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.
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