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.
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