the left was headed on by Nadat, and Edwards applied the coup de grace with a volley past Barrett. A hard earned three points for the visitors but their staying power was very much in evidence. The introduction of March and Edwards made a big impact and the use of the entire squad will be crucial as they go head to head with Hereford for the title.
Tuesday 8th March
Sporting Khalsa 2 Lye Town 3
After witnessing Walsall Wood’s passage to the semis last week, a chance to see who they will meet as the league cup rolled into the Aspray Arena. In the early stages, it was clear that the referee intended to let as much go as possible as physical challenges were the norm. It was refreshing to see players challenge each other in the air without the constant whistle for an infringement. Khalsa had the first chance but David Meese slipped as he was taking his shot. Three Lye players beat the offside trap, allegedly, but Scott Gennard wasted the opportunity with a poor delivery. An excellent break down the left by Matthew Martin set up Khalsa leading scorer Craig Bannister but he missed his kick. Khalsa took the lead in the 17th minute. A free-kick from Tim Jackson reaching Marvin Nisbett at the far post and he did well to finish through a crowded box. Dreniz Bala went close with a header for Lye and Martin forced a save from Jake Bedford with a 25 yard volley. Khalsa doubled their lead in the 27th minute, Martin finishing off an excellent cross from Meese. Khalsa were cruising at this stage but Lye grabbed a foothold in the 37th minute when James Spray controlled a shot past James Pemberton after a good move down the Lye left. The game turned in the 40th minute. Tes Robinson was brought down in the middle of the park but his reaction of a swinging right arm in retaliation ended with the inevitable red card and Khalsa had to play for 50 minutes with 10 men.
The home side re-organised at the break with Brad Lawley replacing Simeon Townsend but inside a minute Lye were level, another excellent finish from Gennard. Khalsa were indebted to a fantastic double save from Pemberton thwarting both Bala and Kallum Evitts when it looked certain Lye would score. Nisbett wasted a decent chance for the home side when put through down the middle, he took it too wide and finished with a weak shot. A lovely ball into the box by Bannister fell at the feet of Meese but he couldn’t control the ball and it ran to safety. Lye took the lead in the 62nd minute. An in swinging free-kick from Evitts evaded everyone and found its way into the far corner. Lye almost gifted Khalsa an equaliser as the ball skimmed off the head of a defender and went agonisingly wide. Bannister missed a good chance for Khalsa but the final word went to Lye keeper Bedford who made a fine save from a powerful shot from Khalsa sub Ben Hadley. Despite 6 minutes of time added on, it was the visitors who triumphed to take their place in the last 4. As for Khalsa, a wild swinging arm was their undoing. A wonderful evening’s entertainment for the neutral and a proper physical cup tie. A word of praise for the referee who tried to keep the game flowing rather than constantly blowing for infringements.
I am going to start this week with arguably the biggest result of the day with bottom club Continental Star winning 1-0 at Coleshill Town. The goal came courtesy of Dan Holgate and was Star’s second victory of the season. At the top, there were good away wins for the top two. Leaders Hereford gave the students of Loughborough University a lesson as they came away with a 5-0 victory. This keeps the gap at the top to a single point as second placed Alvechurch, with two injury time goals from Karl Edwards, edged past Brocton at Silkmore Lane. Sporting Khalsa take over 3rd spot following a 5-2 home win over Highgate United, Craig Bannister notching up his 37th goal of the season. There was a dramatic game at the bottom of the table between Quorn and Coventry Sphinx. With 12 minutes remaining, Sphinx held a 3-1 lead. Back came Quorn to draw level in the 89th minute but Kieran Nesbitt popped up with a winner for Sphinx in the 4th minute of stoppage time. That win means Sphinx are now just three points from safety. Rocester’s fine run continued with a 3-1 win at Boldmere St Michaels. The Romans have now picked up 13 points out of the last possible 15. Westfields and Long Eaton United looked to be ending goalless until stoppage time when Westfields thought they had bagged all three points. That was until 2 minutes into added time, Elliot King snatched an equaliser for the visitors.
Coventry Sphinx remain in the relegation zone following a 3-0 Monday night defeat at Sphinx Drive at the hands of Brocton. Veteran striker Paul McMahon scored twice in the 2nd half to send the Badgers 14th in the table. Shepshed Dynamo missed out on the chance of going 3rd being beaten by a Callum Riddell goal at Rocester. Walsall Wood climb to 6th after a 2-1 win at Continental Star. Dunkirk led 2-0 at Loughborough University but a strong second half from the Scholars saw them eventually win 4-3. Quorn salvaged a point at home to Stourport Swifts with a last minute equaliser from Leavi Oshungbure.
Only three fixtures survived the weather and the game of the day came at Evans Park where Stafford Town entertained Racing Club Warwick. The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 8th minute when Jamie Vadasz was shown a red card. Tom Green gave Town the lead from the spot but it was the 10 men from Warwick that went into the half-time break 3-2 ahead. In the second half Town raced into a 5-3 lead before the visitors again closed the gap. Craig Hulme’s second of the afternoon gave Town a 6-4 victory with Jamie Smith becoming the second Racer to be shown a red card in the dying minutes. The win moves Stafford up to 16th in the table. Heather St Johns are one of the teams no below Stafford after they slipped to a heavy home defeat at the hands of Coventry Copsewood. The visitors ran out 5-1 winners with Ryan Harkin netting twice. Pershore Town’s recent good run was ended by a Phil McKerdy goal for Lichfield City, who are now 4th.
Bromsgrove Sporting take over at the top of the table following a 4-0 win over Cadbury Athletic. Racing Club Warwick made it 9 away goals in 4 days with a 5-0 win at Pelsall Villa, a hat-trick for Terry Morton. Sam Agar went one better for Hinckley AFC scoring all 4 in a 4-1 win over Pilkington XXX. Dan Scragg was another to get a hat-trick, this one for Heath Hayes who keep Southam United in deep trouble with a 4-1 win.
The big game at the top of Division 2 went the way of Chelmsley Town who beat Droitwich Spa 2-1. The win sees the two swap places with Chelmsley now in 2nd just three points behind the leaders with three games in hand. The aforementioned leaders, Rostance Edwards beat bottom club Earlswood Town 3-0 at The Red Lion Ground to maintain their narrow lead. Paget Rangers move up to 5th place after a 4-2 win at Hampton with Mark Bellingham netting a hat-trick.
What a strange day in Division 3. Leaders Leamington Hibernian reversed their fixture with Coventrians and probably regretted it as a Sean Brennan penalty gave their mid table visitors all three points. 2nd placed FC Stratford have now only picked up 1 point in 5 games as they went down to a single goal defeat at Burntwood Town. These results allowed Redditch Borough to move in to 2nd place as they improved their goal difference significantly with a 13-0 victory over AFC Solihull at The Valley. Jason Cowley led the way with a double hat-trick and there were braces for Jak Albutt, Liam Fullerton and Brandon Mutivbu. Smithswood Firs are very much in contention as they have 6 games in hand on the leaders. They maintained their promotion push with a 6-1 win over Badsey Rangers, Anthony Short with a couple. Perrywood moved 10 points clear of AFC Solihull with an excellent 4-2 win over Inkberrow. They are now level on points with Enville Athletic who lost at home to Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons, Lewis Gorle with the only goal of the game. On Tuesday night, Redditch Borough closed the gap at the top to just 4 points with a 4-2 victory over Perrywood.
Polymac Packaging League Cup Quarter Final
Hereford are through to the semi-finals after an extra time victory at Highgate United. Goals from John Mills and Ross Staley booked a two-legged semi against either Stourport Swifts or Nuneaton Griff. Lye Town will meet Walsall Wood in the other semi after a dramatic 3-2 victory at Sporting Khalsa. The home side were cruising at 2-0 but James Spray pulled one back before Tes Robinson saw red for the home side. Lye took their chance and two second half goals sent them through.
Alvis Sporting Club will meet Hampton in the semi-finals of the Presidents Cup following a 3-1 win over Feckenham.
Northfield Town are through to the quarter-final of the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup following a 3-2 win over Sutton United. Northfield took a 2-0 lead but Sutton came back with a double from George Ford. The home side were not to be denied and David Glaze grabbed a late winner. They travel to Rostance Edwards in the next round. Barton United are through to the final of the Fazeley Charity Cup following a 1-0 win over FC Premier 2000, Jono Douglas with the only goal of the game. Barton will meet BT in the final on Good Friday, March 25th at Coton Green with a 7.30 pm kick off. An 88th minute goal from Dave Yonwin gave Lichfield City a 1-0 win at AFC Wulfrunians in the JW Hunt Cup.
Only one game played in the reserve division where Sutton United and Romulus drew 1-1.
In the Bowl, Bromsgrove Sporting were comfortable 4-0 winners over Anstey Nomads. In the Nottinghamshire Junior Cup, Basford United progressed beating Bilsthorpe Reserves in a penalty shoot-out.
We have reached the semi-final stage of the FA Vase and the two favourites, Phoenix clubs Hereford and Salisbury have been drawn together. The first leg will take place in front of a packed house at Edgar Street with all 4,000 home tickets sold a week before the game. Salisbury have won 18 of their last 19 games in all competitions and go into the game top of the Wessex League by 8 points. The Bulls have had a tremendous first season in the Midland League and hold on to top spot by one point. Hereford have scored 90 and conceded 26 in the league while Salisbury have scored 84 and conceded just 15. This promises to be a fantastic occasion for all concerned with a trip to Wembley the carrot for the victors over the two legs. Good luck to Hereford from everyone at the Midland Football League.
With Hereford on FA Vase duty, Alvechurch have the opportunity to take over top spot when they entertain in-form Walsall Wood at Lye Meadow. A win for Alvechurch would see Alvechurch take a two point lead over Hereford with 13 games to play. Sporting Khalsa are 13 points back with three games in hand and they will be hopeful of three points when they travel to relegation threatened Bardon Hill. Shepshed Dynamo slipped up in midweek and will need to get back to winning ways at home to Long Eaton United if they are to remain in the title race. Likewise Heanor Town can’t afford to drop too many more points if they hope to break into the top two and they have a tough looking fixture at Lye Town. At the bottom, Continental Star are 15 points adrift of safety with 13 games remaining so 3 points are a must as they welcome Westfields to Dales Lane. There is a big relegation scrap at Sphinx Drive as two of the bottom three meet with Coventry Sphinx entertaining Dunkirk, a win vital to both teams. Two Staffordshire sides who had good results in midweek meet at Hillsfield with Brocton visiting Rocester. Quorn sit just above the drop zone however they have played more games than the sides below them. They travel to Walshes Meadow to face improving Stourport Swifts in the reverse of the fixture held on Tuesday. Two mid-table sides meet at Packmeadow with Coleshill Town at home to AFC Wulfrunians. Highgate United could jump into the top 6 if they can take all 3 points at Boldmere St Michaels.
The top two go head to head this week in arguably the biggest game of the season. Bromsgrove Sporting have taken over top spot and they have home advantage at The Victoria Ground over long time leaders Coventry United. A draw would probably be a great result for 3rd placed Nuneaton Griff as they attempt to chase the top two down. They have a home game this week at The Pingles Stadium with Pilkington XXX the visitors. There is a big game at the bottom as the teams in the relegation spots meet with Southam United at home to Bolehall Swifts. Heather St Johns are deep in relegation trouble and they will be looking for points at Studley. Pelsall Villa are on a poor run of form and it is not likely to get any easier this week as they travel to high flying Leicester Road. Stafford Town have turned their season around and have an attractive fixture at Coventry Copsewood. There is a big local derby at St Johns Park with Hinckley AFC at home to Atherstone Town. In the other game on Saturday, Littleton play host to Cadbury Athletic.
The big games keep on coming this week and its 3rd vs 1st in Division 2. Droitwich Spa are the hosts as they look to bounce back from defeat last week at Chelmsley Town. Rostance Edwards, the leaders, have been consistent of late and this promises to be a cracker. Depending on the outcome, 2nd placed Chelmsley Town could take over at the summit providing they win at Coton Green. Alvis Sporting Club have only dropped two points in the league all season and they back to league action at home to Fairfield Villa. Basement side Earlswood Town are at home to Austrey Rangers with a chance to close the gap on Feckenham. Its 12th versus 11th at the Coppice with Barnt Green Spartak at home to Hampton, in what looks a particularly tight game. In the other game in Division 2, Knowle entertain Sutton United.
The battle for the Division 3 title is as intriguing as all of the other MFL divisions. Leaders Leamington Hibernian slipped up at home to Coventrians and they have an immediate chance of revenge this week with the return fixture. 2nd placed Redditch Borough have scored 17 goals in the past week and they are at home to 4th placed Northfield Town. FC Stratford have been in free-fall for some weeks and they need to arrest their slide at home to Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons. Alcester Town remain the form side and they face second bottom Perrywood with a chance to go 3rd if results go their way. Smithswood Firs have games in hand on the leaders and a win at Inkberrow would keep them in the thick of the action. Bottom side AFC Solihull were stunned by the heavy defeat last week at Redditch and they will be wanting to answer some questions when Shipston Excelsior visit Tudor Grange. Barton United were celebrating reaching a cup final last week but its back to league action and a trip to Badsey Rangers. Struggling Enville Athletic welcome Burntwood Town to Hall Drive, 10 points clear of the bottom.
Les James Challenge Cup
Feckenham host Paget Rangers in the quarter final of the LJCC with the winners travelling to Knowle in the last 4.
The Team of the Month awards for February are:
Overall - Nuneaton Griff
Premier Division - Walsall Wood
Division 2 - Droitwich Spa
Division 3 - Leamington Hibernian
Reserve Division - Coleshill Town
Under 21 Division - Bedworth United
Midland Football League Newsletter
3rd March 2016
A number of clubs and agencies have been asking the question regarding an extension to the season due to bad weather. We have not made any decisions at the moment but are closely monitoring the situation. If we experience any further severe weather problems we will then look at the situation at the time.
Polymac Packaging League Cup
The quarter-final draw is as follows:-
Stourport Swifts vs Nuneaton Griff (17th March)
Highgate United vs Hereford (8th March)
Sporting Khalsa vs Lye Town (8th March)
Walsall Wood vs Coleshill Town (1st March)
The Team of the Month awards for February are:
Overall - Nuneaton Griff
Premier Division - Walsall Wood
Division 2 - Droitwich Spa
Division 3 - Leamington Hibernian
Reserve Division - Coleshill Town
Under 21 Division - Bedworth United
Congratulations to those clubs
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday 27th February
AFC Solihull 2 Alcester Town 3
With a lot of attractive fixtures to choose from, decided to take in a new ground and two new teams from Division 3. Tudor Grange Leisure centre is an impressive facility as you drive on to the large car park. For those making their first visit, I suggest you drive around the car park and park on the far side of the site (away from the main entrance) as that is where the pitch is. I did this when I realised there was a car park at the back of the ground (handy for writing notes etc at half-time). I am no great fan of football pitches surrounded by athletic tracks as they deaden the atmosphere somewhat, and here, you do seem some distance from the action if you sit in the covered stand. With AFC Solihull at the foot of the table and visitors Alcester being one of the form teams in the entire Midland League, you could be excused for thinking that this was going to be one-way traffic. Within a minute of the kick-off, it was clear the Solihull were up for this as Alcester keeper Richard Layton was forced into an early save as Matt Molyneux got the wrong side of the Alcester defence. . Alcester went close in the 7th minute when Jack Banks shot to the near post was saved by the Solihull keeper Lee Garghan. Garghan did even better ten minutes later, an inswinging corner looking a goal all the way until it was palmed over the bar. Alcester broke the deadlock in the 26th minute when the ball was played into Matt Trinder in the box and his sidefoot shot, wrongfooted the keeper as it slowly crossed the line. Leading scorer Matt Layton should have made it two in the 31st minute but his volley was too high. On the stroke of half-time, Solihull had a great chance to equalise but Callum Howels was off target with his shot. Solihull started the second half well and were level in the 48th minute when Howels tapped the ball home after a decent interchange with his strike partner Molyneux. It got better for the home side in the 55th minute when a long throw from Martin Campbell caused panic in the Alcester defence and Howels was on hand to bundle the ball in at the far post. Alcester were convinced they had levelled in the 63rd minute but both referee and linesman adjudged that the ball had not crossed the line. Another long throw from Solihull should have given them a 3rd goal but Molyneux was off target with his header. Alcester have not had such a good run of results for nothing and they levelled with 8 minutes left. Steve Nurse beat his defender and placed a perfect lob over the keeper and into the net. The visitors completed their turnaround in the 88th minute. A cross from the right was flicked on to the head of leading goalscorer Matt Layton who made no mistake, his 30th goal of the season. There was little time for the home side to respond and the visitors kept up their promotion challenge after a hard earned victory. A visit to Tudor Grange is well worth it and I can imagine it being a very pleasant place to be on a nice sunny day! For those that think the Midland Football league is all about the Premier Division, think again. Give all our Divisions a try.
Tuesday 1st March
Walsall Wood 2 Coleshill Town 1
The first of the league cup quarter-finals saw two in-form sides meet at the ML Safety Stadium. With a strong wind at their backs, Coleshill dominated the early play. A mistake by the Wood defence allowed Mykel Beckley to send the ball goalwards but it lacked power and was cleared off the line. Ricardo Reid spun his defender and advanced into the are but chose to shoot instead of laying the ball inside to the waiting Gip Dainty and the chance was lost. Wood were living a charmed life and keeper Adam Jenkins was relieved to gather the ball after an almighty scramble in the box. Reid hit a tame shot straight to Jenkins when in a decent position. Out of nothing, Wood fashioned a chance when Craig Deakin reacted quicker than the defender and poked the ball goalwards but it drifted across the face of goal and away from danger. Coleshill grabbed the lead on the stroke of half-time when Luke Edwards powered home a header from a right wing corner. Reid wasted another decent chance fort Coleshill at the start of the second half, choosing to pass this time instead of shooting. Wood began to look more threatening and an overhead kick from Joey Butlin went wide. Poor defending by Coleshill gave Wood the equaliser in the 52nd minute The ball fell at the feet of Corey Carruthers and his shot took a deflection as it flew past Paul Hathaway. Wood were now in the ascendancy and a fine shot by Deakin was saved, low down, by Hathaway. Wood had the ball in the net in the 58th minute but the linesman had flagged for offside. Anthony Juxon was next to try his luck for the home side but his flying header was just over the bar. Wood scored what was to be the winner 8 minutes from time and it was another mistake by the Coleshill defence. Deakin was allowed to win the ball on the byline when it should have been cleared. He rolled the ball into the path of skipper Harry Harris who hammered the ball into the roof of the net. Wood comfortably saw out time to reach the semi-finals. A game very much of two halves and opportunities wasted by Coleshill in the first half. Wood dominated after the break and took their chances well.
Alvechurch closed the gap at the top to just two points with two games in hand, as they won 2-0 at Long Eaton United. Two goals in two minutes midway through the second half from Jordan Nadat and Connor Deards gave Church all the points. In the battle of the top 4, Shepshed Dynamo took the spoils as they beat Heanor Town 3-2 at Butthole Lane. Michael Reeve scored twice for Dynamo to take his season tally to 13. 5th placed Sporting Khalsa had to come from behind at Loughborough University to gain a point, Chad Birch, with the all-important goal on his debut. At the bottom, Continental Star looked to be heading for an all important win but goals from Rob Ritchie-Smith and a Tom Land effort, four minutes from time, gave Rocester all the points. Dunkirk suffered a narrow defeat in the battle to stay up with a Craig Gregg goal being enough for AFC Wulfrunians to take the three points. Coventry Sphinx twice held the lead at high-flying Highgate United but ultimately had to settle for a point in a 2-2 draw. Despite improved results in recent weeks, Quorn are still in danger and their situation was not improved when they lost 2-1 at home to Lye Town. Aiden Thomas scored twice as Westfields moved 14 points ahead of the relegation zone with a 4-1 win over Boldmere St Michaels. Stourport Swifts move up to 12th thanks to a Joe Phillips goal as they beat Brocton 1-0 at Walshes Meadow.
Sporting Khalsa climbed to 4th on Monday evening with a 3-0 win at relegation-threatened Coventry Sphinx. Craig Bannister scored twice making it 35 for the season. A missed penalty 5 minutes from time meant Alvechurch missed the chance to go top after being held to a goalless draw by Quorn. Two goals in the first 11 minutes saw Rocester and Highgate United battle out a 1-1 draw at Hillsfield. Stourport Swifts move up to 11th place after a 3-0 win over Continental Star. All of the goals came in the second half with Jack Bailey scoring twice. Shepshed Dynamo climbed to 3rd following a 4-0 win at Long Eaton United. Four different scorers for Dynamo who are now 10 points behind with a game in hand.
Coventry United extended their lead at the top to 5 points with a comprehensive 4-0 win at Southam United. Nuneaton Griff are 10 points behind in 3rd place as they beat Heath Hayes 2-0 at The Pingles Stadium. Luke Shorthouse was again on target for Griff reaching the 30 goal mark for the season. A Tom McGlinchey double was enough for Leicester Road as they won 2-1 at Pelsall Villa. Tyron Smith scored twice for 5th place Lichfield City in a 5-1 defeat of Studley at The McDonalds Community Stadium. Bolehall Swifts remain bottom as they were beaten by a Craig Oldfield penalty at Pilkington XXX. Stafford Town are one place above the relegation zone as they let a lead slip at Littleton eventually going down 2-1. 12 points out of the last 5 games has lifted Pershore Town to 11th, their latest victory a 2-0 win at Coventry Copsewood courtesy of a Gareth Evans double. Hinckley AFC have moved up to 7th following a 2-0 victory over Cadbury Athletic at St Johns Park. Atherstone Town rose 2 places in the league table with a 2-1 win over Heather St Johns, Alan Miller with the winner.
Bromsgrove Sporting closed the gap at the top to two points with a 2-0 win at fellow promotion contenders Lichfield City. Nuneaton Griff remain in the hunt although they had to withstand a fightback from hosts Cadbury Athletic to secure all 3 points. Griff raced into a 3-0 lead before The Chocolatemen scored twice to make it a nervy finish. An excellent win for Racing Club Warwick at Heath Hayes moves them up to 11th place. The Racers had keeper Conal Dowling sent-off but the ten men grabbed all 3 points through a Wade Malley goal. There was a topsy-turvy game at St Johns Park. Hinckley AFC raced into a 2-0 lead against Pelsall Villa but the visitors bounced back and looked to be taking all 3 points home until Greg Pearson snatched a late equaliser – the game ending 3-3. Southam United remain 5 points adrift of safety after going down 2-0 at Littleton.
Chelmsley Town missed the chance to draw level with 2nd placed Droitwich Spa as they were held to a goalless draw by Coton Green. There was a big win for Fairfield Villa who came from behind to beat Hampton 4-1. Alvis Sporting Club are just 7 points off the top with 6 games in hand following a 3-2 win over
Leamington Hibernian are now 7 points clear at the top. They extended their lead with a 4-2 win over 3rd placed Redditch Borough. 2nd placed FC Stratford lost at home to 6th placed Barton United, who are only 4 points off the second promotion spot. Northfield Town are up to 3rd after a single goal win over Burntwood Town. Alcester Town move up to 4th as an 88th-minute goal from Matt Layton gave them a 3-2 win over bottom side AFC Solihull, for whom Callum Howels scored twice. 2nd bottom Perrywood are 7 points ahead of Solihull as they went down 3-1 at Shipston Excelsior. Enville Athletic and Coventrians shared 4 goals at Hall Drive and both sides remain in the bottom 5. Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons move up to 13th with a good 2-0 home win over Badsey Rangers.
Polymac Packaging League Cup Quarter Final
Walsall Wood are the first team through to the last four after a 2-1 home win over Coleshill Town. The visitors took the lead on the stroke of half-time but Wood came back and sealed the victory with a Harry Harris goal 8 minutes from time.
Les James Challenge Cup Quarter Finals
4 goals from Aaron Cooke helped Alvis Sporting Club on their way to a 6-2 win at Inkberrow. The two other quarter finals that took place both went to extra time. A hat-trick from James Lemon (33 for the season) saw Droitwich Spa home with a 3-0 win at Sutton United. They are joined in the semi-finals by Knowle who beat Smithswood Firs 4-2 on penalties after it had ended 1-1 after extra time.
Bromsgrove Sporting made it through to a home semi-final in the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup following a 2-0 win at Earlswood Town. Hereford are through to the Herefordshire Challenge Cup Final where they will face Westfields. In the semi-final, they disposed of a valiant Kington Town 4-0 at Edgar Street with John Mills notching goals 42 and 43 of the season. In the Birmingham Midweek Floodlit Cup, Coventry Copsewood advanced to the next round, 3-0 winners over Studley.
Coleshill Town are a massive 12 points clear after a 5-0 win over Sutton United. Gresley moved above Sutton in the league table with a 3-0 win over 2nd place Solihull Moors. The two other games ended in a stalemate, 1-1 between Continental Star and Lichfield City and 2-2 between Romulus and Brocton.
In the South division, Kings Heath Concorde are off the bottom after a 2-0 win at H.O.W. Academy. Gornal Athletic take over at the basement after they went down 3-1 at West Midlands Football Academy. In the North, league leaders Sutton Coldfield Town stretch their lead after a 4-2 win at Basford United. Tipton Town remain bottom after a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Anstey Nomads. Two games in the challenge Bowl and home wins for Tamworth, 3-0 over Heath Hayes, and Walsall Wood, 2-1 over Newcastle Town. In the Worcester Royal Infirmary Cup, Stourport Swifts won 2-0 at Bromsgrove Sporting.
The top two face tricky away games this weekend. Leaders Hereford take their one point lead to Loughborough University knowing that the student are a match for anyone on their day. A big crowd is expected and this will be a cracker. 2nd placed Alvechurch go to Brocton who have slipped a little after an excellent run of results. The Badgers are particularly strong at home and Church will have to be on top form to gain something from the game. Shepshed Dynamo are 10 points adrift with a game in hand and they welcome lowly Dunkirk to The Dovecote Stadium. Heanor Town are probably left themselves too much to do to catch the leaders and they face a trip to Castlecroft to play AFC Wulfrunians. Two of the top 6 meet at The Aspray Arena with hosts Sporting Khalsa still harbouring hopes of promotion. 6th placed Highgate United upset Hereford at Edgar Street last week and this one is tough to call. Walsall Wood continued their good form in midweek and they will fancy their chances as they travel to mid-table Stourport Swifts. At the bottom, things are looking bleak for Continental Star and they have the challenge of trying to stop free-scoring Coleshill Town at Pack Meadow. Coventry Sphinx currently occupy the third relegation spot and they travel to Quorn to face on of the sides in their sights should they start to pick up points. Bardon Hill yet again fell foul of the weather gods in midweek and they will be desperate to get their home game against Lye Town on, and pick up much-needed points in the process. Boldmere St Michaels and Rocester have moved away from danger in recent weeks and they meet at Church Lane. Westfields had a good win last time out and they welcome inconsistent Long Eaton United to Allpay Park.
Only one place for the game of the day this week and that is Sphinx Drive where leaders Coventry United welcome in-form 3rd placed Nuneaton Griff. Griff have won the last 6 and are just 7 points behind United having played one game more. With a trip to 2nd placed Bromsgrove Sporting next weekend, these are huge games for the home side. On any other day, the Hinckley derby between Leicester Road and Hinckley AFC would grab all of the attention. The home side are currently in the box seat as far as league position is concerned but that doesn’t matter one iota where a derby is concerned. Lichfield City’s promotion challenge has slipped away in the last few weeks and they go to in-form Pershore Town who have climbed to mid-table on the back of 4 wins out of 5. At the bottom, Bolehall Swifts are 6 points from safety and they need points as they travel to Cadbury Athletic. Southam United have games in hand on all of the sides around them but it is points they need if they are to avoid the drop. This week they host Atherstone Town who are 5 places above them. Stafford Town are in decent nick and have put some impressive results together since the turn of the year. They welcome Racing Club Warwick to Evans Park where another 3 points could lift them two places in the table. Heather St Johns are deep in the relegation battle and could do with picking up points when they welcome Coventry Copsewood to St Johns Park. Pelsall Villa picked up a good point in midweek at Hinckley and need more of the same when they travel to Studley. Heath Hayes and Littleton are locked toh#gether in 8th and 9th so a tight game is expected in Staffordshire this weekend.
A huge game at the top of the table as 3rd placed Chelmsley Town host 2nd placed Droitwich Spa. The two sides met in the Les James Challenge Cup in January and that one went the way of Droitwich –an omen perhaps? It is top versus bottom at The Red lion with leaders Rostance Edwards welcoming Earlswood Town. This is Rostance 4th successive home league game – the previous 3 have resulted in victories. Barnt Green Spartak are in need of points to move away from the drop zone and they welcome Coton Green to Tythe Barn Lane. Hampton suffered a heavy defeat last week and will look to bounce back at home to Paget Rangers. Austrey Rangers and Knowle are in 9th and 10th and they meet at Austrey with both needing points to cement their mid-table place.
Leamington Hibernian have opened up a 7 point lead at the top and they travel to Coventrians with every chance of maintaining that lead. 2nd placed FC Stratford travel to Burntwood Town looking to emulate the leaders who scored 6 on their visit to Ravenhill Park. Alcester Town moved into the top four last week and will expect to continue their rapid rise when they visit Shipston Excelsior. Redditch Borough have games in hand on the leaders and they will expect three points as they host bottom club AFC Solihull, who gave high-flying Alcester a scare last week. Smithswood Firs have 6 games in hand and could go top if they won them all. They need to start this week when they host Badsey Rangers. 2nd bottom Perrywood host mid-table Inkberrow this week while the two sides above them, Enville Athletic and Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons, meet at Hall Drive.
Presidents Cup Quarter Final
Alvis Sporting Club host Feckenham with form and league position favouring the home side. The winners will travel to Hampton in the semi-final.
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