Midland Football League Newsletter
19th November 2015
Droitwich Spa Football Club is delighted to announce that Peter Lemon has been appointed as its new Chairman. Peter's appointment is part of the wider process of strengthening the leadership team which began last year with the appointment of joint managers Wayne Oliver and Mark Owen. Peter Lemon added: "I am honoured to take on the role of Chairman. During the past year the club has achieved a great deal and there is a real buzz surrounding the team. I truly believe that the club is in a very strong position to continue improving in all aspects both on and off the pitch." Departing club Chairman Ben Pheasant added: “I am sad to be stepping down but felt the time was right and I’m very proud of having helped move the club into a much stronger position. I met with Peter to discuss the future of the club, and I know he will do a fantastic job."
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday November 14th
Bardon Hill 0 Hereford 2
My first ever visit to Bardon Hill and I certainly chose the right day for it weather wise, NOT. The rain had started before I left the Black Country and the nearer I got to Bardon the worse it got. With visions of a late postponement, it was with a sense of trepidation that I entered the ground. Thankfully, the pitch seemed to be holding up but I also send that an awful lot of people would get a soaking today. Normally, on a match day, I partake of the hospitality offered by the host club and enjoy catching up with officials from both sides as we look forward to the game. On this occasion, and I apologise to my friends at both Bardon hill and Hereford, I decided to get myself a seat in the stand and to stay there. With the weather deteriorating and the fans streaming into the ground, I was rather glad I took that decision. The conditions with a gale force wind, driving rain and a heavy pitch looked as though this would be a real test of Hereford’s title credentials, and we weren’t to be disappointed. Following an impeccably observed one minute silence following the Paris terrorist attacks the game got under way. Hereford dominated the early stages with two inswinging corners causing panic in the Bardon Hill defence. Pablo Haysham had a decent chance for the Bulls but cleared the crossbar with his effort. Leading scorer John Mills was finding the underfoot conditions to be something of a challenge as he knocked the ball past Bardon Keeper Tom Gutteridge but the ball ran away from him. Mike Symons showed some nice control but the end shot was saved by the keeper. It was all Hereford, and Joel Edwards fired over the bar before Haysham saw another effort saved. Bardon Hill first real attempt came from Dean Withers whose shot was blocked and then Rich Hanslow forced a comfortable save from Harvey Rivers. Just before the break, Symons teed up Rob Purdie but he placed his shot wide and the sides went into the break level. With the wind now at
their backs, more was expected from Bardon Hill in the second half. In fact, it was Hereford who got the breakthrough in the 51st minute. Seconds after missing the target with another effort, Mills latched onto a long ball from Rob Green and slid it past Gutteridge to the delight of the large travelling support. Green almost undid the good work by missing the ball allowing Kyle Fowkes through on goal. Fowkes should have done better but blasted the chance over. A low cross from Rob Mulonga took a deflection and landed on top of the Hereford crossbar as Bardon strived for an equaliser. The decisive goal came 10 minutes from time when Max Kontic-Coveney’s cross was bundled in by Symons to double the Bulls lead. Hereford comfortably saw out the clock to record their 13th consecutive league win and their 9th consecutive clean sheet. In filthy conditions, both teams served up a full blooded game of football. Hereford will see this as a signal to the rest that they can mix it in the worsening winter conditions. Considering the weather, a great turn out of supporters from both sides and a good advert for the Midland Football League.
Tuesday November 17th
Walsall Wood 0 Sporting Khalsa 0 (Abandoned after 29 minutes)
Storm Barney hits the country and high winds are causing chaos everywhere. Walking into the ML Safety Stadium it is obvious that conditions will be difficult. Khalsa had the ‘advantage’ of the gale force wind behind their back as we kicked off and it was very clear that controlling passes was going to be nigh on impossible. Khalsa leading scorer Craig Bannister hit the post with a 25 yard effort and adopted a shoot on sight policy to take advantage of the conditions. In the 18th minute, Mike Nelson’s cross come shot hit deceived Lee Evans and bounced back off the bar. Carlo Franco’s follow up was well saved. Franco then saw another shot saved as The Wood were struggling to get the ball out of their half. When they did, excellent work from Joey Butlin saw Max Black’s effort blocked by the Khalsa defence. We then witnessed a clearance from The Wood defence bend like a boomerang and go careering towards their own goal. The referee had seen enough and called both managers over. Players from both sides had been complaining about the wind and he said the correct decision was to abandon the game. The managers shook hands and we departed the main stand for safety! The game promised a lot but the conditions gave the officials no choice.
League leaders Hereford were made to work all the way to earn their 13th successive league win at a wet and windy Bardon Hill. Two second half goals from John Mills and Mike Symons maintained Hereford’s lead at the top. 2nd placed Heanor Town hammered Boldmere St Michaels 7-2 at the Town Ground. Highlight for the Lions was a hat-trick inside 7 minutes in the second half for Alex Brown. 3rd placed Alvechurch kept up the pressure on the leaders with an impressive 4-1 win over Shepshed Dynamo, with 3 goals in 5 first half minutes turning the game their way. Highgate United stay 4th after a comfortable 4-0 win over Quorn, Ricardo Richards with a couple. Sporting Khalsa beat Lye Town 1-0 in the Black Country derby courtesy of Craig Bannister’s 25h of the season. AFC Wulfrunians are up to 6th after Kyle Brady scored all 4 in a 4-1 win over Long Eaton United at Castlecroft. The big game at the bottom went the way of Dunkirk as they won 4-1 at Continental Star who are now 6 points adrift at the bottom. Coventry Sphinx move up two places following a 2-1 win at Stourport Swifts. Brocton drop to 19th when a Dan Griffiths goal 4 minutes from time gave Walsall Wood all 3 points. Rocester are 17th following a 4-1 defeat at Coleshill Town, Reece Leek scoring the first two for the home side. It’s been a bad week for Loughborough University who suffered another heavy defeat, this time at the hands of Westfields. Westfields ran out 4-0 winners with Craig Jones bagging a double including a trademark free-kick. Alvechurch kept up the pressure on the top two with a 3-0win in midweek over Westfields. It was all square with 13 minutes left but goals from Connor Deards, Leigh Downing and Karl Edwards gave the points to the Church. Highgate United lost touch with the top 3 as a Luke Barlone double, the winner 4 minutes into stoppage time, gave all the points to Coleshill Town.
In the game of the day, leaders Coventry United came back from a goal down to beat Bromsgrove Sporting 3-2 and extend their lead to 4 points. Leicester Road where the day’s big winners, 7-3 at home to Racing Club Warwick, Jake Holt on the mark with a couple. Pilkington XXX are level on points with Leicester Road after a 1-0 win over Littleton, their 7th successive league victory. Bolehall Swifts are off the bottom after a remarkable game against Pelsall Villa. Villa had eased into a 2-0 lead before Swifts replied with 4 goals to move up to 19th place. Stafford Town replace them at the bottom after a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Studley, despite taking an early lead through Ryan Baxter. A good win near the bottom of the table for Heather St Johns with a single goal all that was required to beat Cadbury Athletic. Southam United’s slide down the table continued with a 5-1 home defeat at the hands of Coventry Copsewood. In the A5 derby, Hinckley AFC won 2-0 at Atherstone Town, Sean Williams and Nathan Walker with the goals. In midweek, 7th and 8th fought out a 1-1 draw at St Johns Park as Hinckley AFC hosted Littleton.
Only one game in Division 2 and for the second week running Droitwich Spa were amongst the goals. Bottom club Earlswood Town were their victims as Spa ran out 9-1 winners, James Lemon remarkably getting a double hat-trick.
The encounter between the bottom two went the way of visitors Perrywood with a 2-0 victory at AFC Solihull. Barton United missed the opportunity to go top as they were held 1-1 by FC Stratford. Badsey Rangers are up to 4th place after a 3-1 win over Shipston Excelsior. At Ravenhill Park, Burntwood Town and Inkberrow shared the points in a 6-goal thriller.
Les James Challenge Cup
Feckenham are through to the quart final after a 2-1 win over Coventrians at the Entaco.
Last Saturday saw plenty of fixtures in the Birmingham Saturday Vase. Northfield Town, Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons, Hampton, Smithswood Firs, Chelmsley Town, Coton Green and Knowle all made progress. Unfortunately, there will be no cup success for Redditch Borough, Enville Athletic, Leamington Hibernian, Alcester Town, Austrey Rangers and Sutton United who all bowed out of the competition. In the Staffordshire Vase, there was success for Rostance Edwards, Lichfield City and Heath Hayes with a 100% success for the MFL. Alvis Sporting Club continued their fine season with a 4-1 victory over Triumph Athletic in the Coventry Charity Cup. In the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup both Barnt Green Spartak (at Blackheath) and Paget Rangers (at home to Fairfield Villa) booked their place in the next round. Paget Rangers racked up 8 goals without conceding against Red Star Amla in the JW Hunt Cup. In the Leicestershire Challenge Cup, Shepshed Dynamo made progress with a 2-0 win at Kirby Muxloe but Bardon Hill are out, losing 2-0 at neighbours Coalville Town.
The top two both scored 5 goals away from home. Leaders Coleshill Town won 5-1 at Coventry United while second place Solihull Moors won 5-0 at Sutton United. There were also away wins for Lichfield City, at Cadbury Athletic, and for Romulus at Rocester. The only side to win at home were Brocton who beat Evesham United 3-2.
Under 21 Divisions
In the only league game played, Bromsgrove Sporting were beaten 2-1 at home by West Midlands Football Academy. In the Bowl, H.O.W. Academy won 3-0 at Kings Heath Concorde while Sutton Coldfield Town and Leamington drew 1-1.
This weekend sees the 2nd round of the FA Vase and 15 of our clubs remain in the competition. The Midland Football League is guaranteed 4 teams through to the next round but will expect a lot more. Of the four all Midland League ties, there is an intriguing game at the Pingles Stadium. Division 1 high flyers Nuneaton Griff welcome Premier Division promotion chasers Highgate United in what promises to be an entertaining clash. There are three all Premier Division ties and they are all difficult to call. Inconsistent Coleshill Town welcome Dunkirk to Pack Meadow. Both teams come into the game on the back of good away victories but the form book is definitely on the side of the home team. Coventry Sphinx and Brocton are both at the wrong end of the table and a good run in the Vase could be just the morale booster they need. They meet at Sphinx Drive and this is a game that could go either way. AFC Wulfrunians have hit a rich vein of form and they travel to Quorn with some confidence of progress. Quorn have struggled of late but home advantage could count. Another tight one. A big game with two sides in great form at the top of their respective divisions takes place at The Town Ground as Heanor Town welcome Leicester Nirvana. Nirvana have lost just the once in the league this season and they have a healthy lead at the top of the United Counties League. Heanor have been in tremendous goalscoring form of late and I expect their support to be the twelfth man to get through to the 3rd round. Premier Division league leaders Hereford welcome West Midlands League 2nd placed Haughmond to Edgar Street in what could be a tricky tie. Hereford are on such a fantastic run of form that it is hard to see anything other than a home win. Alvechurch are another premier Division side in great form and they have a winnable tie at WMRL 4th placed AFC Bridgnorth. Crown Meadow is a difficult pace to visit and Bridgnorth are in decent form themselves but I expect Alvechurch to have too much firepower. There could be another tight game at the ML Safety Stadium when renowned FA Vase competitors Walsall Wood welcome UCL side Holbeach United. Holbeach have already beaten MFL opposition this season knocking Stourport Swifts out of the FA Cup and cannot be taken lightly. This is a game that has extra time written all over it. Long Eaton United have a home tie against Pinxton and the difference in league status points to a home win. Division 1 Racing Club Warwick face the long trip to Cleethorpes Town and the draw couldn’t have been much more difficult. With Cleethorpes flying high in the NECL, a Racing Club win would be a major giantkilling. One FA Vase game on Sunday sees Division 1 leaders Coventry United welcome Uttoxeter Town to Sphinx Drive. Both clubs were giantkillers in the previous round but United hold all the aces and should progress.
With so many sides in FA Vase action, Sporting Khalsa have the opportunity to close the gap on the leaders when they welcome Rocester to Aspray Arena. At the bottom, basement side Continental Star entertain 20th placed Boldmere St Michaels in a huge game for both sides. A win for Star closes the gap on Dunkirk while a win for the Mikes could see them jump three places. Shepshed Dynamo have had a poor run of results and they will want to arrest the slide when they travel to Lye Town, themselves in a decent run of form. Bardon Hill and Westfields are both too close to the drop zone for comfort so there is a lot at stake when the two meet in Leicestershire.
With the top two on FA Vase duty. 3rd placed Leicester Road can close the gap but what a game to choose to do it, away to Hinckley AFC. This is a really tasty local derby and there will be no ground given in the battle for supremacy. 5th placed Lichfield City can go 4th with a win at 7th placed Littleton. A home win sees the places reversed. Bromsgrove Sporting are looking for a higher place and will expect to beat Atherstone Town at The Victoria Ground. At the bottom, changes on and off the pitch has seen Bolehall Swifts climb off the bottom of the table. They can move further away from bottom spot with a win at fellow strugglers Pershore Town. Bolehall’s rise has seen Stafford Town take over last place and they have a tough local derby with Heath Hayes at Evans Park this week. Heather St Johns have been in the bottom three for some time but recent form gives them some encouragement as they travel to another struggling side, Pelsall Villa. The other games sees two mid table sides lock horns as Cadbury Athletic entertain Studley.
The endless round of cup ties continue with just three games in Division 2. In the last two weeks, Droitwich Spa have scored 15 goals at home without reply so it may not be the best time for Knowle to be visiting. 2nd bottom Feckenham host Hampton knowing a win would take them 9 points clear of basement side Earlswood Town. Fairfield Villa are one place ahead of Feckenham and a win at home to Coton Green could take them 3 places higher.
Leaders Smithswood Firs are back in league action and they travel to mid table Shipston Excelsior. Depending on results elsewhere, Leamington Hibernian could go top if they beat Burntwood Town at home. Badsey Rangers can keep the heat on the top three with a win at lowly Perrywood while Enville Athletic welcome Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons, a win for either side moving them away from the bottom
Les James Challenge Cup
Inkberrow host Redditch Borough with a place in the quarter finals at stake,
Quarter final of the Presidents Cup as Austrey Rangers host Division 2 leaders Chelmsley Town, in what could be a very close encounter.
Coventry United v Evesham United
Sutton United v Brocton
Gresley v Lichfield City
Solihull Moors v Continental Star
Romulus v Coleshill Town (Trophy)
Under 21 Divisions
Kings Heath Concorde v Bromsgrove Sporting (U21S)
Stourport Swifts v Leamington (U21S)
Anstey Nomads v Tipton Town (U21N)
Heath Hayes v Tamworth (Bowl)
Basford united v Sutton Coldfield Town (Bowl)
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