22nd October 2015
This week’s news has been dominated by the forthcoming FA Cup tie between Sporting Khalsa and FC United of Manchester. I have included below one of the best press releases ever released by a non-league club from FCUM.
The FC United Board thought fans would like to share our frustration and bemusement at the request we received on Friday 16 Oct 2015 from the BBC, via the FA, to move the kick off time of our FA Cup game against Sporting Khalsa to enable a “brand new BBC Mobile Match of The Day Live experience”. This latest idea included disruption to the pre-match preparations of club volunteers and the competing teams, interruptions to substitutes warming up and interference with the team managers’ match management. The FC United Board gave a resounding ‘no’ to this request. Match-going supporters should not have to be inconvenienced for the benefit of those who rarely, if at all, attend matches. FC United is not intrinsically opposed to the re-arrangement of a fixture time, provided that it meets with the approval of and benefits the respective clubs and their supporters. In 2007, members of FC United voted in favour of entering the FA Cup and acknowledged the competitions rules and TV contracts.
That aside the whole “Mobile Match of The Day Live experience” should have been canned at inception by any BBC Sports manager with an understanding of the game. As a public service broadcaster the BBC should be taking a lead by promoting the game without causing additional disruption to match going supporters instead of trying to ape or outdo some of the worst excesses of their competitors. If BBC viewers would like to understand the fans’ experience at a football game there are numerous real life games at every level throughout the country and the easiest way for TV viewers to access the real fans’ experience is to go along to a match. For a more in depth experience they could volunteer like many non-league fans do week in and week out. The FA, as the governing body of football in this country, appear to be encouraging ways to cash in on the fans’ experience whilst treating the supporters as the least important commodity in the game. We call upon the FA to remember that football is a sporting competition and the associated drama comes from the highs and lows of the game itself. It does not reflect well on the custodians of our game that they would devalue the sporting integrity of their flagship competition by encouraging TV presenters to interfere with those in the dugouts or changing rooms when they are working to produce the best competitive elements of the game. Nor should TV have access to substitutes when warming up, because those players are athletes preparing properly to be able to compete at their best.
TV exposure and the revenue it generates are important to football. However, we believe that the balance has swung way too far in favour of the TV companies - and too far away from the match-going, admission paying, regularly attending football supporter. FC United seeks to change the way that football is owned and run, putting supporters at the heart of everything. This includes a better and more balanced relationship with TV.
Travels of the Press Officer
Friday October 16th
Worcester Warriors 13 Northampton Saints 12
The start of the Aviva Premiership rugby season and a chance to watch the Warriors make their top level return at Sixways against formidable opponents in Northampton Saints. Any trip to a rugby game requires getting to the ground in plenty of time to sample the excellent food on offer (Sixways is worth it for the food alone). With seats at the bag of the impressive East Stand with a healthy mix of Worcester and Northampton fans sitting together, the talk pre match was whether Warriors would cope with the Premiership intensity provided by Saints. With a number of players having points to prove after World Cup omission (Dylan Hartley, Luther Burrell, Stephen Myler) and with players returning from the World Cup (Ken & George Pisi, Kieran Brookes, Kahn Fotuali’i) on paper, Saints had the edge. Thankfully, rugby is played on grass and a titanic battle ensued between the ball playing Warriors and the boot of Myler. Saints took an early lead through two Myler penalties but Warriors responded with a penalty of their own from Tom Heathcote before scoring the only try of the game from skipper GJ Van Velze. Warriors dominated the physical battles but missed kicks from Heathcote and Ryan Mills were costing the home side. When Myler slotted over another penalty to give Saints the lead with less than 2 minutes left, it seemed that all the hard work would be for nothing and the press would already be condemning the Warriors to relegation. Thankfully, this side is made of stern stuff. Saints lost the ball in a tackle, warriors drove forward and with the clock ticking down to zero, the ball was passed back to Heathcote to drop a goal (the kick barely skimmed the bar) to give the Warriors victory by 1 point. The reaction from everyone in the crowd was a mixture of despair and elation but it was the sport that was the winner. A great night out (albeit expensive) and well worth going if you have never experienced professional rugby.
Saturday October 17th
Loughborough University 2 Alvechurch 1
My first visit to Loughborough University and I had been encouraged to visit by a number of groundhopping colleagues. As soon as I enter the ground, it is clear to see why they are impressed, a fantastic facility and what a pitch. Looking at the ground from the hospitality suite you get a great view of the ground. The grandstand has one of the best views in the Midland Football League and today’s game promised to be an intriguing one. Alvechurch had won 9 league games on the bounce after losing on the opening day of the season. The students hadn’t started well but had been making steady progress in recent weeks. Alvechurch started the game on the front foot but found the students difficult to break down. A decision by referee Ian Croston Infuriated Alvechurch in the 19th minute. An excellent through ball found Jordan Nadat in the penalty area but the official had already awarded a free kick to Church instead of playing on. Richard Huckfield should have hit the target for Church but he out a free header over the bar. Loughborough stunned the visitors with a goal in the 32nd minute, an excellent move finished with a deflected Max Herbert shot past Paul Evans. The Students should have doubled their lead just before the break but Alun Webb fired over. Alvechurch were back on level terms in the 56th minute, Josh March shooting on the turn after a good ball from Sam Williams. At this point, the feeling was that Alvechurch would perhaps take the game by the scruff of the neck and go on to win but the home side were having none of it. They were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area, Ben Ward-Cochrane picked his spot and Evans could do nothing about it as it curled into the corner. The nearest Church came to an equaliser was when Jordan Nadat forced a fine save from Connor O’Keefe but it was the home side that should have added to their tally but Ward-Cochrane was off target. An excellent victory for the students who play a brand of football that is good on the eye. Alvechurch will no doubt bounce back from the defeat and will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season. A great stadium to visit and as usual in the Midland Football League a very warm welcome from everyone associated with both clubs
Monday October 19th
Stafford Rangers Reserves 2 Football CV 2
A business meeting in Yorkshire meant staying nearer to home and a Central Conference fixture at Marston Road. Stafford included first teamers Sam Smith, Jazz Luckie and Fabrice Kasiama as they continue their recovery from injury against a very young Corby academy side. Luckie gave Rangers the lead in the 13th minute when his free-kick struck the bar and went in off keeper Daniel Perry. The visitors looked lively with Thatang Maponia volleying just wide. Maponia equalised 5 minutes before the break with a stunning effort from 30 yards – a goal of real quality. Rangers were indebted to keeper Connor Alderman after the break making excellent saves to thwart Jerome Lopez and Modou Jarjou (I’m glad I wasn’t commentating!). Kasiama gave rangers the lead in the 65th minute when his free-kick flew through a crowded penalty area into the net. Alex Lalor equalised from the penalty spot for Football CV which was richly deserved for their efforts. The impressive part about the game was the physicality shown by both players handled brilliantly by former top level referee Terry Holbrook. £2 well spent.
Tuesday October 20th
AFC Wulfrunians 3 Westfields 2
Another excellent premier division game which could have gone either way. The visitors took the lead in the 8th minute when skipper Jamie Cuss gave Danny Tipton no chance with an excellent finish. Westfields almost doubled their lead in the 20th minute when Craig Jones’ superb free-kick rattled the bar with Tipton beaten. Jake Sedgemore tried his luck from distance for Wulfs only to be thwarted by a flying save from Jon Pugh. Wulfs were back on level terms in the 29th minute with another goal from leading scorer Ricky Anslow, firing low into the bottom corner. The visitors were fast out of the blocks at the start of the second half with Cuss and Jones going close. Wulfs took the lead in the 65th minute with Jamie king finding the net after a through ball from Anslow. Westfields came back and equalised through Jones with a shot that took a wicked deflection to wrong foot Tipton. Parity lasted less than a minute as the home side regained the lead following a howler by keeper Pugh. He let the ball slip out of his hands and sub Kyle Brady was the grateful recipient and a simple finish. Brady could have had a second after another defensive mistake by Westfields but the ball was cleared off the line. An entertaining evening with two well matched sides.
Hereford retained top spot with a 4-0 win at Brocton. John Mills put away two second half penalties for the Bulls who have now won their last 8 league games. Heanor Town are hot on their heels following a 2-1 win at Long Eaton United. Alvechurch’s long winning run came to an end at Loughborough University as they went down 2-1 win, Ben Ward-Cochrane with the winning goal. Highgate United continued their upward momentum with a 3-0 win at AFC Wulfrunians, Lei Brown with a hat-trick taking him to 11 for the season. Sporting Khalsa had to come from behind to beat Boldmere St Michaels at the Aspray Arena. Shepshed Dynamo got back to winning ways with a 3-1 victory over basement side, Continental Star. Walsall Wood were also 3-1 victors over Quorn at Oak Park, Drew Aiton with a couple. Lye Town are 10th following a 3-1 win over Coleshill Town who took the lead in the opening minute. Dunkirk and Stourport Swifts shared the spoils with a goalless draw in Nottingham while Westfields and Bardon Hill drew 1-1.
On Monday evening, Heanor Town returned to the top of the league following a 4-2 win at Coventry Sphinx. The visitors raced into a 3-0 lead at the break but despite 2 Richard Blythe goals, it was Heanor that sealed the points with a late Danny Claridge goal. Hereford regained the lead on Tuesday night with a 6-0 victory over Continental Star. Pablo Heysham was the hat-trick man for the Bulls on this occasion as they recorded their 12th successive win in all competitions. A stoppage time equaliser from Callum Rudd meant Alvechurch dropped two more points in a 2-2 draw with Boldmere St Michaels. Sporting Khalsa warmed up for their big FA Cup tie with a 4-1 win at Brocton, Craig Bannister with a couple. AFC Wulfrunians moved up the table winning by the odd goal in five over Westfields. At the bottom of the table, Dunkirk continue to struggle losing 2-0 at home to an upwardly mobile Loughborough University. Rocester climbed up the table with a 1-0 win at Lye Town. On Wednesday, Shepshed Dynamo picked up their second win in the week courtesy of a Liam Read hat-trick as they beat Bardon Hill 3-0. Long Eaton United and Quorn shared the points in a 2-2 draw.
League leaders Coventry United stay top after edging past Cadbury Athletic courtesy of a Josh O’Grady double. Hotshots Nuneaton Griff were at it again with a 3-0 victory over Studley, Luke Shorthouse with his 19th of the season. Bromsgrove Sporting are up to 3rd after a narrow away win at Heath Hayes. Leicester Road beat Littleton 4-2 with Tom McGlinchey scoring a brace. Southam United have conceded 12 goals in 4 days after a 5-0 defeat at Pilkington XXX. Dayle Kenny scored two for Pilks. Lichfield City are still on the promotion fringes after a 2-1 away win at Atherstone Town while Hinckley AFC have three games in hand on the league leaders and they are very much in the mix with a 4-1 win at Pershore Town. Bolehall Swifts remain anchored to the bottom after a 3-2 defeat at Racing Club Warwick. Heather St Johns had a morale boosting victory over Stafford Town to leapfrog the visitors in the league table, Josh Buchanan with the all important goal. Pelsall Villa are hovering above the bottom two after a 4-2 defeat at Coventry Copsewood, Ryan Harkin with a double for the home side.
Polymac Packaging League Cup
Just one game in the league cup and a narrow win for Stourport Swifts at Southam United.
Chelmsley Town stay top following a 3-0 win over Paget Rangers, Chris Lloyd again on the mark with 2. Alvis Sporting Club maintained their 100% record with a 3-0 victory at Hampton, Dildale Linton with another couple. Rostance Edwards are 3rd following a 2-0 win at Earlswood Town. Droitwich Spa drop to 4th after being held 2-2 at Coton Green. Austrey Rangers move up to 5th after a 2-1 win at Barnt Green Spartak. Fairfield Villa were big movers this week with a 4-1 win over Feckenham, James Ward with a couple. Knowle move up a place after a 2-2 draw at Sutton United.
Redditch Borough have closed the gap at the top to just 1 point after they beat Coventrians 2-0. FC Stratford lost for the first time this season going down 4-3 at Northfield Town. Leamington Hibernian were in goal scoring form with a 4-0 win over visiting Inkberrow. At the bottom Perrywood moved 5 points away from AFC Solihull after a 1-0 win at Badsey Rangers. Enville Athletic and Burntwood Town moved up the table after wins over Shipston Excelsior and Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons respectively.
Les James Challenge Cup
One tie this week saw Fairfield Villa progress after a 3-1 victory away to Barnt Green Spartak.
Barton United made progress with a comfortable 3-0 win over AFC Solihull.
In the Birmingham Saturday Vase, Division 3 league leaders Smithswood Firs went through with a 3-0 win over Henley Forest. Highgate United held Solihull Moors to a goalless draw in the Birmingham Senior Cup only for the moors to progress on penalties. In the Birmingham Midweek Floodlit Cup there were wins for Coventry Copsewood and Gornal Athletic over Cadbury Athletic and Pilkington XXX respectively. Atherstone Town knocked Nuneaton Griff out of the Coventry Evening Telegraph Cup and there were wins in the JW Hunt cup for Stafford Town and Lichfield City. Paget Rangers and Pelsall Villa bowed out of the same competition.
League leaders Coleshill Town put nine goals past bottom club Gresley, Chris Gumery with four and Joseph Wykes with three. 2nd placed Solihull Moors were held by Brocton but only Evesham United of the chasing pack took advantage with a 2-1 win at Cadbury Athletic. Lichfield City were the only other side to win, 4-0 over Continental Star. Elsewhere there were draws between Rocester and Coventry United and Romulus and Sutton United.
Under 21 Divisions
In the Southern division there were good wins for Bromsgrove Sporting and Stourport Swifts as they both move level with leaders Bedworth United. In the North Sutton Coldfield Town moved up 3 places with a 3-1 win at Newcastle Town. In the Bowl, there were away wins for Tamworth and Anstey Nomads while South league leaders Bedworth United had a single goal victory over Basford United.
Sporting Khalsa face the biggest game in their relatively short history when they welcome FC United of Manchester to the Aspray Arena in the 4th qualifying round of the FA Cup. The opportunity to play in the first round proper faces the winners of what looks an intriguing tie on paper. Khalsa are in great form and can cause a shock. FC United will be backed in big numbers by their fantastic following and a 2000+ crowd is likely to descend on Willenhall. If you are going, get there early.
Hereford went back to the top of the table in midweek and will be hopeful of a 13th straight win when they entertain Quorn at Edgar Street. 2nd placed Heanor Town travel to Stourport Swifts in what promises to be a close encounter. Heanor are in fine goal scoring form and may need the win to keep up with the leaders. Alvechurch have had a disappointing week but will expect to bounce back to winning ways at home to bottom side Continental Star. Highgate United are hot on their heels and will be looking for all 3 points at Bardon Hill. At the bottom, Boldmere St Michaels have the chance to open up a gap when they entertain struggling Dunkirk. Brocton are anxiously looking over their shoulder and they have an attractive looking game against inconsistent AFC Wulfrunians. Shepshed Dynamo seem to have steadied the ship and they travel to Coventry Sphinx who are on a poor run. Loughborough University had an excellent week and they will be looking for a third win on the spin at home to Lye Town. Long Eaton United have slipped up of late and they will want to get their season going again at home to Westfields. Two mid table sides meet at Pack Meadow where
Coleshill Town welcome Walsall Wood
Nuneaton Griff could go top of the table this week if they beat Coventry Copsewood at the Pingles Stadium. Littleton can go 3rd if they can beat Pilkington XXX at home. Leicester Road will move into the top 4 with a win at bottom side Bolehall Swifts. Hinckley AFC have games in hand on the leaders and a home win over Heath Hayes closes the gap. At the bottom of the table, Stafford Town have bought in 5 new faces this week and they will be hoping for a change of fortunes at Evans Park against fellow strugglers, Pershore Town. Heather St Johns had a morale boosting victory last week and travel to Racing Club Warwick with fresh impetus. Southam United have been conceding far too many goals recently and they will want to stop the rot at home to Pelsall Villa. Atherstone Town travel to Cadbury Athletic and a win will see them leapfrog their hosts. Lichfield City will still believe that they can challenge for honours this season and a win at Studley will keep them in the leading pack.
Leaders Chelmsley Town entertain Feckenham as they look to maintain the gap at the top. Alvis Sporting Club have the last remaining 100% record across the league and they travel to Fairfield Villa. Rostance Edwards have a tricky looking away game at the placed Austrey Rangers. Droitwich Spa welcome Paget Rangers with a chance to move into the top 3. Bottom club Earlswood Town are at home to mid table Sutton United hoping to add to their solitary league point. Two sides in need of points to move away from the lower echelons meet at The Robins Nest as Knowle entertain Hampton.
Redditch Borough can go top of the pile with a victory at Alcester Town. Barton United will move into the top two if they can beat Badsey Rangers at home. Could this be the week that AFC Solihull get off the mark as they entertain Northfield Town. Perrywood can move further away from the bottom with victory over Shipston Excelsior. Leamington Hibernian can put pressure on the sides above them with a win over Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons. Elsewhere Burntwood Town host Enville Athletic and Inkberrow host FC Stratford in evenly matched games.
One tie in the Presidents Cup where Barnt Green Spartak entertain Coton Green
Division 3 leaders, Smithswood Firs will expect to progress at home to Coventrians.
Continental Star vs Solihull Moors
Coventry United vs Cadbury Athletic
Gresley vs Brocton
Lichfield City vs Romulus
Sutton United vs Coleshill Town
Rocester vs Evesham United (Trophy)
Under 21 Divisions
Bromsgrove Sporting vs Stourport Swifts (Bowl)
Kings Heath Concorde vs Gornal Athletic (Bowl)
Sutton Coldfield Town vs Bedworth United (Bowl)
Walsall Wood vs West Midlands Football Academy (Bowl)
Heath Hayes vs Newcastle Town (u21N)
Tamworth vs Tipton Town (U21N)
Basford United vs Paget Rangers (U21N)