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.
Midland Football League Newsletter
27th August 2015
The official opening of Coventry Copsewood’s new changing rooms and community area will take place Sunday 6th Sept. Photos will appear in a future newsletter. If you are looking for a football fix on Sunday, Alcester Town are hosting the Graham Weale charity shield with a kick off at 10:30. The game sees Alcester Old Boys take on Alcester young guns.
The travels of the Press Officer
Saturday 22nd August
AFC Wulfrunians 3 Loughborough University 1
On a baking hot day and with thunderstorms in the offing, I decided to make the short trip to Castlecroft to see two sides with 100% league records. The home side had surprised themselves with the start they had made and had followed up their league wins with an FA Cup victory over Southam United. The Students had suffered a couple of heavy league defeats but an FA Cup victory over Barrow Town was hopefully, the start they needed. The first half was pretty even with both sides missing chances before Wulfrunians took the lead just before the interval when Chris Lait’s shot was half-stopped by keeper Matthew Donvito but it still managed to cross the line. The home side doubled the lead three minutes into the second half when Jake Sedgemore made no mistake from the penalty spot after Ricky Anslow had been tripped. Loughborough bounced back with a Max Herbert penalty after Jeremiah Dasaolu had been clipped. Anslow restored Wulfrunians two goal cushion with a calm finish. The heat took its toll and the Students were unable to get back into the game.
Tuesday 25th August
Brocton 3 Rocester 0
A Staffordshire derby at Silkmore lane and two sides already desperate to get their league seasons underway. Both came into the game without a point although Rocester had progressed in the FA Cup. The first half was a cagey affair with Dan Lomas going close for Brocton and Callum Barrett pulling out a fine double save to thwart the Romans. Brocton snatched the lead just before the break
when Gary Fife looped a header over Richard Froggatt from an excellent David Berks free-kick. The arrival of Josh Wilson after half-time gave Brocton an additional attacking threat. Minutes after crashing a shot against the post, the youngster found the bottom corner from 20 yards. Fife hit the woodwork before grabbing his second and Brocton’s third with a clip over the keeper. Rocester responded but when Karl Demidh rattled the crossbar it was clear that it wasn’t to be their night.
Wednesday 26th August
Kidsgrove Athletic 0 Stafford Rangers 3
A rare opportunity to watch my own team so a short trip up the M6 to Kidsgrove. Last season’s game between the two sides ended in a 6-0 victory for rangers but with Kidsgrove having strengthened their side a much closer encounter was anticipated. Stafford are clear favourites to win the Evostik South this season and they underlined those credentials with an excellent display of fast accurate football and quality finishing. In fact, with the rub of the green from the officials, they could have matched last season’s scoreline. Stafford took the lead in the 25th minute. A Kidsgrove clearance cannoned into Christian Dacres causing panic in the home penalty area. Alex Melbourne reacted quickest to hook the ball home. Rangers second half goals were tremendous. Nathan Rooney scored number two from a ridiculously tight angle and the 3rd owed everything to the tenacity and work rate of Ben Haseley who beat umpteen defenders, somehow managed to keep possession and then rattled the ball into the top corner. The evening was finished with me conducting the post match interview with Rangers’ manager Neil Kitching – it was good to be back, if briefly.
I will not be at a game over the Bank Holiday weekend as I will be trying to keep dry at Shrewsbury Folk Festival!
Pride of place on Saturday has to go to Hereford. Three nil down after 13 minutes at Rocester, the Bulls came back and scored 4 in the last half an hour to take the points back to Edgar Street. At the top of the table, Highgate United dropped their first points of the season having to settle for a point at fellow high flyers Long Eaton United. Stourport Swifts continue on the winning trail beating Bardon Hill 3-0 away from home, Ben Maund on the score sheet again. AFC Wulfrunians also have a
100% record beating Loughborough University at Castlecroft and they are joined in the top group by Shepshed Dynamo who also maintained their 100% record with a narrow win at Brocton, Matt Langham on target. League new boys Heanor Town have a perfect record winning 4-1 at Coleshill Town. Boldmere St Michaels continue to struggle going down 3-0 at Coventry Sphinx. Alvechurch are gaining some momentum and were 4-1 winners at Dunkirk. Lye Town lost their 100% record with a 2-1 defeat at Walsall Wood while at the other end of the table Quorn got off the mark with a 2-1 win at Westfields. At the Aspray Arena, Sporting Khalsa eased past Continental Star wining 3-0.
If it’s goals you are looking for, Division 1 is the place to be. Nuneaton Griff heading the scoring charts with a 9-1 win at Racing Club Warwick, Luke Shorthouse with a hat-trick. There were 10 goals at St Johns Park with Hinckley beating Studley 8-2, Marco Adaggio and Luke Richards with hat-tricks. Cadbury Athletic continue their good run of form with a 6-2 victory at Pelsall Villa. Two fancied sides met at Brownsfield Park with Lichfield City edging out Leicester Road 3-2. At the top of the table, there is no stopping Coventry United as they recorded their 5th win out of 5. The Joshes, O’Grady and Blake, were on the scoresheet again as they beat Bolehall Swifts 5-1 at Rene Road. Elsewhere, Atherstone Town beat Pershore 3-0; Southam United won the battle of the Saints beating Heather St Johns 3-2 and Bromsgrove Sporting eased past Stafford Town at Evans Park winning 2-0.
Alvis Sporting Club, Chelmsley Town and Sutton United continue to lead the way with 100% records. Alvis won a tight game at Droitwich Spa by the odd goal in 5 while Sutton United and Chelmsley Town had 4-0 victories over Feckenham and Earlswood Town respectively. Attendance of the day was at Paget Rangers where a crowd of 91 witnessed a 1-1 draw with Coton Green. Austrey Rangers got their first win of the campaign 4-1 away to Fairfield Villa. Elsewhere there were draws at Hampton versus Barnt Green Spartak and for Rostance Edwards at Knowle.
FC Stratford, Barton United and Enville Athletic all boast 100% records after the second week of the season. Stratford top the pile on goal difference after a 5-0 win at home to Northfield Town. Enville Athletic are next after a thrilling 4-3 win at Badsey Rangers. Barton needed a stoppage time winner to beat league new boys Coventrians. There were 7 goals at Stratford Road, as visitors Shipston Excelsior beat hosts Alcester Town 4-3 with two goals from Craig Robins. Inkberrow are up and running after a 2-1 win at Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons. Leamington Hibernian remain unbeaten after a 3-2 win over Smithswood Firs.
I don’t know what’s in the water at Edgar Street but Hereford were again involved in a goal fest against Coleshill Town. Three goals inside the first 17 minutes was a sign of things to come as the
free-scoring visitors warmed up for their FA Cup tie at Stafford Rangers with a stunning 5-4 victory. Dean Rathbone scored a hat-trick for Coleshill with strike duo John Mills and Pablo Heysham on target for the Bulls. Stourport Swifts sit proudly on top of the table, a 4-2 victory over Westfields came courtesy of a Ben Maund hat-trick. Quorn were the night’s biggest scorers putting 6 past Bardon Hill who slipped to 19th in the table. Heanor Town still have a 100% record but their game at Loughborough University was abandoned at half-time due to a floodlight failure. Previous leaders Highgate United were held to a draw by Sporting Khalsa whose equaliser came from the penalty spot, three minutes into stoppage time. Shepshed Dynamo failed to win for the first time this season following a goalless draw with Coventry Sphinx. Another 100% record to go was that of AFC Wulfrunians who were beaten by Boldmere St Michaels, Gurpal Singh Mandair with the only goal of the game. Alvechurch are on the march and a 2-1 victory over Lye Town moves them up to 6th. Rocester are still looking for their first points of the season as they lost 3-0 at Brocton who got their season up and running thanks to a brace from Gary Fife. On Wednesday evening, Long Eaton United moved up to 3rd place with a 2-0 win over Dunkirk. Bradley Wells and Tom Cooper-Richards got the goals for the home side.
You can’t take your eyes off leaders Coventry United who made it 6 out of 6 with a 6-1 win over Atherstone Town. The double act of Josh O’Grady and Josh Blake both bagged a brace for United who have a 6 point cushion at the top of the table. Racing Club Warwick gave their manager a positive reaction to Saturday’s 9 goal defeat by winning 4-1 at Pershore Town. Bromsgrove Sporting are unbeaten and up to 4th in the table following a 3-1 win over 2nd placed Littleton. Bolehall Swifts remain pointless following a 3-0 defeat at Leicester Road. Hinckley AFC won the battle of the fancied sides at St Johns Park beating Lichfield City 2-0. Cadbury Athletic were held to a draw by Coventry Copsewood; Heath Hayes edged the Staffordshire derby with Stafford Town thanks to a Joe Pickering goal; Pilkington XXX were amongst the goals with a 4-2 win at Pelsall Villa while Studley shared the spoils with Southam United. On Wednesday, the goal machine that is Nuneaton Griff went one better than the weekend, beating Heather St Johns 10-0. Luke Shorthouse followed up his Saturday hat-trick with four goals for Griff who are up to 2nd in the table.
Plenty of fixtures in the preliminary round of the FA Cup and opportunities for giant killings. AFC Wulfrunians host Romulus who are mid table in the Evostik South. Shepshed Dynamo will fancy their chances at another Evostik side Carlton Town who have lost their opening two home games. Coleshill Town have a tough task as they travel to Evostik South favourites Stafford Rangers, the game being switched to Marston Road with the agreement of the FA. Dunkirk host NCEL1 Bottesford Town and would expect to progress. Rocester have a Staffordshire derby travelling to Harrison Park to face Evostik South Leek Town. League form would indicate a home win but this is the FA Cup. Two Premier Division sides meet as Loughborough University entertain Long Eaton United. Continental Star face a difficult trip to Evostik South Newcastle Town and will do well to bring them back to Dales Lane for a replay. Coventry Sphinx make the short journey to Rugby Town and must have a good chance of causing a shock. Division 1 Cadbury Athletic travel to Premier Division Sporting Khalsa and this game could be filled with goals. Two in form sides meet at Walshes
Meadow with Premier Division high flyers Stourport Swifts and Alvechurch locking horns. Westfields welcome Evostik South Kidsgrove Athletic to Allpay Park and will want to win at the first time of asking. An intriguing game at The Victoria ground as Division 1 heavyweights Bromsgrove Sporting and Hinckley AFC meet. A replay and penalties wouldn’t be a surprise.
Only one game on Saturday as Brocton host Bardon Hill. The Badgers got their season underway in midweek and will be looking to back that up against a Bardon hill side who themselves will want to bounce back from a 6-1 defeat at Quorn. Cup replays permitting, there is a full fixture list on Bank Holiday Monday. Leaders Stourport Swifts host Coleshill Town in what promises to be an entertaining game. All eyes in the City of Hereford will be on Allpay Park where Westfields will host neighbours Hereford in an all-ticket sell out. At the top of the table, Alvechurch take on Highgate United at Lye Meadow while Shepshed Dynamo travel to Hillsfield to face Rocester still searching for their first league points of the season. Heanor Town will be hoping to maintain their 100% records as they host Dunkirk whilst AFC Wulfrunians will expect to get back in winning ways when they face pointless Continental Star at Castlecroft. Loughborough University will be looking to get their first points of the season when they travel to a Quorn side that have won their last two after a slow start. Elsewhere, Brocton have their 5th home league game of the season against Long Eaton United; Boldmere St Michaels will be looking for back to back wins when they face Walsall Wood; and Coventry Sphinx will be favourites to beat Bardon Hill at Sphinx Drive.
Leaders Coventry United have games at home to Pershore Town and away at Leicester Road as they look to keep their winning start to life in Division 1 going. 3rd placed Littleton have two home games against Coventry Copsewood and Pershore Town with an opportunity to consolidate their excellent start to the season. Heather St Johns and Racing Club Warwick meet on Saturday and both will be hoping to get their season moving on the upward curve. Watch out for high scoring Nuneaton Griff as they entertain Pelsall Villa on Saturday and then travel to bottom club Bolehall Swifts on Monday. Struggling Stafford Town travel to Pilkington XXX on Saturday before hosting Lichfield City in another Staffordshire derby on Monday. Atherstone Town haven’t made the start to the season they would have hoped and they will be wanting to put that right with games at Studley on Saturday and a t home to Coventry Copsewood on Monday. Tenants face hosts at St Johns Park on Monday as Hinckley AFC ‘host’ Heather St Johns; Unbeaten Bromsgrove Sporting travel to Pilkington XXX on Monday; Heath Hayes, recovering well from relegation, are at home to Pelsall Villa; and Studley host Cadbury Athletic, the Chocolatemen fresh from their FA Cup exploits.
A busy weekend in Division 2 with games on Saturday and Monday. Leaders Alvis Sporting Club play on Saturday only and travel to Earlswood Town, pointless after two games. The blank Monday offers Chelmsley Town the chance to open up a gap if they can beat Paget Rangers at home on Saturday and then win at unbeaten Rostance Edwards on Monday. Sutton United take their 100% record to Droitwich Spa on Saturday which promises to be a stern test. Feckenham are yet to score this season and they travel to Austrey Rangers on Saturday. 5th placed Coton Green entertain Knowle on Saturday and then travel to Hampton on Monday which could be a close battle. Bottom of the table
Fairfield Villa host Barnt Green Spartak on Saturday in what should be a tight game. Rostance Edwards have the chance to put pressure on the sides above before that game on Monday when they welcome Hampton to The Red Lion Ground on Saturday afternoon. Elsewhere on Monday, Barnt Green Spartak welcome Droitwich Spa to The Coppice while Knowle face Earlswood Town at The Robins Nest.
Lots of activity in Division 3 this weekend with most teams in action twice. Leaders FC Stratford are one of the exceptions and the will have to wait until Monday when they face fellow high flyers Leamington Hibernian. 2nd placed Enville Athletic take their 100% record on the road with trips to Redditch Borough and Northfield Town. 3rd place Barton United are also on their travels with games at Leamington Hibernian and Burntwood Town. Burntwood Town play their first game at their new home on Saturday when Coventrians are the visitors. AFC Solihull are looking for their first points in the MFL and they travel to Inkberrow and Badsey Rangers over the weekend. Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons are still to get off the mark this season and they host Perrywood and Smithswood Firs. Elsewhere on Saturday, Alcester Town host Badsey Rangers before travelling to Inkberrow on Monday; Shipston Excelsior travel to Smithswood Firs before hosting Coventrians on Monday; and on Monday, Perrywood welcome Redditch Borough to Neel Park. It is fair to say, that the league table will look a lot different after the weekend.
The entertainment value of the midland Football League is there for all to see and we are seeing encouraging attendances across all of our divisions. Goals are what people come to see and we seem to have an abundance early in the season. In the Premier Division, pride of place has to go to Hereford last weekend. 3-0 down inside 13 minutes at Rocester, the Bulls somehow managed to turn it around and grabbed a stoppage time winner. Division 1 saw 59 goals in 10 games – an incredible average. There were 10 goals at St Johns Park as Hinckley beat Studley 8-2, 10 at Townsend Meadow as visitors Nuneaton Griff beat Racing Club Warwick 9-1 and a further 8 at The Bush as Cadbury Athletic beat Pelsall Villa 6-2. In Division 2, there were 22 goals in the seven fixtures with Chelmsley Town, Austrey Rangers and Sutton United all bagging 4. Division 3 was not to be outdone, 30 goals in 6 matches with 7 at Alcester Town (at home to Shipston Excelsior) and Badsey Rangers (at home to Enville Athletic). If any-one asks why we should watch the Midland Football League, 152 goals in 34 games is as good an argument as we can give. This weekend’s Bank Holiday fixtures, which include the FA Cup, promise another action packed and goal-filled couple of days. Just think about the reporters trying to summarise these games in 250 words or less – perhaps if we keep doing it, we may get more column space!
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