There was a comment last weekend from someone heavily involved in non-league football in the Midlands, asking why teams are ‘messing’ with the FA Cup as they have no hope of winning it. Some of this may have been tongue in cheek as his side had been knocked out in the previous round but you only need to talk to anyone involved with Sporting Khalsa or Coleshill Town to understand what the FA Cup means. Victories over higher opposition and just two games away from playing a Football League club and the glory and attention that will bring. I am sure the respective chairmen will be particularly keen on the prize money already banked but to the players, management and supporters, it is the shot at glory that drives them forward. It would be great to see both of our remaining teams get through to the 4th qualifying round and a possible game against a Non-League giant from the Conference. Here’s hoping. There was a rather special moment in the FA Cup on Saturday which has focused a lot of attention on Holbeach United, conquerors of our own Stourport Swifts in the previous round. A goal down in the final minute at home to Worcester City, their goalkeeper decides to take his place in the opposition penalty area for a free-kick. The ball floats into the box and the aforementioned keeper connects with a spectacular overhead kick to take the tie to a replay. Stand up and take a bow Ricky Drury. It’s amazing isn’t it that footballers at this level have got skills too (you wouldn’t think it if you read some of the newspapers). I doubt there will be many better goals scored in the entire competition this season.
Midland Football League Newsletter
24th September 2015
Non League Day, on October 10th, is being supported by Prostate Cancer UK. The charity have developed a Pledge idea where they are asking fans to pledge to attend a match on Non League Day and support Men United – see the attached ads for programmes, and the charity web page http://prostatecanceruk.org/pledge . The Midland Football League is happy to help promote the pledge idea through club programmes and digitally? All clubs that require any more information, please contact the press officer.
Vanarama, sponsors of a few non league divisions, have said they will match any pledges that stand out, with money, i.e. matching money raised. A great opportunity to help a worthwhile cause and get more people watching our league on Non league Day
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday 19th September
Rostance Edwards 0 Alvis Sporting Club 3
A game at the top of Division 2 between two sides unbeaten in the league going into the game. Last season, two divisions separated the sides but both had started well with the visitors sitting pretty with a 100% record. The Red Lion Ground, just outside Bloxwich on the A34, has been host to a number of teams over the years but is more latterly remembered as the home of Blakenall. Always a tough place to visit, the thing that stood out for me on entering the ground was the quality of the playing surface. The surrounds may have seen better days but neither side could have any complaints about the playing conditions. Alvis looked the more potent side in the first half although Rostance Edwards leading scorer Dan Baxter was a constant threat. After the break, Alvis took command with the opening goal a free header from a corner for Shane Brassington. With 15 minutes left, Alvis doubled their lead with an excellent finish from Reece Snape, volleying home a flick on from Brassington. Substitute Aaron Cooke put a gloss on the scoreline with a header in the last minute as Alvis maintained their 100% record and they must be clear favourites for the Division 3 title.
Tuesday 22nd September
Walsall Wood 0 Alvechurch 1
A late finish at work meant that a relatively local game was in order. With Alvechurch on a good run near the top of the table, it was a decent opportunity to see if Ian Long’s side could maintain the momentum against a decent Walsall Wood outfit. The first half saw plenty of decent football from both sides but not much in the way of an end product. Josh March for Church and drew Aiton for Wood, looking the men most likely. Lee Evans, the Wood keeper, made a superb save to thwart Mark Smith in the 55th minute but within a minute the visitors were awarded a penalty. A rash challenge from Tom Hurdman on March resulted in Leigh Downing despatching the spot-kick to give Alvechurch the lead. From this point, the game became more of a tale about referee Mark Groves and the brandishing or not of cards of various hues. Church skipper, Richard Huckfield received two yellow cards in the space of three minutes, the first being harsh, the second fully deserved, to reduce the visitors to 10 men. It is fair to say that the Alvechurch bench were far from happy about some of the decisions not least the failure to send off Lewis Taylor Boyce after a clash with March. Despite 6 minutes of added time, Alvechurch comfortably saw out the game to keep on the coattails of the sides above them.
This week, I will be at FA Cup tie between Chasetown and Hinckley on Saturday, and at games on Tuesday and Wednesday (work permitting).
Long Eaton United returned to the top of the table following a 2-0 midweek win over Continental Star. Hereford are second after two Edgar Street victories. On Saturday a John Mills double was enough to beat Shepshed Dynamo but Mills went even better on Tuesday, scoring all 4 in the victory over Lye Town. Heanor Town are 3rd, a victory at Quorn on Saturday seeing them top the table but they were surprisingly held by Brocton on Tuesday, with Gary Fife bagging a brace for the visitors. Two sides with super records are Stourport Swifts and Alvechurch. Swifts picked up 6 points with victories at Continental Star and at home to Boldmere St Michaels. Alvechurch also picked up 6 points despite being reduced to 10 men in both games, a 3-0 win at Bardon Hill and a single goal
victory at Walsall Wood. Highgate United are on an upward curve, home wins over Lye Town and AFC Wulfrunians leaving them just 2 points behind the leaders. A side to keep your eyes on are Sporting Khalsa; a 4-0 home win over Dunkirk was followed by a 6-1 victory over Bardon Hill. In their midweek game, Craig Bannister scored 5. At the bottom, an excellent week for Loughborough University who picked up their first points of the season with two victories, 3-1 over Coleshill Town and 2-1 away at Coventry Sphinx. Rocester picked up 4 points scoring 7 goals in the process. A 4-4 draw with Westfields, Karl Demidh and Dan Brown with two apiece, was then bettered with a 3-2 victory over Quorn, Rob Ritchie-Smith with 2. Elsewhere on Saturday, a last minute goal from Kyle Brady gave AFC Wulfrunians all three points at Coventry Sphinx while ten man Walsall Wood edged past Boldmere St Michaels. On Tuesday evening, Shepshed Dynamo bounced back from their defeat at Edgar Street with a 4-0 win at Dunkirk, Matt Langham with another brace. A word for Westfields, County Cup action for them on Tuesday with an 11-0 win over Fawnhope, Jamie Cuss scoring 5.
Coventry United got back to winning ways to maintain their position at the top of the table. A 4-2 win at Atherstone Town courtesy of a Ross Briscoe hat-trick. Nuneaton Griff continued their goalscoring run with another 3 in a midweek win over Hinckley AFC. Hinckley are still in a strong position despite the defeat at Griff, a 3-1 win at Racing Club Warwick on Saturday keeping up their momentum. Leicester Road won the clash of the top 5 when they beat Bromsgrove Sporting 5-1. Lichfield City were the week’s biggest scorers with 8 at Pelsall Villa, Tom Evans and Tony Clarke with hat-tricks. Pilkington XXX are upwardly mobile, the latest victory 3-1 over Pershore Town. At the bottom, Stafford Town moved up the table with a 2-0 over Bolehall Swifts who remain without a point. Heather St Johns have now dropped below Stafford Town following a 4-0 home defeat at the hands of Heath Hayes. Coventry Copsewood moved up the table with a 4-2 win over Studley.
Alvis Sporting Club top the table after their 6th win in 6 away at previously unbeaten Rostance Edwards. Droitwich Spa are second after a 2-0 win over Fairfield Villa. Both Barnt Green Spartak and Sutton United won 3-0 on their travels at Coton Green and Austrey Rangers respectively.
Smithswood Firs moved to the top of the table with a 2-1 victory over Barton United. Leamington Hibernian are second after a 5-1 away win at Shipston Excelsior. FC Stratford and Redditch Borough shared 4 goals in the top of the table clash. Enville Athletic celebrated being at home for the first time this season with a 6-2 victory over Alcester Town. Badsey Rangers travelled to Coventry and returned with 3 points after a 2-1 victory over Coventrians.
Les James Challenge Cup
Inkberrow were the giantkillers in the Challenge Cup beating 2nd division Hampton after extra time. Elsewhere, Feckenham progressed with a 5-1 win over Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons and Burntwood Town are into the next round after a 2-1 win over AFC Solihull.
Northfield Town are through to the next round after a 5-2 win at Perrywood.
Two ties in the Presidents cup went to form with home wins for Chelmsley Town, 1-0 over Earlswood Town, and Paget Rangers, 6-1 winners over Knowle.
This weekend sees the 2nd qualifying round of the FA Cup and four MFL sides with the chance to progress. The lowest ranked side left in the competition are Hinckley AFC and they will fancy their chances of causing an upset at Evostik South Chasetown, who are struggling this season. Coleshill Town have already beaten two Step 4 sides this season and have an excellent chance of a Step 3 scalp when they entertain Stamford at the Lamb on Sunday. Stamford have conceded 35 goals in the league, losing 7-1 at Hyde on Monday which saw the departure of manager David Staff. Last year’s MFL Champions, Basford United have settled well in the Evostik league but they will have a fight on their hands against high scoring Sporting Khalsa. Dunkirk have the most difficult tie of all the MFL sides as they travel to Evostik Premier Stourbridge.
Leaders Long Eaton United host a resurgent Loughborough University with the visitors looking for their third win on the spin. In-form Hereford are 2nd on goal difference and could go top with a big win at Boldmere St Michaels. Two of the leading sides meet at The Town Ground when Heanor Town welcome Highgate United. Stourport Swifts are another side that could go top and they face Rocester at Walshes Meadow. There’s a huge game at the Dovecote when Alvechurch visit Shepshed Dynamo with both sides expected to be in the title shake up at the end of the season. AFC Wulfrunians will be hoping for a reaction after a midweek defeat and they welcome Walsall Wood to Castlecroft. At the bottom Continental Star host Bardon Hill and will sense the chance to get their first win of the season. Brocton have picked up of late and they travel to Lye Town. A tough game to call takes place at Quorn where high scoring Westfields are the visitors.
With the top two not playing, Littleton can close the gap with a win at neighbours Pershore Town. Leicester Road have hit a rich vein of form and they travel to Cadbury Athletic, who have slipped following their early season cup exploits. Bromsgrove Sporting will want to bounce back after their heavy defeat at Leicester Road and they travel again to Atherstone Town. For the second week running, the bottom two meet with Bolehall Swifts entertaining Heather St Johns. With 74 goals conceded between them, plenty of goalmouth action is in store. Lichfield City host Racing Club Warwick with a top three place in their sights. Heath Hayes have improved of late and they entertain Studley. Pelsall Villa will want to forget last week’s defeat to Lichfield City and a home win against Southam United gives them the opportunity to move into the top half of the table,.
Chelmsley Town could regain top spot with a win at Barnt Green Spartak while Austrey Rangers entertain Hampton in a mid-table clash.
Only one game in Division 3 where Barton United could go 3rd with a win over Burntwood Town. A win for the visitors would see them up to 7th in the table.
Les James Challenge Cup
Plenty of interest in the LJCC this weekend with 3rd division high flyers Leamington Hibernian
All Midland League clubs and non-league clubs in general, face tremendous challenges in gaining any publicity with local media these days. Going back 10 years, press boxes around non league had a smattering of local journalists plus those covering the away side. In recent years, from Step 3 down, you can be hard pressed to find one local journalist never mind a pack of them. Why the sudden change? Well there are a number of factors not least the move away from written media to the production of digital or on-line versions. In some ways, you would think that digital media would allow for more coverage not less. Most newspapers have cut back on the number of journalists and see the cost of sending a reporter to a game as prohibitive. This definitely hasn’t been the case with football at our level. When we have such a quality product which is excellent value for spectators, what do we have to do to improve matters? Unfortunately, there is no magic wand. The one thing that we can all do is ensure that the various press agencies continue to receive updates, newsletters, results etc. The more we send them, the more chance we have that they will be used. Non-League Day, which is to be held on October 10th, is the perfect opportunity to put the Midland Football League in the shop window. It is time for us to welcome these new faces that we see at all of our grounds on that day, and to make sure that the product, on and off the pitch, is as good as it can be. Given the quality of the football seen across all Midland Football League divisions this season, let us all hope that those first time visitors decide to come back on a regular basis once they realise what good value the MFL is.
Midland Football League Newsletter
17th September 2015
Pershore Town F.C. is pleased to announce, that following the resignation of Scott & Kevin Walsh and following interviews conducted last week, that Glen Brotherton has been appointed as first team manager. Glen has resigned from his assistant manager role at Littleton F.C. to return to Pershore Town F.C. where he was previously assistant manager to the first team and held management positions with the reserves. Back room appointments are to be announced in the near future. Glen started his spell in charge with a win over Nuneaton Griff.
Southam United have also seen a change at the helm following last Saturday’s draw with Stafford Town. After the game Manager Quentin Townsend and Assistant Kim Casey resigned their positions. In accepting the resignations, Chairman Charles Hill was keen to go on record to thank both for their efforts on behalf of the Club. "Quent achieved a seventh place finish in the league in his first season in charge and two runners up spots in important cups. We enjoyed some good times together and his contribution in certain off field areas is also greatly appreciated. Kim only joined us this preseason but is a good man. We wish both of them well in their future endeavours."
Southam reacted quickly by appointing Lee Constable as manager. “We have an exciting period ahead of us in the lead up to our new ground and Lee brings considerable playing and coaching experience with good contacts in the local scene. He already makes considerable contributions to the Club not least in his role as organiser of our popular Annual Festival, universally acknowledged as one of the best around. Lee is a UEFA B coach and his new set up will see Hugh McCluskie, himself part way through his own B Licence course, take on an enhanced coaching role. Stu Floyd moves up from Assistant to the Manager position of the Academy Under 16's although Lee will continue to help out there as time permits.”
October 10th has been designated Non League Day and Bromsgrove Sporting are delighted that their home game with Pershore Town has been nominated by Non League Day as one of their 4 showpiece games. Bromsgrove are hoping to see a crowd in excess of 500 pack into the Victoria Ground. They will be running a Facebook and Twitter campaign at the following addresses - BromsgroveSportingFC @SportingFC
Any likes will be gratefully received.
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday 12th September
Sporting Khalsa 3 AFC Wulfrunians 2
An FA Cup 1st Qualifying round tie which drew my attention immediately the draw was made. With a guaranteed Premier Division side through to the 2nd qualifying round, and both teams in good form, a classic FA Cup tie was expected. We were not to be disappointed. There was a lively start with the home side screaming for a penalty after just 39 seconds when Marvin Nisbett went down under a challenge from Wulfs keeper Danny Tipton. The visitors were first to strike when Ben Jevons headed a Jake Sedgemore free-kick past James Pemberton. Khalsa came back after the break putting Wulfs under pressure without getting back on level terms. The game changed on a double substitution with the appearance of Craig Bannister and Michael Nelson. Bannister equalised in the 69th minute with a shot from outside the area and then made it two ten minutes later with a shot that took a deflection past Tipton, to send the Khalsa bench wild. In the 90th minute, Tipton was shown a red card after bringing down Simeon Townsend in the area. Bannister despatched the penalty for his hat-trick. With the home side celebrating, Kyle Brady made it interesting pulling a goal back for Wulfs but the home side had done enough to progress.
Tuesday 15th September
Brocton 3 Nuneaton Griff 5
With major traffic problems on the M6, a late change of plan saw me head to Silkmore Lane rather than to the Newcastle Town vs Coleshill Town FA Cup replay. With Nuneaton Griff being the league’s leading scorers, a Polymac Packing League Cup tie against Premier Division strugglers Brocton promised goals, and my, did we have goals. It took 22 minutes for the opening goal and it was a rare effort, Chris Sockett giving Griff the lead direct from a corner. Josh Wilson equalised, scoring at the second attempt, just before half-time to send the sides in at the break level. The pace and quality of the game continued in the second half and Brocton took the lead on the hour with a 25 yard rocket from Dominic Dell. The lead lasted a mere seven minutes – Griff leading scorer Luke Shorthouse with a fine finish. Back came Brocton and they retook the lead two minutes later through an Ed Booth header. There was no stopping and they equalised again When Josh Hake failed to hold Darren Eggleton’s effort. Griff’s fourth came with quarter of an hour remaining, Danny Edmond knocking the ball past Hake. Things got worse for the home side when Charlie Jones received two yellow cards within the space of two minutes thus reducing the home side to 9-men after losing defender Shaq Lee to injury after using all 3 subs. Brocton sub Jon Hodnett hit the bar with an audacious lob from the half way line before Edmond finished the scoring in the final minute – another mistake by the young keeper. This goal was Griff’s 49th of the season – talk about entertainment! This week, I will be at the Division 2 clash between Rostance Edwards and Alvis Sporting Club on Saturday and at games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Another excellent FA Cup weekend for the Midland Football League. Pride of place goes to Hinckley AFC of Division 1 who saw off the challenge of Redditch United, some 62 places ahead of them in the non league pyramid. Their reward is an away tie with Chasetown. Dunkirk also beat higher ranked opposition, a 3-1 win at Belper Town earning them a trip to Stourbridge. Coleshill Town were giantkillers again. After knocking out EvoStik South league leaders Stafford Rangers in the previous round they faced the challenge of another Evostik South side in Newcastle Town. Simeon Colbourne bagged 2 and a last minute equaliser from rob Evans sent the game to a replay at the Aspire Stadium. Coleshill again triumphed on their travels with a 3-1 victory. They now face Step 3 Stamford at home. Sporting Khalsa saw off the challenge of AFC Wulfrunians at the Aspray Arena and now face last years MFL champions Basford United, who edged past Long Eaton United. Shepshed Dynamo took Evostik Premier Division Rushall Olympic to a replay but an Alex Reid hat-trick put the Pics through. Stourport Swifts took a 2-0 lead at Holbeach United before being pegged back and forced into a replay at Walshes Meadow. It was the visitors from Lincolnshire who took the honours. And extra time being enough to seal a home tie with Worcester City. Westfields couldn’t add to their FA Cup heroics as they succumbed to Barwell.
Heanor Town moved up to second in the table thanks to a Joe Naylor goal against Bardon Hill. Hereford are third after coming from behind to beat Boldmere St Michaels at Edgar Street, Pablo Heysham with the winner. Lye Town are up to fourth following a comfortable 2-0 win over Coventry Sphinx. At the bottom, Rocester picked up their first points of the season following a 2-1 win at Loughborough University, leaving the Students the only side without a point. Continental Star got off the mark with a point from a goalless draw with Quorn while Brocton grabbed an injury time equaliser against Walsall Wood.
The top two in Division 1 were both beaten to shake up the league table. Coventry United lost their 100% record, going down 3-0 at home to Leicester Road. High scoring Nuneaton Griff lost 3-2 at a Pershore side under new management. Bromsgrove Sporting took full advantage to close the gap with an emphatic 7-2 victory over Heather St Johns. Pilkington XXX continued their good for with a 3-0 win at Studley. At the bottom, Bolehall Swifts remain point less after a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Heath Hayes, Joe Pickering with a brace. Stafford Town surrendered a 2 goal lead at Southam United while the Pelsall Villa resurgence continued with a 3-1 win at Cadbury Athletic. Two goals from Kyle Turner helped Atherstone Town to 3 points with a narrow victory at Racing Club Warwick.
Chelmsley Town are top following a 2-0 win at Hampton, Chris Lloyd with both. Rostance Edwards are third after a 3-0 win at Fairfield Villa, Jordan Evans with a brace. Droitwich Spa had an emphatic 4-0 win at bottom placed Earlswood Town to cement a top four place. Mark Bellingham scored two of Paget Rangers’ four in their win over Feckenham, while Coton Green and Barnt Green Spartak won by the only goal in games at Sutton United and Knowle respectively
Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons were the day’s high scorers beating Barton United 6-3. Smithswood Firs move up to second with a 5-1 win at Northfield Town. AFC Solihull are still searching for their first point going down 3-1 at Leamington Hibernian. Redditch Borough moved up the table with a 2-1 win at Coventrians but with 2 points separating the top seven, the league is too tight to call.
Les James Challenge Cup
2nd division Austrey Rangers beat Perrywood 7-0 with Benn Minshull bagging 4. In the other game Division 2 again triumphed over Division 3 as Alvis Sporting Club beat Enville Athletic 4-2.
Plenty of goals in the Challenge Vase with Alcester Town leading the way, 6-0 victors over Shipston Excelsior, Matthew Layton with a hat-trick. FC Stratford scored 5 away at Badsey Rangers to progress while Inkberrow edged home by the odd goal in five at home to Burntwood Town.
Polymac Packaging League Club
Plenty of interest in midweek in the League cup. Nuneaton Griff were the big winners, 5-3 away at Premier Division Brocton scoring their 49th goal of the season. Karl Edwards scored four for Alvechurch as they saw off Boldmere St Michaels 5-1. New signing Lewis Rankin scored two for Coventry Sphinx in a 4-1 win at Atherstone Town. Dunkirk followed up their FA Cup win with victory over Long Eaton United, Kieran Whalin with a double. A fantastic gate of 567 descended on Pershore Town as they hosted Hereford and it was the visitors that progressed thanks to a Nathan Hughes goal. Sporting Khalsa needed a goal 5 minutes from time to beat Heath Hayes, Ben Hadley with the all important goal. A remarkable comeback for Stafford Town at Evans Park as from 3-0 down they drew level only for Heanor Town to break their hearts with a stoppage time winner. Bromsgrove Sporting are through thanks to Sean Brain’s goal in the 86th minute against Studley. FA Cup heroes Hinckley AFC won again, this time Coventry United being the victims; 4-0 the scoreline.
With leaders Long Eaton United without a game, Heanor Town can go top if they can win at Quorn. Quorn are unbeaten in four so this could go either way. Hereford could go level with Long Eaton United with a won over unbeaten Shepshed Dynamo in what is undoubtedly the match of the day. 4 th placed Lye Town have not been great on their travels and they face a difficult game at Highgate United. Stourport Swifts return to league action and would expect to win at Continental Star. AFC Wulfrunians have started well this season and travel to inconsistent Coventry Sphinx, themselves looking to push on. In form Alvechurch travel to Bardon Hill who have found their feet in the Midland league with some good recent results. Bottom of the table Loughborough University host FA Cup heroes Coleshill Town still searching for their first point of the season. Rocester and Westfields meet at Hillsfield with both clubs in need of a result to move away from the lower reaches of the table. Two sides with good FA Cup victories under their belt meet at the Aspray Arena as Dunkirk travel to Sporting Khalsa. At Oak Park, Walsall Wood entertain Boldmere St Michaels with both sides in unfamiliar territory in the bottom half of the table.
League leaders Coventry United face a tough trip to Atherstone Town with the opportunity to extend their lead at the top. Two defeats in the last week have halted United’s fine start and it will be interesting to see how they react against the Adders. Game of the day in Division 1 is 5th placed Leicester Road against 4th placed Bromsgrove Sporting. A win for the unbeaten Rouslers would see them jump into second place. The bottom two meet at Evans Park with Stafford Town entertaining Bolehall Swifts. Something has to give in this one and it could be an interesting afternoon. Heather St Johns are having a tough season and they face mid table Heath Hayes at St Johns Park. Pelsall Villa have picked up 7 points from the last three games and they face high flying Lichfield City at The Bush. Elsewhere Pilkington XXX will hope to continue their recent run of results at home to Pershore Town; Racing Club Warwick could have a tough afternoon at home to FA Cup heroes Hinckley AFC; and Coventry Copsewood face Studley in a game near the foot of the table.
Two unbeaten sides go head to head at the Red Lion Ground as 3rd placed Rostance Edwards welcome 100% Alvis Sporting Club, a win for either would see them go top. 4th placed Droitwich Spa will expect to keep the pressure on the leaders as they host Fairfield Villa. Mid table Austrey Rangers and Sutton United meet at Austrey Fields while Coton Green host Barnt Green Spartak, inconsistency being the watchword for both sides.
Any one of 4 teams could head the table after this week’s round of matches. 2 nd placed Smithswood Firs meet 6th placed Barton United with current form favouring the home side. 3rd meets 4th in Stratford as FC Stratford host Redditch Borough. Leamington Hibernian could go top if results go their way and they travel to Shipston Excelsior. Elsewhere Coventrians play host to Badsey Rangers and Enville Athletic have their first home game of the season against Alcester Town.
Les James Challenge Cup
The highlight in the Challenge cup this weekend sees Division 3 leaders Inkberrow hosting Division 2 Hampton. Division 2 Feckenham host Division 3 Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons while there is an all 3rd Division clash between Burntwood Town and AFC Solihull.
Just one game in the Vase where Perrywood host Northfield Town in an all Division 3 clash.
Division 2 leaders Chelmsley Town host rock bottom Earlswood Town while Paget Rangers welcome Knowle to the Trevor brown Memorial Ground
This season’s FA Cup continues to offer excitement for a number of Midland Football League sides. Again, it was an MFL team taking all the plaudits in the first qualifying round with Hinckley AFC taking the scalp of a side some 62 places higher than them in the non league pyramid. This also means that Hinckley are now the lowest ranked side left in the competition ahead of their 2nd qualifying round tie against Chasetown. The second qualifying round is new ground for both Dunkirk and Sporting Khalsa – a great achievement in itself but they will be hoping to make progress when they face Stourbridge and Basford United respectively on September 26th. There is the possibility of a Worcestershire derby should Stourport Swifts get past Holbeach United in their replay – a tasty prospect and one which will generate significant interest locally. This ongoing success for Midland Football League sides does reflect well on the league and hopefully, it can persuade more people to give the MFL a go. Each scalp taken adds to the general interest and the nearer we get to the First Round proper, the more publicity this generates. The forthcoming Non League Day on October 10th is an opportunity for the League and individual clubs to generate additional support and encourage football supporters to sample the tremendous entertainment available in all of our Divisions. Watch this space for exciting news about Non League Day as we approach October 10th.
Midland Football League Newsletter 10th September 2015
Jim Cunningham, MP for Coventry South, and Alan Johnson, President of Copsewood Sports & Social Club (CCSSC), marked the official opening of Copsewood Community Sports & Social Club’s new £661,812 changing pavilion recently (Sunday 6 September 2015), thanks to a £401,812 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation, and a £100,000 grant from the Premier League through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF).
The grant has enabled Copsewood Community Sports & Social Club to upgrade their changing facilities, which will be used by Copsewood FC’s senior and junior teams, as well as other users of the multi-sports site. The new facility comprises six new changing rooms, referees’ rooms, a physio room as well as toilet and shower facilities for disabled users.
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled Copsewood Community Sports & Social Club to upgrade its changing room facilities. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area.
“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.3bn, investing into areas where the need is greatest and where it will have the biggest impact in terms of getting more people playing football and a wide range of other sports.
Travels of the Press Officer Saturday 5th September Stafford Town 2 Wednesfield 0
FA Vase action for me today and with too many games to choose from a piece of transfer news entices me to Evans Park. Stafford Town have signed the mercurial talent that is Fabrice Kasiama from Stafford Rangers as a part of Fabrice’s long recovery from serious injury. Knowing Fab well from my time at Stafford Rangers, this was too good a chance to miss. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and still only 24 years old, Kasiama has been dogged by injuries for a number of years but a fit, in-form Kasiama is a sight to behold. Visitors Wednesfield had made a good start to the season with 10 points from 4 games after relegation last campaign. It was easy to see who was the more confident as Wednesfield took the game to their higher ranked hosts. Against the run of play, Town took the lead with a cool finish from skipper Spencer Gunnell. Kasiama’s afternoon was to end just before the interval. After receiving another strong challenge, he reacted pushing his hands in the face of the defender giving the referee no option other than to show a red card. Fab actually came and sat next to me and bemoaned that he was getting kicked all afternoon – while he did receive some ‘treatment’ it was nothing excessive. Down to ten men and on the back foot, it felt like only a matter of time before Wednesfield equalised. Town held firm and then the referee made matters worse for the hosts sending off Sam Westray with 20 minutes remaining. From the stand it appeared nothing more than a coming together but I learnt afterwards that it was for retaliation. The nine
men of Town continued to weather the storm and in the last minute they sealed the points from the penalty spot; Jack Edwards picking himself up to fire home an unlikely victory but one which may kickstart the Reds season.
A Sunday afternoon FA Vase tie with Continental Star’s landlords, Rushall Olympic at home on the Saturday. Both sides came into the game without a win, Step 6 Ellistown at least having the luxury of 1 point from 5 games. Star, playing in their very bright Day-Glo yellow shirts, struggled to get into the game and the visitors deservedly took the lead just after the half hour mark when Nathan Jones somehow got the wrong side of Rudi Misambo to knock the ball home. It got worse for Star three minutes later – more poor defending allowed Liam Kavanagh too much time and he found the net via a deflection. At this stage Star looked dead and buries but an excellent move of free flowing football saw Nathan McBean tap home from inside the 6-yard box. The goal certainly galvanised the home side and the pushed on after the break with Ellistown defending deeper and deeper. The equaliser came with 21 minutes left, an excellent run and finish from impressive substitute Bruno Semedo. With the groundhoppers present expecting extra-time, the visitors grabbed what turned out to be the winner with their first chance of the half. A pinpoint cross from Danny Birt was volleyed home by Nathan Jones sending Ellistown to Coventry Sphinx in the next round.
Tuesday 8th September
Tividale 0 Stafford Rangers 1
No games in the Midland Football League so a trip to former Midland Alliance winners as they faced league leaders Stafford Rangers in the Evostik Division One South. For the first 10 minutes it was very much top versus bottom as Rangers created numerous chances without breaking the deadlock. Tividale gradually came into the game with twin strikers Mark Danks and Chris Sterling working well together. Rangers went close in the 37th minute when Josh Craddock’s looping header rebounded off the bar. Tividale improved after the break and former Brocton keeper Adam Whitehouse saved well from Stirling. A double substitution from Stafford on the hour mark changed the complexion of the game. One of the subs, Christian Dacres was involved in the only goal of the game. A neat through ball from Dacres sent Alex Melbourne clear and when the Tividale defence failed to deal with the low ball into the box, Ben Haseley was on hand to tuck it into the net. Dacres forced a fine save from Chris Jay as rangers took all 3 points and maintained a 3 point lead at the top of Evostik Division 1 South. As for Tividale, they battled well and have enough quality to move away from the foot of the division.
This week, I will be at the FA Cup tie between Sporting Khalsa and AFC Wulfrunians, and a possible FA Cup replay in midweek. Keep looking on Twitter (@FOLKYGAZ) to follow my travels.
Weekend review FA Vase
Most of the games went the way of form and status but there were two giantkillings in the 1st qualifying round. Pride of place goes to Leicester Road with a 2-0 victory over Step 5 Harborough Town. The other giantkilling was mentioned above with Ellistown and Ibstock United defeating higher ranked Continental Star. A couple of games went to extra time with Bardon Hill pushed all the way by Coventry Copsewood before 3 goals in extra time sealed it for the visitors and a home tie with Hereford. Coventry United needed extra time to get past Hanley Town, Josh O’Grady with a double for the Division 1 leaders. Free scoring Nuneaton Griff needed an extra 30 minutes to finally see off the challenge of Shawbury United. AFC Wulfrunians set-up a local derby at Bilston Town in the next round with a narrow win over Pershore Town. Rocester were the big winners, 8-1 at
Heather St Johns while Highgate United put 5 past Tipton at The Coppice. A Daniel Douse hat-trick helped Pilkington XXX to a 5-0 win at Lutterworth Athletic while Hinckley AFC also scored 5 away fromhomeatWolverhamptonSporting. PremierDivisionsidesAlvechurch,SportingKhalsa,Lye Town, Stourport Swifts and Quorn made no mistake in their ties. Shepshed Dynamo were shocked by fellow Premier Division side Loughborough University at the Dovecote while FA Cup heroes Westfields won by the solitary goal against Atherstone Town. There was disappointment for First Division Cadbury Athletic and Southam United who went out at the hands of WMRL sides AFC Bridgnorth and Wolverhampton Casuals respectively. There were good wins for Racing Club Warwick, Bromsgrove Sporting and Littleton away from home while in the other tie Studley overcame the challenge of Division 2 Paget Rangers by the odd goal in 5.
Four games in the Premier Division and no shortage of goals or incident. League leaders Long Eaton United stretched their lead at the top with a 4-3 victory over Coleshill Town, Brad Wells with 2 of the goals. The last 100% record has fallen with Heanor Town losing at home 7-2 to Hereford. John Mills scored a hat-trick for the visitors two from the penalty spot with Hereford’s final four goals coming the last 10 minutes. Coventry Sphinx had to come back from 2-0 down to beat Walsall Wood 3-2 at Sphinx Drive, Mitch Piggon with the decider from the spot 9 minutes from time. Dunkirk picked up their 2nd win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Brocton for whom player manager Dave Berks missed a penalty.
Due to the FA vase, there was just the one game in Division 1 affecting the lower reaches of the table. It was an important victory for Pelsall Villa who jumped 5 places in the table while Bolehall Swifts remaining rooted to 20th place.
Alvis Sporting Club maintained their 100% record with a 3-0 victory over Austrey Rangers, Dildale Linton and Thomas Maguire again on the scoresheet. Chelmsley Town are second after 1 5-1 over Sutton United, Chris Lloyd with a brace. Hampton moved up to 5th with a 5-1 win over Earlswood Town. Feckenham were the big scorers with a 6-1 win over Knowle. Two wins on the trot for Fairfield Villa as they move away from the bottom of the table with a 3-1 win at Coton Green. In the Presidents Cup, Droitwich Spa beat Rostance Edwards to progress to the next round.
Inkberrow sit proudly at the summit of Division 3 following a 3-1 win at previous leaders Barton United. FC Stratford lost their 100% record sharing 6 goals at Perrywood. Northfield Town are in 4th place after a 4-2 home win over Alcester Town. Coventrians are finding their MFL feet with a second win in succession, a 2-1 victory at Smithswood Firs. AFC Solihull are still searching for their first MFL point, going down 3-2 at home to Burntwood Town. There was a big win for Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons away at previously unbeaten Redditch Borough. Leamington Hibernian put 5 past Enville Athletic while Shipston Excelsior and Badsey Rangers shared the spoils with a 1-1 draw.
Following the giant killing feats of the previous round, can the MFL sides continue to upset the apple cart in the 1st qualifying round. There is one guaranteed participant in the next round with Sporting Khalsa and AFC Wulfrunians meeting in a Wolverhampton derby at Aspray Arena. A very tough tie to call with a replay a distinct possibility. Coleshill Town, after disposing of one Evostik South side face another in Newcastle Town at the Lamb, with another giantkilling on the cards. Shepshed Dynamo welcome Evostik Premier Division Rushall Olympic to the Dovecote where the home supporters could give them the edge. Following their heroics against Kidsgrove Athletic, Westfields have a difficult away tie at Evostik premier Division Barwell, a replay at Allpay Park a reasonable target. League leaders Long Eaton United have a short journey to last season’s champions Basford United in what promises to be a very tasty affair. Stourport Swifts face the long journey to United Counties high flyers Holbeach United but with both sides in fine form this is another difficult tie to call. Last but not least, Hinckley AFC fly the flag for Division 1 with an attractive looking tie against Evostik Southern Premier Division Redditch United. Despite the 3 division difference, home advantage could count.
Heanor Town will be hoping for a response after last week’s defeat at the hands of Hereford when they entertain Bardon Hill at The Town Ground. A win for Heanor would see them close the gap on leaders Long Eaton United. Hereford have the opportunity to move into the top three when they welcome Boldmere St Michaels to Edgar Street. The Mikes have performed better of late and with 4 points from the last two matches will go into the game with some confidence. Lye Town and Coventry Sphinx meet in the Black Country with a win for either sending them into the top 5. These two sides met recently in the FA Cup which was shaded by Sphinx after a replay. Quorn take their improved form to Dales Lane to face a Continental Star side humbled searching for their first points of the season. Two sides without a point meet as Loughborough University and Rocester go head to head. Both had good FA Vase wins last week and will want to kick start their league season. Brocton host Walsall Wood at Silkmore Lane with just the one win from their opening 7 games. Things haven’t gone to plan for The Wood either and this could be a nervy encounter.
League leaders Coventry United go for win number nine from nine when they welcome Leicester Road to Sphinx Drive. Nuneaton Griff take their goal machine to Pershore Town after winning the home game 4-1 between these sides earlier in the season. Bromsgrove Sporting face Heather St Johns at The Victoria Ground, the visitors conceding 27 goals in the last 4 games. Basement side Bolehall Swifts entertain Heath Hayes looking for their first point of the season while 2nd bottom Stafford Town travel to Southam United. Cadbury Athletic will want to put their FA Vase disappointment behind them when they welcome Pelsall Villa to the TSA Sports ground. Elsewhere Atherstone Town travel to Racing Club Warwick while Studley welcome Pilkington XXX to The Beehive.
With Alvis Sporting Club in cup action, Chelmsley Town can go top if they win at Hampton. 3rd
Barton United can return to the summit should they beat Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons. If Barton slip up, Northfield Town could take over the lead with a win over Smithswood Firs. Coventrians are looking for their 3rd win in succession as they host Redditch Borough. AFC Solihull’s search for their first MFL point takes them to Leamington Hibernian.
Les James Challenge Cup
Enville Athletic and Austrey Rangers at home to Perrywood. Challenge Vase
Three games in the Challenge Vase with Division 3 leaders Inkberrow at home to Burntwood Town being the pick of the bunch. FC Stratford face a tricky tie at Badsey Rangers while Alcester Town and Shipston Excelsior will want to put indifferent league form behind them when they meet at Old Stratford Road.
Midland Football League Newsletter
3rd September 2015
Grant Ryder has taken over the managerial reins at Heather St Johns following the departure of Mark Kavanagh. Heather have made a disappointing start to the season and Ryder promises to make changes "I always look forward to a challenge, I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't. There's a lot for us to put right here before moving forward and it's not going to be easy. It's a good club with a great infrastructure but it needs grabbing by the horns”. Enville Athletic are hosting a 10k run on Sunday October 4th. See attached flyer for further details.
A good weekend in the FA Cup with a number of Midland League sides taking the scalp of higher ranked opposition. Story of the round has to be Westfields. Held to a 1-1 draw at Allpay Park by Evostik South Kidsgrove Athletic on Saturday, they travelled to Staffordshire on Wednesday night for the replay (this after hosting Hereford in the league on Monday). It looked all done and dusted at half-time with grove taking a 4-0 lead. The comeback of all comebacks began with a Jamie Cuss goal in the 65th minute and then Matt Reeve made it interesting with 15 minutes to go. Time for a hero and up steps Craig Jones. A free-kick and a last minute penalty took the game into extra time. Kidsgrove took the lead again and must have thought they were home and dry but Jones again with another free-kick brought the game level. In the last minute of extra time. Westfields were awarded a penalty which saw Grove keeper, Ben Chapman sent-off. Jones made no mistake from the spot to give Westfields a dramatic 6-5 victory. AFC Wulfrunians saw off the challenge of Evostik South Romulus at Castlecroft, Ben Jevons and Ricky Anslow on target. Coleshill Town pulled off a giant killing beating Evostik high flyers Stafford Rangers 2-1 at Marston Road, despite going a goal behind inside two minutes. Rob Evans scored the winner just before the break. Shepshed Dynamo flew the Midland League flag with an excellent 2-1 win at Carlton Town, the winner courtesy of Niall Prenderville four minutes from time. Jarrod Westcarr scored two as Dunkirk eased past Bottesford Town. Rocester took Leek town back to Hillsfield for a replay after Troy Carty scored a late equaliser. Leek made no mistake at the second time of asking although Karl Demidh’s goal, 8 minutes from time, made it interesting. In an all premier Division clash, Long Eaton United continued their good start to the season with a 2-1 win at Loughborough University. EvoStik South Newcastle Town proved too strong for Continental Star, the home side progressing with a comfortable 4-0 win. A goal on the stroke of half-time from Mason Rowley was enough for Rugby Town against Coventry Sphinx. Sporting Khalsa scored 4 without reply against Cadbury Athletic, Mensah Kinch and Craig Bannister both with two. A tight affair at Walshes Meadow saw the home side progress as Stourport Swifts beat Alvechurch 1-0. Jamie Willets scored the only goal of the game, his last in Stourport colours as he has joined Hereford this week. There was a big win for Hinckley AFC at Bromsgrove Sporting. Marco Adaggio and Luke Richards both scored twice in a 6-2 victory.
A busy Bank holiday weekend with one game on Saturday and ten on Monday / Tuesday. A bad weekend for Brocton as they suffered 2-1 home defeats to Bardon Hill and leaders Long Eaton United. Bardon Hill, on the other hand, picked up 6 points with two away wins, beating Coventry
Sphinx 3-2 at Sphinx Drive. Stourport Swifts lost top spot after a 1-0 home defeat to FA Cup heroes
Coleshill Town, Tom Weale with the only goal of the game. Heanor Town are the only side with a
100% record, their latest victory a 3-0 win over Dunkirk, Kieran Debrouwer with a brace. The Hereford derby attracted a record 1,825 to Allpay Park as Westfields and Hereford shared the points in a goalless draw. AFC Wulfrunians are fourth following a 2-1 win over Continental Star. Jamie King scored both but was later red carded to mar his afternoon. Alvechurch are a further place back after inflicting Highgate United’s first defeat of the season. Walsall Wood came back from 2 goals down at Boldmere St Michaels to grab a point in a 2-2 draw. Quorn have recovered from their slow start to the season and grabbed their 3rd win in succession over still pointless Loughborough University.
A last minute goal from Jack Pearlman gave Lye Town the points in the Black Country derby with Sporting Khalsa.
Coventry United still lead the way in Division 1 with a perfect record from 8 games. They were pushed close this weekend with narrow wins at home to Pershore Town and at Leicester Road.
Nuneaton Griff are second and they continued their goalscoring exploits with a 3-1 win over Pelsall Villa and a remarkable 7-3 win at Bolehall Swifts. Goals are being shared around with 5 players scoring 4 or more this season. Littleton are third with two home wins over the weekend, 3-0 over Coventry Copsewood and 4-1 against Pershore Town, Jamie Clarke moving into double figure goals for the season. Bromsgrove Sporting bounced back from their FA Cup defeat beating Pilkington XXX away, a reversal of fortune for the Pilks who had beaten Stafford Town 3-1 on Saturday. It was a bad weekend for Stafford Town as they were hammered 7-0 in the Staffordshire derby on Bank Holiday Monday by Lichfield City. Another struggling side are Heather St Johns and they suffered defeats at the hands of Racing Club Warwick (5-2) and Hinckley AFC (4-1) in the St Johns Park derby. Cadbury Athletic are 5th after a 1-0 win at Studley. Studley themselves picked up all 3 points on Saturday with a 3-2 over Atherstone Town. It has not been the best of start for the Adders but they did pick up a point on Monday in a 2-2 draw with Coventry Copsewood. Elsewhere on Monday, Heath Hayes and Pelsall Villa ended goalless while Southam United won 1-0 at Racing Club Warwick.
Alvis Sporting Club maintained their 100% record with a 7-2 win over Earlswood Town, Dildale
Linton with a hat-trick. Rostance Edwards are second following a 3-1 win over previously unbeaten Chelmsley Town, and a 2-1 win home win over Hampton. Chelmsley Town shared 8 goals in a thriller with Paget Rangers on Saturday, Dan carter with a hat trick for the visitors. Droitwich Spa are in 3rd place and picked up 6 points over the weekend with a 3-0 victory over Sutton United and a
2-1 win at Barnt Green Spartak. Games involving Coton Green continue to be entertaining with another 12 goals over the weekend. A 6-0 victory over Knowle was followed by a 4-1 defeat at Hampton, Clint Andrews moving to the top of the division score charts with his seventh of the season. Fairfield Villa are off the bottom after a win over Barnt Green Spartak and Knowle picked
up their first win of the season with a 1-0 win over Earlswood Town. Austrey Rangers are in the middle of the pack after a 4-2 win over Feckenham.
FC Stratford have the only 100% record following a 5-2 win over Leamington Hibernian. Barton United are top winning 4-1 at Leamington Hibernian before dropping their first points of the season at Burntwood Town. Redditch Borough were the big movers at the weekend scoring 10 with only a solitary goal in reply. A 4-0 win over Enville Athletic was followed by a 6-1 win at Perrywood. Inkberrow are 3rd and they also scored 10 over the weekend. Nathan Davies was their star with hat-tricks in the 7-1 defeat of AFC Solihull and the 3-1 victory over Alcester Town. Smithswood Firs were involved in two high scoring games, a 3-1 home win over Shipston Excelsior and a 4-3 win at Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons, Dan Russell scoring 5 of the goals. Coventrians picked up their first points of the season with a 3-1 win at Shipston Excelsior. Badsey Rangers picked up 6 points at the weekend beating Alcester Town and AFC Solihull 4-2 and 2-1 respectively. Perrywood gained their firs point in a 2-2 draw at Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons while Burntwood Town beat Coventrians to register their first win. In the remaining game, Northfield Town defeated Enville Athletic 3-1.
FA Vase 1st Qualifying Round
34 Midland league sides are in AF Vase action this weekend – a realistic chance for a trip to Wembley for many. There are 5 Division 1 vs. Premier Division ties, the pick of which are Coventry
Copsewood at home to Bardon Hill and Alvechurch at home to Division1 high flyers, Lichfield City.
AFC Wulfrunians entertain Pershore Town, Rocester travel to Heather St Johns and FA Cup heroes
Westfields host Atherstone Town. In the one all Premier Division clash, Shepshed Dynamo host
Loughborough University. The Division 1 front runners all have intriguing ties. Leaders Coventry
United travel to North West Counties, Hanley Town; Nuneaton Griff take their goal machine to Shropshire to face West Midlands regional League, Shawbury Town who have a 100% league record; and Littleton travel to another WMRL side, Gornal Athletic. WMRL Wolverhampton Sporting Community face Hinckley AFC at Hazel Lane while Southam United travel to Brinsford lane to face Wolverhampton Casuals. A big day for Division 2 Barnt Green Spartak they travel to Premier Division Lye Town and also for Division 2 Paget Rangers who have a home tie against Division 1 Studley. Sporting Khalsa and Highgate United should be too strong for Dudley Town and Tipton Town respectively, while Stourport Swifts would expect to get past Pegasus Juniors. Quorn’s upturn in form should see them defeat Rainworth Miners Welfare and Continental Star will expect to beat Ellistown and Ibstock United at Dales lane on Sunday. The other ties look very hard to call and they are Ashby Ivanhoe versus Racing Club Warwick, Cadbury Athletic versus AFC Bridgnorth, Heath Hayes versus Bromsgrove Sporting, Leicester Road versus Harborough Town, Lutterworth Athletic versus Pilkington XXX and Stafford Town at home to Wednesfield.
The big game of the day sees Heanor Town hoping to maintain their 100% record at home to
Hereford. A bumper crowd is expected at The Town Ground with Heanor eyeing top spot. League leaders Long Eaton United welcome in-form Coleshill Town to Grange Park and this one could be full of goals. Two struggling sides meet at The Ron Steel Sports Ground where Dunkirk entertain Brocton. Both Coventry Sphinx and Walsall Wood have made steady starts to the season and they meet at Sphinx Drive.
Only one game in the First Division where rock bottom Bolehall Swifts travel to 18thplaced Pelsall Villa with both sides desperate for points.
League leaders Alvis Sporting Club host Austrey Rangers looking to maintain their 100% start to the season. Chelmsley Town can move into 2nd placed if they can beat Sutton United at The Pavilion.
Coton Green against Fairfield Villa has goals written all over it while there should be plenty of goals at Hampton versus Earlswood Town. Feckenham face Knowle with both sides looking for points to move up the table. The sides in 2nd and 3rd meet in the Presidents Cup with Rostance Edwards travelling to Droitwich Spa.
It’s first versus third this week as Barton United host Inkberrow at Holland Sports Club. FC Stratford will be hoping to take advantage of any slip ups as they travel to lowly Perrywood. Both
Smithswood Firs and Redditch Borough would be hoping to keep on the heels of the leaders as they play host to Coventrians and Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons respectively. AFC Solihull are still looking for their first MFL point and they play host to Burntwood Town. The other three games look like tight affairs as Leamington Hibernian host Enville Athletic, Northfield Town host Alcester Town and Badsey Rangers travel to Shipston Excelsior.
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