Midland Football League Newsletter
24th February 2016
Southam United are pleased to announce that Terry Davidson will remain in charge of the First Team for the remainder of the season.
“I have been impressed by what he has done, and how he has gone about things, over the last few weeks and he has clearly demonstrated his commitment to the Club and generated a good spirit within the squad.
There have been a number of high calibre applications for the permanent role and I will be considering matters further at the end of the season.
For now, however, let's all get behind Terry and the lads to make sure we achieve our objectives in the many games ahead - starting today with the visit to Pershore.” Charles Hill, Chairman
Shepshed Dynamo manager John Folwell has stepped down. In a statement, he said ” It is with a huge amount of regret that I inform you of my decision to step down as Manager. It is has been a really difficult decision. I have been struggling to commit since the turn of the year with increased work commitments and juggling a young family. I was always intending to step down at the end of the season. Further changes to my work situation last week, will mean that I am unable to dedicate the time required to manage a club at this level. I demand a high level of commitment from my players and it would be wrong if I wasn't able to demonstrate the same levels of commitment. I have loved my time at the club and plan to help out in some capacity. I pass on to Jimmy who has been a great help in recent months along with Andy and JP. Thank you all for the fantastic support I have had this season. Finally, thank you to the Chairman for giving me the opportunity to manage such a fantastic club with amazing volunteers and supporters. All the best for the future. Folly”
Mick Sloan commented on behalf od the club “On behalf of the Board I'd like to thank John for all that he's done during his time at the club. We are currently having the best season for a number of years. It's a huge shame that he's had to step down now as opposed to the end of the season but there are sometimes more important things in life than non-league football. Family and Business have to come first! The team is left in the very capable hands of Jimmy and Andy. I'm sure they'll receive the continued support of the fans to the same level. I hope to see you at the game tomorrow and should anything else arise then it shall be posted here.”
The draw has been made for the semi-final of the FA Vase and the favourites have been paired together with Hereford at home to Salisbury in the first leg on March 12th. Salisbury, under the guidance of Steve Claridge, have opened up an eight-point lead at the top of the Wessex League. Losing twice and conceding just 14 goals all season. They will provide a stern test for the Bulls and we can expect the highest cumulative attendance for an FA Vase semi-final. The record crowd at the RayMac is around 3,500 and I would anticipate this being beaten as the Bulls will, no doubt, sell their full allocation. Whoever wins will deserve their day at Wembley. The other semi-final sees Bowers & Pitsea or Kidlington take on Morpeth Town or Bristol Manor Farm.
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday 20th February
Stafford Rangers 0 Shaw Lane Aquaforce 1
With Shaw Lane being one of two sides that could potentially take the league title away from Stafford Rangers, I was asked on Thursday if I would provide commentary on the game for Stafford FM. It felt somewhat strange stepping back behind the microphone for the first time since April and it was fair to say that my voice was totally unprepared. As for the game itself, I made few notes as I was concentrating on what was happening in front of may. Rangers edged the first half with an effort from Ben Haseley just before the break being the best opportunity. Shaw Lane were by far the better side in the second half with their physicality causing the league leaders all sorts of problems. The only goal of the game came in the 62nd minute. Rangers centre-back Wayne Daniel had performed a minor miracle in clearing a goalbound effort from Adam Priestley away for a corner. From the corner, James Walshaw got to the ball ahead of Rangers keeper Adam Whitehouse and headed home. Gavin Allott should have doubled Shaw Lane’s lead but missed the target while the nearest Rangers came to an equaliser was an effort from Ryan Wynter which was over the bar. A disappointing afternoon for the leaders in front of a 1,000+ crowd. As for me, I enjoyed being back behind the mic but it was very much a one-off, back to the MFL next weekend.
Tuesday 23rd February
AFC Wulfrunians 1 Coleshill Town 4
The busiest time of year for the day job means midweek games have to be as local as possible. I am very fortunate to have a number of clubs within a short distance so it is another visit to one of the friendliest clubs in the league, AFC Wulfrunians. A bitterly cold evening with Champions League football on the TV means a lower than average gate is expected for the visit of one of the league form teams, Coleshill Town. One look down the team sheet shows that Wulfs are short handed this evening and Coleshill have goals throughout their side and on the bench. For the first 20 minutes, the home side just about edged it without either side having a chance. That all changed in the 21st minute when a cross from the left was met perfectly by Shane Benjamin who sidefooted home from the edge of the penalty area. The complexion of the game changed immediately and Coleshill took full control. An incisive move involving Mykel Beckley and Benjamin ended with the ball played into the path of Dean Rathbone whose finish gave Jamie Bostock no chance. Two minutes later, a lay-off from Beckley found Benjamin but his shot was off target. Coleshill’s 3rd came in the 32nd minute. Benjamin flicked the ball on from the edge of the are and Gio Dainty looped a back header over Bostock and into the net. Goal number 4 wasn’t long in coming, Rathbone with another excellent finish in the 36th minute. Wulfs made a double substitution at half-time and it had a positive impact. Kyle Brady hit a superb shot which was tipped over by Paul Hathaway. The better chances were still falling for the visitors, Dainty heading wide from a long throw in the 64th minute. Danico Johnson was off target for Coleshill before Joel Ayettey, one of Wulfs half-time subs, saw a shot saved at the other end. Johnson was again through for the visitors but Bostock got enough on it to turn it wide. Benjamin should have made it 5 in the 72nd minute when he blazed over after more good approach play from Beckley. Bostock made a fine save to thwart Beckley but the last word of the evening went to Wulfs when Kyle Brady slotted the ball home one minute into time added on. An impressive performance by Coleshill and a team no-one id going to fancy facing as the season runs to its climax. As for Wulfs, a bright start but guilty of giving away easy possession to a side that took full advantage.
Hereford are through to the last 4 of the Vase after a titanic struggle with Camberley Town. The visitors twice held the lead being pegged back by the Bulls with Mike Symons’ equaliser sending the game into extra-time. Cometh the hour, cometh the man and leading scorer John Mills ended his goal drought with a 119th-minute winner to send the 3,000+ Bulls fans wild and give Hereford a 3-2 win. Two games stand between the Bulls and a Wembley appearance.
With Hereford on FA Vase duty. Alvechurch took full advantage to close the gap to just 6 points with a 4-1 win over Loughborough University. Nathan Waite scored twice as the chase for the title really hots up. Last weekend it looked like Heanor Town were on a charge but they went down to a heavy home defeat at the hands of Quorn. The lowly visitors scored 5 in midweek and added 4 more to ease their relegation worries. Sporting Khalsa responded to two defeats in the past week with a much-needed win over Shepshed Dynamo, who they replace in 4th. Walsall Wood are flying at the moment and they continued their fine run of form with a 4-0 win over Westfields, Joey Butlin on target with another couple. At the bottom, Coventry Sphinx moved out of the bottom two with a 5-2 win over basement boys Continental Star. Mitchell Thompson scored the first four for Sphinx who are now just 7 points from safety with games in hand. Dunkirk are back in the bottom two after they were humbled 7-0 at home by Coleshill Town, for whom Mykel Beckley scored three. An excellent 3-1 away win for Rocester at Long Eaton United saw them jump to 16th place. Stourport Swifts were another side to win on the road, 4-0 at Lye Town who have dropped to after just one point from their last 6 league games, all at Stourbridge Road. Highgate United’s recent good run was halted as they lost 3-1 at Brocton. Ed Booth scored twice for the Badgers who climb to 12th in the table.
On Tuesday night, Hereford suffered only their 4th defeat of the season as they were beaten 2-0 at home by Highgate United. 2nd placed Alvechurch closed the gap to just 5 points but they needed a late Danny Ashton goal to secure a point in a 2-2 draw at Stourport Swifts. 3rd placed Heanor Town missed a great chance to close the gap on the two sides above them when they went done 2-1 at Rocester, Callum Riddell with the winner 6 minutes from time. Shepshed Dynamo are back up to fourth as Jake Betts scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Quorn. Walsall Wood’s excellent goalscoring run came to an abrupt end as Loughborough University held them to a goalless draw. The goals continue to flow for Coleshill Town who beat AFC Wulfrunians 4-1at Castlecroft, Dean Rathbone with a brace. Coventry Sphinx remain firmly in the relegation zone after they were beaten 2-1 by Boldmere St Michaels at Church Road. Long Eaton United moved up to 11th with a comfortable 6-1 win over basement side Continental Star, Jarrod Westcarr with a late brace.
Bromsgrove Sporting take over at the top of the table following a 4-0 win at Heather St Johns, the goals shared through the side. Nuneaton Griff are up to 3rd after a comprehensive 4-0 win at Stafford Town, Alex Naughton with two. Lichfield City missed the chance of joining Nuneaton on 48 points after they drew 2-2 at home to Littleton, Tony Clarke missing a last minute penalty for City. Bolehall Swifts remain bottom as they lost 3-2 to Coventry Copsewood, despite a double from Ben Minshull. Southam United stay one place off the bottom after they lost 2-0 at Pershore Town, two wins in a week moving the home side 11 points off the drop zone. A 4th-minute goal from Wade Malley gave Racing Club Warwick all 3 points at home to Cadbury Athletic.
On Tuesday, Coventry United returned to the summit following a 3-1 win over Racing Club Warwick at Sphinx Drive. Nuneaton Griff strengthened their grip on 3rd place with a 3-0 win at Heather St Johns. Lichfield City missed out on a chance to climb into the top four when they played out a goalless draw at Coventry Copsewood. At the bottom, Stafford Town moved 5 points clear of the relegation zone with a fine 3-0 win over Cadbury Athletic at Evans Park. Pershore Town made it 3 wins out of 4 as they beat Pelsall Villa 3-0 at King George V Stadium. There was a good away win for Littleton, 2-0 over Studley at The Beehive.
Rostance Edwards maintained top spot with a 2-0 win over Sutton United, Thomas Battisson with both the goals. A James Lemon hat-trick for Droitwich Spa at Hampton means that the gap at the top is just one point. Congratulations go to Earlswood Town who picked up their first win of the season, 2-0 at Barnt Green Spartak. Doubles from Dan carter and Mark Bellingham earned Paget Rangers a 4-0 over Austrey Rangers. 2nd bottom Feckenham picked up a point in a 1-1 draw at Coton Green while Fairfield Villa and Knowle shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw.
Leaders Leamington Hibernian extended their lead following a 5-2 win at Smithswood Firs. 2nd placed FC Stratford were held 2-2 by Enville Athletic, Joe Taylor scoring twice for Stratford. Redditch Borough are up to 3rd following a 2-0 win over Shipston Excelsior. Barton United and Northfield Town shared 6 goals in a thriller, with Peter Martin bagging a double for the hosts. Alcester Town continued their rapid rise up the table and they are now 5th after Matt Layton scored all three in their win over Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons. Bottom club AFC Solihull are still looking for their first point of 2016 after a 2-1 defeat at Burntwood Town. A Josh Walker goal gave Inkberrow all three points at Badsey Rangers.
Heath Hayes were knocked out of the Staffordshire Vase, losing 3-2 at Wolves Sporting. Atherstone Town were dumped out of the Coventry Evening Telegraph Cup, losing 3-0 at Whitnash. In the Birmingham Saturday Vase, Old Wulfrunians beat Chelmsley Town in a penalty shoot-out after the game had finished 2-2. Alvis Sporting Club are through after a 3-1 win at Woodlands WMC. Westfields are through to the final of the Herefordshire Challenge Cup after a 3-0 win over Hereford Lads Club at Allpay Park. Hinckley AFC are through to the final of the Leicestershire Senior Cup, a comprehensive 4-0 win at Birstall United Social with Marco Adaggio scoring twice. Heath Hayes made progress in the JW Hunt Cup with a 2-0 win over Stone Old Alleynians. Rostance Edwards are through to the quarter-final of the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup after a 2-0 win over Redditch Borough at The Red Lion. Sporting Khalsa made progress in the JW Hunt Cup, beating Paget Rangers 3-1 at Church Road with Craig Bannister scoring twice. A tight tie in the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup between Barnt Green Spartak and Pilkington XXX, went the way of the Pilks in a penalty shoot out.
Coleshill Town stretch their lead to 9 points after a 4-2 win over Evesham United. Lichfield City were the day’s big winners, 6-0 at Sutton United. Continental Star and Brocton drew 1-1 at The Hub.
Bedworth United are 7 points clear at the top of the South Division after a 5-2 home win over West Midlands Football Academy. Bromsgrove Sporting are 3rd after a 3-2 win at Leamington. Heath Hayes are up to 2nd place in the North Division following a 4-2 win over Walsall Wood. In the Bowl, there were away wins for H.O.W. Academy, Anstey Nomads and Tipton Town at Gornal Athletic, Stourport Swifts and Newcastle Town respectively.
2nd placed Alvechurch have the opportunity to close the gap between themselves and leaders Hereford to just two points should they win at mid-table Long Eaton United. Heanor Town have lost the last two and their long term top three place is in danger as they travel to 4th placed Shepshed Dynamo. Results in midweek will have given some encouragement to Sporting Khalsa and they travel to Loughborough University with a chance to move into the top four. Walsall Wood have won 5 out of the last 6 and they travel to a Bardon Hill side one place above the relegation zone. Highgate United host Coventry Sphinx on the back of an excellent win at Hereford in midweek. Sphinx are deep in relegation trouble with a 7 point gap between them and safety. Bottom side Continental Star are a massive 18 points adrift of the safety line and they travel to Rocester, who have won 4 of the last 5. Both Dunkirk and AFC Wulfrunians have felt the full force of Coleshill Town in the past week and they meet at Lenton Lane with Dunkirk desperate for points at the bottom. An upturn in form has seen Quorn move slowly away from the drop zone and they can continue their progression with a home win over Lye Town, who are slipping down the table. Westfields lie in 17th place and whilst they have a 12 point gap on the drop zone, the sides below them have games in hand so points against visitors Boldmere St Michaels would be most welcome. Stourport Swifts face Brocton at Walshes Meadow with both sides comfortably in mid-table. A win for either could take them into the top half.
Leaders, Coventry United can extend their led at the top when they travel to second bottom Southam United. Nuneaton Griff have won four on the trot and another win at home to Heath Hayes will keep them in the promotion mix. Leicester Road are having an excellent first season in Division 1 and they could aim for the top three with a win at struggling Pelsall Villa. Two points from the last three games has stopped Lichfield City in their tracks and they can get back to winning ways with a home game against Studley. Two in-form sides meet at 5 Acres with Littleton hosting Stafford Town. Bolehall Swifts are 6 points adrift of safety and need to start picking up points. It won’t be easy this week when they travel to Pilkington XXX. Just one defeat in the last 6 has improved the situation for Pershore Town and they look to continue this run at Coventry Copsewood. Two away defeat on the trot for Cadbury Athletic followed victory over leaders Coventry United and they have another difficult game on their travels at Hinckley AFC. Heather St Johns are still in deep trouble and they travel to Atherstone Town, who have won 3 of their last 4 league games.
Chelmsley Town can go level on points with second place Droitwich Spa should they beat 7th placed Coton Green at home. Barnt Green Spartak are just three points ahead of the relegation zone and they travel to Austrey Rangers looking for points. Hampton are one place ahead of Barnt Green and they travel to Fairfield Villa, Hampton 3-2 victors in the reverse fixture back in August.
Game of the day sees 1st against 3rd as leaders Leamington Hibernian welcome Redditch Borough to The Meadow. In another game featuring two of the promotion contenders 2nd placed FC Stratford entertain 6th placed Barton United. 4th placed Northfield Town play host to a Burntwood Town side who have won their last two to climb away from the danger zone. Alcester Town have won 8 of their last 9 to become serious promotion candidates and they travel to AFC Solihull, 7 points adrift at the bottom of the table. Enville Athletic picked up an excellent point last week at FC Stratford and they welcome Coventrians to Hall Drive. 5 defeats on the trot has seen Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons slip to 14th in the table and they attempt to stop the rot at home to Badsey Rangers. 2nd bottom Perrywood have games in hand on all the teams around them as they travel to Shipston Excelsior.
Les James Challenge Cup Quarter Finals
Division 3 promotion candidates Smithswood Firs have the chance to cause a cup upset as they host 2nd Division Knowle. Another Division 3 versus 2 clash takes place at Inkberrow as 2nd Division high flyers Alvis Sporting Club are the visitors. The tie of the round is an all-Division 2 clash between 5th placed Sutton United and 2nd placed Droitwich Spa. Feckenham will be hoping to play their first home game since November when they host Paget Rangers, a tie that looks to be extremely close.
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