Midland Football League Newsletter
13th April 2016
Gornal Athletic are looking for an U21 manager for next season to continue the progression of the current squad playing in Midland Football League U21 south on Saturdays. Any interest please email. firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance. We are looking to make an appointment before the last couple of games of this season so you can get to know the lads.
Travels of the Press Officer
Thursday 7th April
Coventry United 3 Nuneaton Griff 2
Two big promotion battles to choose from tonight and my decision was made with me having to be Essex for a meeting at half past midnight (yes, that’s right)! Coventry United have 11 games to play in 23 days and could face no more difficult opponents than 2nd placed Nuneaton Griff, who with Bromsgrove Sporting, are making the quest for promotion from Division 1 a real three-horse race. With manager Edwin Greaves relieved of his duties, this was United’s first game of the new era. They couldn’t have made a better start when Josh O’Grady spun and shot into the corner in the 3rd minute. Richard Blythe had another effort for United well saved by George Woodward. Dave Barnett shot into the side netting but should have done better for Griff in the 8th minute when he decided to pass when he really should have hit the target. Woodward was called into action to make a fine save from an O’Grady free-kick. Midway through the half, Griff wasted another goods chance when Kieron Brehon missed the target. Chances were coming at both ends and Josh Blake failed to control a cross from Blythe when well placed. Luke Shorthuose hit a snapshot just over the bar before Griff levelled in the 34th minute. A quick break by the visitors saw the ball played into Alex Naughton and he fires past Rich Morris despite a valiant attempt by the United keeper. As the half drew to a close both Naughton and Blake were off target.
Griff started the second half the better with Brehon going close before Barnett was well off target. Shorthouse forced a save from Morris and at the other end Woodward made a comfortable save from an O’Grady free-kick. Josh Ruff was causing panic in the United defence and he ran through the backline before tripping himself up as he reached the penalty area. Griff deservedly took the lead in the 71st minute. Danny Harris delivered a deep free-kick which Ryan Millerchip headed on to the waiting Barnett who volleyed into the net. It should have been three 5 minutes later. More good work by Ruff gave Naughton the chance, and with the goal at his mercy, he managed to hit the ball against the defender rather than steering the ball into the empty net. Naughton again missed a gilt-edged chance in the 82nd minute after being set up by Shorthouse. You always felt that Griff may rue the missed chances and with two minutes on the clock Rob Prinzel headed home from a corner. Griff had another chance on 90 minutes when Millerchip headed Ruff’s free-kick on the bar. United were not finished yet and in the 93rd minute, O’Grady wriggled into the box where he was tripped by Anton Astley . The referee had no choice other than to award a spot-kick which Chris Cox despatched with power. With the home fans going wild, Astley received a second yellow for a foul on Matt Brown. At the final whistle, United had closed the gap on leaders Bromsgrove Sporting with the title still up for grabs for all three sides.
Saturday 9th April
Hereford 4 Brocton 1
Following their win on Thursday at Alvechurch, Hereford came into the match on top of the pile. With the news that the Alvechurch pitch had failed an inspection, the opportunity was there to open up a four-point lead. Standing in their way were Brocton who were on a great run of results away from home. Cheered on by another 3,000+ crowd, the Bulls started in breathtaking fashion. In the 3rd minute, Mike Symons created an opening for Mustapha Bundu but he inexplicably missed the target. Brocton keeper Callum Barrett was in for a busy afternoon and he did well to stop Symons in his tracks, no mean feat in itself. Bundu was proving to be a real threat and after he cut inside, his shot was too high to trouble Barrett. Aaron Birch was next to waste an opportunity for Hereford, sidefooting wide after being teed up by Jimmy Oates. In the 11th minute, Bundu confused the Brocton defense with a stepover but Barrett was alive to save his shot. Pablo Haysahm was next to test Barrett, and Gary Fife did well to clear away the danger for Brocton. The opening goal came in the 14th minute when Bundu shot in off the crossbar. Barrett again saved Brocton, palming away a header from Symons. Against the run of play, Brocton levelled midway through the half. A cross from Dave berks found Jack Edwards at the far post. Edwards beat Oates, turned and curled his shot past Martin Horsell. Brocton almost took the lead in the 29th minute when a Berks free-kick was headed past his own goal by Jamie Laird. A minute later and the battle between the Bulls and Barrett continued with the Badgers keeper making a marvellous save from Bundu. The chances kept coming for Hereford and Oates should have done better with a header from a Rob Purdie corner. In the 39th minute, the Brocton goal somehow remained intact after Sirdic Grant his the post and then Barrett, who else, foiled Bundu.
The second half commenced as the first had finished with Hereford on the attack. Bundu skipped past Charlie Jones down the left and his cross was volleyed wide by Haysham. Purdie had a snap shot saved by Barrett, standing firm under all the pressure. In the 51st minute, Hereford were awarded a penalty when Ed Booth was all over Grant and brought him down in the area. There were no complaints from Brocton and Bundu made them pay with an excellent spot-kick. The goal relaxed the team and the fans and a great combination between grant and Bundu saw the latter fire over. Grant again set-up Bundu and again the striker fired over before the duo combined for Grant to fire wide. The third Hereford goal came in the 69th minute following the introduction of Joe Tumelty. With his first touch from the by-line, his cross was tapped in by Symons from inside the 6-yard box. Tumelty almost grabbed a goal for himself but Barrett made another fine save. In the 77th minute, John Mills missed a sitter for Hereford, failing to connect with a Rob Purdie corner. However, goal number four wasn’t long in coming as Tumelty’s low cross was turned in by Laird at the far post. Grant should have made it 5 just before full time but he completely miss-kicked in front of goal.
All in all, a commanding performance by the Bulls who look a certainty to take the title.
Monday 11th April
Heath Hayes 4 Lichfield City 0 (Staffordshire Vase Final)
Another wet and miserable evening but thankfully, the improved playing surface at Stafford Rangers FC means tonight’s Staffordshire Vase final goes ahead. Two MFL Division 1 sides have reached the final, and with only one place separating them in the league table, a closely fought cup tie is expected. A decent crowd, most of which sit in the main stand at Marston Road, had braved the elements to see some silverware. The first effort of the game came from Hayes’ Liam Degville but his shot was off target. Joe Pickering swung in a free-kick for Hayes and although Jack Arrowsmith got his head to the ball it was easy for City keeper Sherdon Martinez. Lichfield’s first attempt came from Michael Taylor – his shot on the turn deflected for a corner. Another free-kick from Pickering caused problems in the City defence but Dimitri Dunkley couldn’t divert it towards goal. Hayes continued to press and a low hard cross from Pickering evaded everyone. Heath hayes deservedly took the lead in the 27th minute and it was an excellent individual goal from Dunkley. He rode a strong challenge, ran purposefully into the box and shot into the bottom corner. Lichfield could hvae been level within three minutes. Dexter Ravenhill delivered a free-kick into the area but Taylor was off target with his header. A quick break by Lichfuield sent Taylor clear but his shot cannoned back off the post with Mark Wiggins beaten. At the other end, Heath hayes came close to a second when Degville’s shot was cleared off the line. Lichfield’s leading scorer Tony Clarke had been kept very quiet but a fine piece of skill from the striker, controlling, spinning and shooting in one fluid movement, forced a fine save from Wiggins. Lichfield went close again when Ravenhill’s cross was diverted over his own bar by Alex Scott. In first half stoppage time, Martin Crawford was off target for Lichfield who had finished the half strongly.
The second half started with Heath hayes on the offensive. England Under 18 International, Joe Hartshorne won the ball but over ran it as he was closed down by three defenders and Lichfield managed to hack it away from danger. Heath Hayes doubled their lead in the 51st minute. Another excellent Pickering free-kick was headed into the corner by Arrowsmith, the ball delivered with such pace that a decent flick was ll that was required. Things got even better for Heath hayes two minutes later and it was a goal to grace any occasion but particularly a cup-final. Jack Partridge received the ball some 30 yards from goal and curled his shot into the top corner past the despairing dive of Martinez. It was now pretty much one-way traffic and Dunkley again forced a save from Martinez. Joe Haines had a chance for Lichfield but his header was straight at Wiggins. Degville was off target again for Heath Hayes after he had created space in the middle of the park. Heath Hayes were now playing some superb football and from one flowing move Pickering cleared the crossbar with this shot. Heath Hayes’ fourth was a wonderful team goal. Starting at the back, they passed it eventually to full back Harry Phillips rampaging down the right. His cross found the feet of Pickering on the edge of the area and his left-foot shot was perfect. Martinez made a fine double save to thwart Pickering and then Arrowsmith but it was Heath hayes who celebrated a fine victory at the final whistle.
An excellent game of football played in horrible conditions. The passing football produced by heath Hayes was a joy to behold and Lichfield had no answer to them on the night.
Tuesday 12th April
AFC Wulfrunians 2 Sporting Khalsa 2
These two sides had served up a couple of crackers already this season with Wulfs winning in the league and Khalsa in the FA Cup, both by 3-2 margins. Thankfully, yesterday’s rain had relented to allow the game to go ahead albeit on a heavy pitch. Wulfs shocked their high-flying neighbours by taking the lead in the 5th minute. Jake Sedgemore whipped in a free-kick which was headed home by centre-back Matt Hunt. Craig Bannister was unlucky in the 8th minute when his shot was deflected for a corner. Jamie King created an opening for himself but the Wulfs striker fired well wide and a minute later he burst into the area but allowed the Khalsa defenders time to clear. In the 25th minute it was the home side again that threatened, a quick break down the right and Craig Gregg’s shot was saved. A minute later, Khalsa went close when Marvin Nisbett’s close range effort was saved by Josh Moreton. The game was being played at a good pace and Wulfs went close with David Howells headers saved by Mihai Gherasim. Gregg was very busy in the home midfield and in the 31st minute he forced another save from Gherasim. Khalsa equalised int erh35th minute. Bannister delivered a free-kick into the box, Tes Robinson headed it back and David Meese poached inside the 6-yard box and steered it home. Khalsa should have been in front three minutes but the ver reliable Bannister beat the post after creating the space and deceiving Moreton. On the stroke of half-time, a challenge on Brad Lawley sparked a melée but both sets of players retreated to the dressing room.
The start of the second half was delayed while the referee brandished a red card to Nathan Rose-Laing. Whether this was for his involvement in the contretemps at the end of the first half, whether it was something he said or what, no-one knew. Suffice to say, it did not go down well with the home side. Now down to 10 men, you would expect Khalsa to overpower the home side. Although they had plenty of possession they rarely posed a threat to Moreton’s goal and Wulfs grew more and more comfortable as the half wore on. The game was drifting to its conclusion when Khalsa sub Callum Cooper changed the complexion of the game with a stunning shot from 25 yards which went in off the crossbar. With only three minutes remaining, surely Khalsa had done enough to pick up all three points. Don’t you bet on it? Three minutes into time added on, Jake Sedgemore’s free-kick was scramble in at the far post by Ben Jevons to give the 10 men an unlikely equaliser and an unlikely point.
A very enjoyable game of football between two committed sides. On another day, with a different referee, the number of cards of both colours may well have been higher – in some ways this would have been preferred by the officials of both clubs.
Wednesday 13th April
Continental Star 1 Hereford 5
A bottom versus top clash and a chance for the Bulls of Hereford to move 7 points clear in the battle for promotion. Hereford fans, as per normal, turned up in number expecting to cheer their side on to an improved goal difference with the home side already relegated. As expected, Hereford attached from the off but Aaron Birch was wide with his 3rd minute effort. Mustapha Bundu forced a fine save from Jordan Ellis, the first of many from the Continental Star keeper. In the 7th minute, Sidric Grant;s low shot was well saved. From the resulting corner. Jamie Willetts saw two shots blocked on the line. Star were really putting in a huge effort to keep out Hereford and Mike Symons was next to have s hot blocked by the home defence. John Mills blasted wide when in a decent position. Excellent work by Grant teed up Mills and his goalbound effort was somehow kept out by the excellent Ellis. Against the run of play, the home side took the lead. A corner from the right was poorly defended and Franklin Hazell hooked the ball home to silence the crowd. Ellis made another fine save after a James Bowen long throw flicked off a Star defender, the keeper tipping it over the bar. Rob Purdie was inches wide with a free-kick and Mills was off target with another header. The equaliser came on the stroke of half-time. Bundu flicked on the ball and Mills, spotting the keeper off his line, lifted it over him and into the net.
At the start of the second half, Mills blasted another shot over but the second goal wasn’t long in coming. A corner from the right was nodded into the box by Willetts and Bundu steered it home. Hereford claims for a penalty for handball were waved away by the referee as Herford pressed for more goals.Bundu was on target with a free-kick but Ellis made a comfortable save. Hereford scored a third in the 71st minute. A quick break from the back involving Bundu and Grant finished with Bundu playing the ball into the path of Anthony Robbins and he made no mistake. With the Continental Star defence tiring, it was now a case of how many more goals could Hereford score. Ellis was again on hand to thwart Bundu but he could no nothing about goal number 4 with fifteen minutes remaining. A cross came in from the left-hand side and Mills planted his header into the corner. Hereford continued to drive forward and the fifth and final goal came 3 minutes into stoppage time when Ross Staley beat the keeper and finished with aplomb.
Continental Star gave everything but were simply overpowered in the end by a side that look like league champions. While not at their best, Hereford continue to carve out chances and converting even a small percentage led to 5 goals.
On Thursday evening, Hereford returned to the top of the Premier Division with a 2-1 win at previous leaders Alvechurch. In front of a mammoth Lye Meadow crowd of 1600+, the Bulls raced into a 2-0 lead before Church came back. Church’s penalty woes continued as Jordan Nadat’s spot-kick was saved by Martin Horsell to give the visitors all three points and the advantage in the title race.
With the game at Alvechurch postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, Hereford took full advantage and opened up a 4 point lead at the top thanks to a 4-1 win over Brocton. The sides were level at the break but a penalty from Mustapha Bundu, his second goal of the game, sent them on their way. Third-placed Sporting Khalsa are 12 points behind and realistically out of the race after being held 1-1 by Quorn. Heanor Town move up to 4th after a 7-0 win over already relegated Continental Star. Nick Hall and Matt Harris both scored twice with three goals coming in the last 5 minutes. Shepshed Dynamo slip back a place after being held to a 2-2 draw at home by Coleshill Town, Simeon Cobourne equalising for the visitors two minutes into time added on. Walsall Wood drop down to 7th after a surprising heavy defeat at Rocester. The Romans won the game 5-0 with Oliver Roome scoring twice. At the bottom, Dunkirk’s plight is looking more and more ominous as they went down to a solitary Paul Hurrell goal at Stourport Swifts. Likewise, Bardon Hill are in deep trouble. 5 points behind Coventry Sphinx with only one game in hand and their goal difference was not improved with a 4-0 home defeat at the hands of Westfields, Jamie Cuss scored twice for Fields while Dunkirk had two players red carded. Lye Town have run into a rich vein of form and that continued with a 1-0 victory at AFC Wulfrunians. A Harry Howard goal for Boldmere St Michaels dented Highgate United’s hopes of a top 6 finish as the Mikes won 1-0 at The Coppice.
On Tuesday evening, there was a dramatic end to the game between AFC Wulfrunians and Sporting Khalsa at Castlecroft. Khalsa took the lead in the 87th minute but Wulfs, playing with 10 men for the whole of the second half, drew level in the 3rd minute of stoppage time to earn a 2-2 draw. Dunkirk’s battle against relegation is almost over as they went down 4-0 at Quorn, Jacob Lever scoring twice. Bardon Hill surrendered home advantage to Loughborough University due to the weather and the students thanked them by inflicting a 7-0 defeat. Ben Ward-Cochrane grabbed as a hat-trick as Bardon concede their 100th league goal of the season. Lye Town’s excellent end to the season continued with a 3-2 win at Stourport Swifts which moves them up to 7th in the table. Highgate United suffered their fourth successive defeat as they were beaten 2-1 by Rocester at The Coppice. Hereford extended their lead at the top of the table to 7 points but had to come from behind to beat Continental Star 5-1, John Mills adding two more to his tally. Long Eaton United and Boldmere St Michaels shared the points and six goals in a 3-3 draw at Grange Park.
On Thursday evening, the teams in 3rd and 2nd met at Sphinx Drive and it was 3rd placed Coventry United that came out on top in a dramatic encounter. United took an early lead through Josh O’Grady but Nuneaton Griff came back to take the lead midway through the second half. They really should have out the game to bed missing two glorious chances before the home side grabbed an equaliser two minutes from time. The home fans were sent wild 3 minutes into stoppage time when Chris Cox converted a penalty to shake up the title race even more.
Big winners of the day in Division 1 were Hinckley AFC who scored thirteen times without reply at bottom club Southam United. Southam had lost a number of players during the week and started the game with ten men. For Hinckley, Ryan Seal scored 4, Sam Agar 3 and Darius Darkin 2 as they move up to 5th in the table. Coventry United also racked up a double figure score beating 2nd bottom Pelsall Villa 11-0 at Sphinx Drive. Both Richard Blythe and Josh Blake scored hat-tricks with doubles for Josh O’Grady and Matt Brown. Leaders Bromsgrove Sporting had to come from behind to beat Coventry Copsewood at The Victoria ground. A crowd of 431 witnessed a second half hat-trick for Will Tibbetts as the Rouslers stay 5 points clear. 3rd placed Nuneaton Griff bounced back from their defeat at Coventry United to edge past Lichfield City 2-1. At the bottom Stafford Town remain level with Pelsall Villa following a 2-1 defeat at Pershore Town. Bolehall Swifts recent good run came to an end with a 2-0 defeat at Rene Road by Littleton. Leicester Road stay 4th following a 3-0 win over Cadbury Athletic, Matthew Stenson with a brace. Heath Hayes travelled to the Beehive and were well and truly stung as Studley took all 3 points with a 3-1 win. A Wade Malley goal ensured that Racing Club Warwick are in the top half of the table with a 1-0 win at Pilkington XXX.
Coventry United closed the gap at the top to 5 points with three games in hand with an emphatic 5-0 derby win at Coventry Copsewood, Josh O’Grady scoring twice. Stafford Town did their survival chances a power of good with a 3-2 win at Cadbury Athletic. Spencer Gunnell was on target twice for the reds who move above Heather St johns with the win. A James Hicks goal late on gave Leicester Road all 3 points at Studley which strengthens their hold on 4th place in the table.
On Thursday evening, the juggernaut that is Alvis Sporting Club took over top spot with a 7-2 win over Sutton United. Kiam Galdins helped himself to a hat-trick and Dildale Linton added two more to his impressive tally as Alvis lead Chelmsley Town by two points with the two sides meeting on Saturday.
The game between the top two at the Pavilion went the way of Alvis Sporting Club with a 4-0 win over Chelmsley Town. Alvis now hold a five-point lead with games in hand and it will take a monumental effort to stop them winning the league. Droitwich Spa held a 2 goal lead at Knowle but the home side came back and snatched an equaliser in stoppage time through Tom Craine, his second of the game, to dent Droitwich’s promotion push. A 90th-minute goal from Joe Casley meant back to back wins for Earlswood Town as they beat Fairfield Villa 1-0. Hampton improved their chances of staying out of the bottom two with a tremendous 5-1 win at Coton Green, Steve Joynes with a hat-trick. Paget Rangers closed the gap on 4th placed Rostance Edwards with a 2-0 win over the Eddies.
Alvis Sporting Club increased their lead at the top of the table with win 17 out of 18 beating Knowle 3-2 at The Robins Nest. Alex Knight scored twice for Knowle but it wasn’t enough to inflict a first league defeat of the season on the leaders.
Loads of goals in Division 3 with 7 or more in four of the fixtures. Promotion chasing Smithswood Firs were involved in an amazing game at Perrywood. 3-1 down and then 4-3 in front only for Perrywood to equalise in the 89th minute to seal a 4-4 draw. Shipston Excelsior made it seven wins out of seven with a dramatic fightback at Northfield Town. 3-1 down with four minutes left, Shipston took all three points with a 4-3 win, Patrick Fetherston with a brace. Leaders, Leamington Hibernian hold a 7 point lead after they beat Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons 4-2, two goals each for Will Pendred and Alister Wrist Barton United are up to 5th after beating Alcester Town 2-1, George Stack with the winner in the 90th minute. Enville Athletic were the high scorers on the day, beating AFC Solihull 6-1 at Hall Drive with braces for Tim Parry and Adam Wooldridge. There were another 7 goals at Inkberrow who beat Burntwood Town 5-2, Josh Walker with a couple. FC Stratford are back up to 4th place with a 3-1 win at Coventrians.
Smithswood Firs closed the gap on the top two with a narrow 3-2 win over Northfield Town at The Mackadown Stadium.
Heath Hayes lifted the Staffordshire Vase with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Lichfield City at Stafford Rangers FC. The goals were shared around with the pick being a 30-yard effort from Jack Partridge. Alvechurch lifted the Worcestershire Senior Urn beating Bromsgrove Sporting 3-0 at Evesham United FC.
Cadbury Athletic 0 Romulus 2
Coleshill Town 3 Brocton 1
Coventry United 2 Rocester 2
Lichfield City 3 Gresley 1
Gresley 2 Lichfield City 4
Anstey Nomads 1 Basford United 6 (U21N)
Heath Hayes 3 H.O.W. Academy 0 (Bowl)
Tamworth 2 Anstey Nomads 1
Joel Mills Hereford 48
Craig Bannister Sporting Khalsa 42
Lei Brown Highgate United 30
Jamie Cuss Westfields 29
Jordan Nadat Alvechurch 28
Karl Edwards Alvechurch 26
Luke Shorthouse Nuneaton Griff 37
Tony Clarke Lichfield City 36
Josh O’Grady Coventry United 30
Ryan Seal Hinckley AFC 27
James Lemon Droitwich Spa 40
Chris Lloyd Chelmsley Town 39
Mark Bellingham Paget Rangers 32
Dildale Linton Alvis Sporting Club 27
Matt Layton Alcester Town 31
Jak Albutt Redditch Borough 31
Peter Martin Barton United 31
Ashley Wilkes FC Stratford 23
One game on Thursday sees a mid-table clash between Highgate United and Stourport Swifts. Current form favours Swifts but expect it t be tight either way.
Leaders Hereford travel to Quorn on Saturday with the league title getting ever nearer. The Bulls are in excellent form and will expect to pick up all 3 points. There is a huge battle at the Aspray Arena as 3rd entertain 2nd. Sporting Khalsa will still believe they can take the runner-up spot while Alvechurch need to win every game if they are to overtake Hereford and clinch the title. With two of the more intense managers in opposition, this could be tasty on the pitch and in the technical area. 4th placed Heanor Town can pretty much cement a top 6 finish with a win away at relegation threatened Bardon Hill. A couple of wins for Coventry Sphinx has given them real hope in avoiding relegation. They face mid-table Rocester at Sphinx Drive with a chance for a much-needed victory. Dunkirk’s Premier Division stay is almost done and nothing short of a win at Westfields will suffice for the Boatmen. The last thing you need after having relegation confirmed is to meet the two in-form sides in the Division. This is the fate for Continental Star who follow up Wednesday’s home game against Hereford with a daunting trip to Lye Town. Coleshill Town are rapidly closing in on 100 league goals for the season and they take their goalscoring prowess to Boldmere St Michaels. There is a local derby to savour at Hollywell where Shepshed Dynamo are the visitors to Loughborough University. Walsall Wood have a chance of a top 6 finish but will need all 3 points from their trip to Long Eaton United to aid their cause. Highgate United are also hoping to squeeze into the top 6 but recent results have undermined this. They welcome Brocton to The Coppice with the Badgers comfortable in the middle of the pack. At Walshes Meadow, Stourport Swifts face the second of three games in 5 days with AFC Wulfrunians the visitors.
Three games on Thursday evening with the big game featuring sides at both ends of the table. Stafford Town had an excellent win on Tuesday evening to move three points clear of the relegation zone but they face a tough task at Evans park as title chasers Coventry United are in town. Coventry have scored 19 goals in their last three games and a win will put them within two points of leaders Bromsgrove Sporting. It’s 11th versus 10th as in-form Racing Club Warwick make the short journey to Coventry Copsewood. A good end to the season could see Pilkington XXX move into the top 6 however they will need to start with a victory at home to Lichfield City.
Game of the day on Saturday is at Townsend Meadow where two in-form sides go head to head. Bromsgrove Sporting remain top of the pile but with Coventry United breathing down their necks they cannot afford to drop points. Racing Club Warwick will provide a stern test and this could be a goal fest. Coventry United are also on their travels and face a tough encounter at Lichfield City, who have been in and around the top 6 all season. Nuneaton Griff are still in the race for promotion but cannot afford any more dropped points and they face a local derby at Coventry Copsewood. At the bottom, it is looking bleak for Southam United who are 11 points adrift of safety. They welcome high-flying Leicester Road to Banbury Road in what could be another difficult afternoon. Pelsall Villa are in the bottom two and they face Studley at the Bush, the reverse fixture last month ending in a 3-0 win for the Bees. Heather St Johns have only three games remaining to get the points required to stay up, the first of these away to Littleton. Stafford Town face two of their relegation rivals in their final two games so anything they gain from a trip to Hinckley AFC will be seen as a bonus. Cadbury Athletic have been dragged into the relegation dogfight and they have a must win game at home to Pershore Town. Pilkington XXX could squeeze into the top 6 with a good end to the season and they face an awkward looking trip to Atherstone Town, who won the reverse fixture 3-2.
One game on Thursday affecting the bottom of the table with Feckenham at home to Hampton, the game being played at Hampton due to the weather.
Alvis Sporting Club have opened up a big lead at the top of the table and they play host to Rostance Edwards who have slipped away in recent weeks. 2nd placed Droitwich Spa are back in league action needing all 3 points in their game at Sutton united to maintain any sort of pressure on the sides around them. Chelmsley Town are the realistic nearest challengers to Alvis and they will expect all 3 points at home to Austrey Rangers. Bottom club Earlswood Town have had back to back wins and could make it three on the trot when they face lowly Hampton at The Pavilions. Feckenham have suffered with the weather more than most and they will hope to welcome Barnt Green Spartak to the Entaco and gain three points to move them towards safety.
Leaders Leamington Hibernian can extend their lead at the top of the table with victory over 2nd bottom Perrywood. In-form Shipston Excelsior, after 7 straight wins, could go 4th if they can beat FC Stratford at London Road. Barton United are another side that could move into the top four as they travel to basement side AFC Solihull. Enville Athletic had an excellent win last weekend and victory at Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons would move them above their hosts. Alcester Town have slipped to 7th place but they too could move into the top four with a win at Burntwood Town. Northfield Town have seven games to play but are too far adrift to break into the top three but a win over Badsey Rangers should move them into the top half. Inkberrow are 8th and have picked 13 points in the last 5 games. They entertain Coventrians – when the two sides met a fortnight ago, Inkberrow won by the odd goal in 5.
Polymac Packaging League Cup
On Thursday, the first semi-final of the League Cup gets underway with in-form Lye Town welcoming Walsall Wood to Stourbridge Road. Lye have racked up some impressive victories in recent weeks and Walsall Wood will want to keep it tight for the second leg next week.
Les James Challenge Cup Semi-Final
An intriguing semi-final between two sides in good form from different divisions. Smithswood Firs from Division 3 have home advantage over Division 2 Paget Rangers with Division 2 leaders Alvis Sporting Club awaiting the winners in the final. This has all the hallmarks of a great cup tie.
Cadbury Athletic Reserves v Brocton Reserves
Coventry United Reserves v Solihull Moors Reserves
Gresley Reserves v Sutton United Reserves
Rocester Reserves v Evesham United Reserves
Kings Heath Concorde U21 v Stourport Swifts U21
Leamington U21 v Bedworth United U21
Tamworth U21 v H.O.W. Academy U21
Walsall Wood U21 v Tipton Town U21
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