9th December 2015
Big Centre TV are working towards a January launch for the new non-league show featuring the Midlands Football League. Currently, MFL sides are featuring within the nightly sports news.
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday, December 5th
Sporting Khalsa 3 Walsall Wood
The third meeting in a short space of time between these local rivals and after the league meeting between them at Walsall Wood was abandoned due to high winds, it is with some trepidation that I enter the Aspray Arena with it blowing a gale. Thankfully, the conditions are nowhere near as bad as they were at the ML Safety stadium and it gave Khalsa a chance to play one of their many games in hand on the leaders. It didn’t take the home side long to get their noses in front, a cross from Carlo Franco picking out Craig Bannister, who controlled, swivelled and fired home in the 4th minute. The Wood went close to an equaliser when James Pemberton saved well from Dan Griffiths. Anthony Juxon then saw his shot cleared off the line and Ben Birch fired over as Wood looked for an equaliser. Instead, it was 2-0 to Khalsa. Bannister struck a delicious free-kick which rebounded off the post and Brad Lawley poked the ball home. The second goal seemed to drain Wood of any impetus and Khalsa again went close when Bannister shot just wide from all of 40 yards. The home side were playing some excellent football and a neat interchange down the right saw Franco’s cross just in front of David Meese. Steven Hayles came to Wood’s rescue with a super challenge to thwart Bannister. With half-time approaching, Lee Evans made a fine acrobatic save to keep out Bannister’s header. Khalsa were not to be denied and they grabbed the third before the half-time whistle. Marvin Nisbett heading home from close range. In the 62nd minute visions of the first abandoned game were revisited as the game was suspended due to a floodlight failure. With Walsall Wood in the dressing room, the lights flickered into life much to the relief of everyone concerned and the game could continue. Lawley should have made it four but his header was straight at Evans. Ricardo Ricketts forced a save from Pemberton and Drew Aiton was off target with a header in a rare Wood attack. In Stoppage time at the end of the 90, Kane Cork saw his point-blank shot saved by Evans but Khalsa will take the win and the clean sheet as they look to close the gap on leaders Hereford. A disappointing day for Walsall Wood who certainly missed the injured Joey Butlin.
With Hereford in County Cup action and both Alvechurch and Heanor Town seeing their games postponed, the focus was on whether Sporting Khalsa could close the gap at the top with one of their 6 games in hand. The answer was an emphatic yes as they were comfortable 3-0 winners over Walsall Wood at The Aspray Arena. At the bottom of the table, Brocton moved up to 17th with a 2-0 win at basement side Continental Star. Boldmere St Michaels continued their rise up the table with a 2-1 home win over Long Eaton United, their opening goal being wind assisted from the half way line. Coventry Sphinx looked to have picked up a much-needed point at Loughborough University but the students grabbed all 3 points with a 94th-minute winner. Karl Demidh returned from injury with a bang, scoring a hat-trick to ease Rocester’s relegation concerns as they beat Dunkirk 4-1 at Hillsfield. Westfields are in 18th position and they went down at home to Coleshill Town 2-1. Quorn are another side in trouble and a Dan Flowers goal was enough for a Lye Town victory at Stourbridge Road. A goal 6 minutes from time from Luke Edwards gave Bardon Hill a point in a 2-2 draw at AFC Wulfrunians. Alvechurch closed the gap on Hereford to just 6 points following a 3-0 win at Westfields on Tuesday. There was a healthy midweek crowd of 216 swelled by a number of interested Hereford supporters.
Coventry United increased their lead at the top of the table to 10 points with a 6-2 home win over Heather St Johns. Mat Brown scored four as United maintained their record of dropping just 3 points in the league all season. 2nd placed Nuneaton Griff were beaten 4-0 at Leicester Road who are just 3 points off second with two games in hand, James Hicks with a double. A fantastic crowd of 401 saw Bromsgrove Sporting come from behind to beat Hinckley AFC courtesy of a Kyle Turner double. Pilkington XXX recent excellent run came to an abrupt halt as a Dave Yonwin inspired Lichfield City ran out 5-1 winners to move level on points with 2nd placed Griff. Littleton are in 7th place after a 2-0 win at Cadbury Athletic. There was a dramatic finish at Heath Hayes as the home side clinched victory over Pershore Town with a Joe Pickering goal in the 15th minute of added on time. Racing Club Warwick are up to 11th after a 4-2 win over Pelsall Villa at Townsend Meadow. At the bottom, basement boys Stafford Town remain 5 points adrift after losing 4-1 at Atherstone Town. Big winners of the day were Coventry Copsewood who put seven past Studley, Lawrence Rawlings with a hat-trick.
The eagerly anticipated clash between Alvis Sporting Club and Chelmsley Town was abandoned at half-time due to floodlight failure. This gave Rostance Edwards the chance to jump into 3rd place after a narrow 2-1 win over Austrey Rangers. In the only other game to survive the weather, Coton Green beat Paget Rangers 2-1 to move into the top 6.
Hats off to AFC Solihull who picked up their first point of the season at the 12th time of asking in a 2-2 draw with Badsey Rangers. Alcester Town continued their fine form with a 5-0 win over Enville Athletic, hotshot Matthew Layton adding 3 more to take his tally to 16 for the season. Redditch Borough are up to 3rd, Jak Albutt with all the goals in a 3-1 win at Shipston Excelsior. FC Stratford will be thankful they reversed the fixture with Coventrians as they ran out 5-1 winners. Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons picked up a valuable 3 points at Inkberrow, the 2-1 win moving them 3 places up the league table.
Les James Challenge Cup
Sutton United are through to the quarter-finals after a 2-1 win at Northfield Town.
For the second time in a week, Smithswood Firs knocked Barton United out of a cup competition, Firs winning by four goals to one, to reach the semi-final.
Hereford entertained Bromyard Town in the Herefordshire Challenge Cup and continued their good goalscoring form with a 6-0 victory, Pablo Haysham with a hat-trick. Long Eaton United took a higher division scalp as they knocked Ilkeston out of the Derbyshire Senior Cup at The New Manor Ground, 2-1 the score. Heanor Town also made progress in the Derbyshire County Cup with a comfortable 4-0 win over New Mills, Jay Cooper with a couple. Lye Town knocked out higher level Banbury United in the Birmingham Senior Cup, winning the game on penalties. In the Leicestershire Senior Cup, Quorn needed extra time to edge their tie with Harborough Town. Another dramatic derby at St Johns Park as Hinckley AFC beat Leicester Road 4-3 after extra time. It was 2-2 at full time and when Leicester Road took the lead it looked like an away win. Goalkeeper Simon Arnold, playing outfield equalised before a last minute penalty from Ryan Seal sent Hinckley through. Another disappointing night for Dunkirk as they were knocked out of the Nottinghamshire Senior Cup by Radford, losing 3-2 a home. A good game at Brinsford Lane in the Walsall Senior Cup, as Walsall Wood beat Wolverhampton Casuals 4-2. In the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup, Rostance Edwards pulled off a shock beating higher division Pelsall Villa 2-1 at The Old Bush. Bolehall Swifts tough season continued with defeat in the Birmingham Midweek Floodlit Cup at the hands of Dudley Town, the visitors winning 3-0. High scorers on the night were Coventry Copsewood with an 8-2 victory over Southam United in the same competition, making it 15 goals in two games. The result is all the more surprising as Southam took a 2-0 lead early on.
League leaders Coleshill Town were held at home by Lichfield City. There were 8 goals at Silkmore Lane as Brocton and Gresley drew 4-4. Cameron Barton got a hat-trick as Evesham United won 4-2 at Romulus and it was a similar scoreline for Continental Star as they won away at Sutton United.
Under 21 Divisions
Only one game in the South Division as H.O.W. Academy and Bedworth United drew 1-1. In the North Division, Sutton Coldfield Town go top after a 4-2 win over Heath Hayes. Tipton Town made it two Bowl wins on the spin as they beat West Midlands Football Academy 5-2.
It is the 3rd round of the FA Vase and a chance for a number of our clubs to make the national stages of the competition in January. Hereford have been installed as favourites by the bookies for the competition and they will be in confident mood ahead of their home tie with fellow Premier Division side Brocton. The Badgers have shown improved form in recent weeks including that remarkable 5-5 draw with Heanor Town. This promises to be an exciting game and I think it will be a lot closer than some people think. Another all Premier Division tie takes place at the ML Safety Stadium as Walsall Wood entertain Alvechurch. The Church are in excellent form and closed the gap on Hereford at the top of the league table to 6 points with another win in midweek. The form says an away win but The Wood have a good record in this competition and another tight game is in prospect. AFC Wulfrunians travel to Cheshire to face a struggling Alsager Town. Alsager have recently appointed former Norton United Manager Scott Dundas as their new man in charge and they have reserved their best performances for cup competitions. Saying that Wulfs have to be favourites and I fully expect to see them in Monday’s draw. Uttoxeter Town have surprised many by reaching the 3rd round and Coleshill Town will have to be on their guard when the two sides meet on Saturday. Coleshill have had a good year in cup competitions taking some major scalps in the FA Cup and they have a realistic chance of going a long way in the competition. Providing they don’t underestimate the home side, I would expect to see them in round 4. Nuneaton Griff are the last Division 1 side standing and they travel to Derbyshire to face Central Midlands League Pinxton. Pinxton shocked Long Eaton United in the previous round and, like Griff, are amongst the goals with 15 in their last three games. Griff lost at Leicester Road last time out but will be confident of extending their run in the competition. Don’t be surprised if this one goes to extra time.
With the leaders in FA Vase action, Sporting Khalsa can close the gap to 9 points with four games in hand if they can win at Stourport Swifts. Khalsa have won 10 league games on the trot and will expect to return from Walshes Meadow with three points. 5th placed Shepshed Dynamo are right in the mix for promotion and they have a tricky assignment away at Long Eaton United despite the home side’s recent mixed results. A huge game at the bottom of the table as the basement two meet at the Ron Steel Sports Ground. Dunkirk will hope home advantage counts but Continental Star will want to avenge the recent home defeat at the hands of Dunkirk. Coventry Sphinx, under the new management of Robbie Banks, are desperately in need of points and they welcome mid-table Lye Town to Sphinx Drive. Boldmere St Michaels have rocketed up the league table in recent weeks and will expect more of the same when they entertain lowly Westfields, in need of points themselves. Two mid-table sides meet at Hollywell as Loughborough University welcome Bardon Hill to the University Stadium. The students, on their day, play some of the best football in the league and this could be a good game to watch.
Coventry United will be confident of maintaining their 10 point lead as they travel to Racing Club Warwick. Lichfield City will go second if they can win at free-scoring Coventry Copsewood, who have plundered 15 goals in two games. Should City slip up, then Leicester Road could overtake them if they can beat Heath Hayes at home. Pilkington XXX great run came to an abrupt end last week but they can get back to winning ways at home to Atherstone Town, who themselves had a good win last week. Studley conceded 7 at home to Copsewood last weekend and they face another difficult afternoon with a trip to 7th placed Littleton. Hinckley AFC had a remarkable County Cup win in midweek and they will want to use this as a platform when they welcome Pelsall Villa to St Johns Park. At the bottom Stafford Town need to pick up points and they welcome Cadbury Athletic to Evans Park, the visitors on a run of three straight defeats. Southam United concede 8 in midweek and they will want to erase that memory when they entertain fellow strugglers Pershore Town, in a real relegation 6 pointer.
Leaders Chelmsley Town travel to 2nd bottom Feckenham looking to maintain their recent form and extend their lead at the top. The next highest placed side in action are Sutton United in 5th place who travel to 10th placed Knowle. Basement side Earlswood Town entertain Coton Green in what will be their first home game since October. Two games affecting the middle of the table see Austrey Rangers host Paget Rangers and Fairfield Villa welcome Hampton.
Alcester Town are the form side in the division and they entertain bottom club AFC Solihull, fresh from picking up their first point of the season. The big game of the day sees 1st against 3rd as Leamington Hibernian entertain Redditch Borough. 2nd placed Smithswood Firs could retake the lead if they win at Coventrians and results elsewhere go their way. Enville Athletic have slipped down the table in recent weeks and they host the team immediately below them, 15th placed Perrywood. Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons picked up a good away win last week and are on the road again as they travel to Badsey Rangers. Shipston Excelsior could put themselves right in the promotion mix if they can pick up all 3 points at Inkberrow.
Quarter final of the Challenge Vase as Northfield Town entertain FC Stratford. With both sides within 6 points of the top of Division 3, this could be a very tight affair.
In form Droitwich Spa travel to Barnt Green Spartak in the quarter-final of the Presidents Cup. Form favours Droitwich who are on a run of 6 consecutive wins in all competitions.
Cadbury Athletic vs Romulus
Coventry United vs Continental Star
Coleshill Town vs Solihull Moors
Rocester vs Lichfield City
Under 21 Divisions
Bromsgrove Sporting vs Leamington (U21S)
Gornal Athletic vs West Midlands Football Academy (U21S)
Bedworth United vs Stourport Swifts (U21S)
Heath hayes vs Kings Heath Concorde (BOWL)
Tamworth vs H.O.W. Academy (BOWL)
Anstey Nomads vs Walsall Wood (U21N)
Sutton Coldfield Town vs Tipton Town (U21N)