Hampton were looking to get a result yesterday afternoon against Northfield Town at New Mill Lane. The hosts are more than capable of going on a cup run in the Les James Challenge cup this season and were runners-up last season where they lost to Knowle at the Bescot Stadium. The Solihull club were in good form going into this match with seven points from their last three matches in division two.
Northfield Town were entering the Les James Challenge cup in good form and had the opportunity to test themselves against higher opposition. The visitors had picked up seven points from their three matches competing in division three. They had recorded notable away wins over Wake Green Amateur and Meadow Park and were playing well with 9 goals in those three matches.
The weather throughout Sutton Coldfield and Tamworth was unpredictable throughout the day with the occasional rainstorm followed by clear skies and sun. The conditions at New Mill Lane were mostly clear and sunny throughout the afternoon with the odd sprinkle of rain. The atmosphere around the ground was friendly and welcoming prior to kick off and both teams went through their warmups between 2:15-2:45pm.
Starting Line ups
Hampton’s starting line up featured Jack Slevin leading the team as the skipper and playing alongside James Morris in central defence. Matthew Allely was the goalkeeper and the formation looked like a 4-2-3-1 with prolific striker Ciaran Lawless leading the front line. Hayden Dickinson and Marcus Brooke played on the wings with James Mudie being the number ten.
There were three changes from the team that started against Fairfield Villa last weekend with Hayden Dickinson and James Mudie coming into the team after impressing from the bench last Saturday.
Northfield’s line up included Ashley Tullett leading the team as the skipper and starting at right-back. Matthew Horton was the goalkeeper and Ethan Green and Tyler Stevens played in central defence. The formation looked like a 4-2-3-1 with striker Patrick Behan leading the line and being supported by Nelson Mateus and Kielan Naughton on the wings.
There were three changes from the team that started against Wake Green Amateur last weekend with Tom Allen coming into the team and playing in holding midfield.
The pattern of play throughout the first half resembled a traditional cup match with Hampton looking to break Northfield Town down and the visitors looking to play incisive counter attacking football on the break. The opening ten minutes involved both teams settling into the match and working each other out. Hampton shaded the early stages of the half and took the lead following a mistake at the back from Northfield Town.
The visitors were trying to play it out from the back but were caught on the ball. Ciaran Lawless played an excellent ball to James Mudie who finished well into the bottom left corner to make it 1-0 to Hampton in the 15th minute.
The hosts had further chances to increase their lead and take control of the match near the half hour mark with Ciaran Lawless having a good chance from a corner in the 26th minute. There was an injury to Tyler Stevens on the half hour mark for the visitors who had to go off and leave the pitch.
Northfield made a key tactical change following the injury which helped them grow into the match in the latter stages of the half. Ashley Tullett was moved to central defence with Lewis Brade dropping into right-back. Substitute Joel Harrison came on and played as the main striker, with Patrick Behan playing a bit deeper and playing as the number ten.
This helped the visitors build a bit of momentum for a good 20 minutes of the first half and they managed to find an equaliser in the 32nd minute. Ashley Prince played an excellent ball through to Kielan Naughton who ran off the shoulder of Bradley Hall before finishing well into the bottom right corner.
At the end of the first half, Northfield had a few good chances to take the lead in a key stage of the match. Joel Harrison was causing a lot of trouble for the Hampton defence and made some clever runs. He had a huge chance one on one with Matthew Allely who saved well. Kielan Naughton also got in a good position before shooting wide at the end of the half.
The second half was mainly controlled by Hampton who showed their quality throughout and managed to take control of the match in the last 20 minutes. The opening 15 minutes of the half were a bit cagey with Northfield looking to hold on and catch the hosts on the counter.
It was not quite clicking for the visitors going forward like it did in the first half with Hampton having more sustained periods of pressure, especially in the last half an hour. James Mudie had a good chance for Hampton near the edge of the box on the hour mark but shot wide.
The pressure eventually told, and Hampton took a deserved lead in the 70th minute. Ciaran Lawless got into a good position on the right-hand side of the box, worked the ball well to create an opportunity and finished clinically to make it 2-1 to Hampton.
Hampton never looked back from then on and were gradually getting more confident in front of goal near the end of the match. Substitute Hayden Froggatt scored from a header at the near post to make it 3-1 in the 76th minute and effectively seal the match.
Northfield had a few chances to get back into it with substitute Joel Harrison heading wide from a corner and substitute Ellis Riley rounding the keeper before having a shot that hit the post.
Hampton also had some good chances to increase their lead late on with substitute Delcio Neto having a shot that went over the bar. The match finished moments later with Hampton being worthy winners and progressing to the second round.
Hampton showed their quality throughout this match. They were tested by Northfield at the end of the first half but managed to regroup and take control of the match in the second half.
Jack Slevin really impressed from central defence and made some key headers throughout the match to withstand the Northfield pressure. Ciaran Lawless had an excellent game and was linking up play effectively for the hosts. He works well as the number nine and creates good opportunities to score from.
Jason Albini had an underrated game from left back and managed to make some big clearances from Northfield attacks. The bench also impressed with Delcio Neto and Hayden Froggatt playing well in the second half and creating good opportunities in front of goal.
Despite the defeat, there were plenty of positives from Northfield Town and they performed admirably against higher opposition. Matthew Horton was brilliant in goal and kept the visitors in it with some big saves from corners and set pieces in the first half. Kai Brookes had an underrated game from left back and managed to block the ball well to stop crosses getting into the box.
Overall, it was a positive performance from the visitors as they looked good going forward and defended well from the back. They showed a lot of effort and character to get back into which is a huge plus and should serve them well throughout the season.
Both teams are worth following throughout the season and both are set for interesting seasons from now until the end of April.
FT score: Hampton 3-1 Northfield Town
Man of the Match: Ciaran Lawless
Match report written by Rhys Beardmore for the Midland Football League
Fairfield Villa V Coventrians
Fairfield Villa are growing into the season and getting better with each match. They have picked up four points from four matches in division two with all the points coming in their last two matches. The highlight of the season so far was the home win over Coventry Alvis 4-3 and they managed to draw with an in-form Hampton last weekend. This match comes at the right time for the club and it should be a way of building confidence for the autumn period.
Coventrians have had an understandably tough start to the season in division two following their promotion from division three as league winners’ last season. The club lost key forwards Nathan McGarrity to Nuneaton Griff and Sean Kavanagh to Coventry Copsewood and have struggled for goals so far against tough opposition.
The visitors have also struggled defensively with 13 goals conceded against quality teams including Knowle, Earlswood Town and Redditch Borough. They go into this match as underdogs and would do well to get a result.
Feckenham V Coventry Alvis
Feckenham have started well to life in MFL Division Three and adapted comfortably from competing in the Hellenic League last season. The hosts have picked up seven points from three matches and have had notable wins over Gornal and Birmingham Tigers. The Worcester club have also scored 13 goals in the league so far and could be a difficult opponent for Coventry Alvis on Saturday. Josh Bowen and William Skelton have impressed with three goals for the club.
Coventry Alvis have had a good start to the season under new manager Martin Ascroft and have adapted well with a new look squad. Jagit Aujla has been excellent for Alvis and scored six goals from four matches. Overall, the team have 9 points in the league. They should be going into this match with a bit of confidence as they have played well in division two.
This should be an intriguing match this weekend as both teams are in a good run of form, and it will be interesting to see what happens.
Gornal V Inkberrow
Gornal have started well to life in MFL Division three and do not look out of place in a tough division. They have picked up three points from three matches with the highlight being the home win against Continental Star. They lost to Solihull Sporting and Feckenham away from home with both teams in a good run of form. Habil Darboe has impressed with three goals from three matches. They go into this match with a bit of confidence to get a result and cause an upset.
Inkberrow have had a challenging start to the season following the departure of prolific striker Jay Higgins Pugsley to Birmingham United throughout the summer. The club have lost all four of their matches in division two and conceded 16 goals. There were some positives from the 5-2 loss to Coventry Alvis last weekend with George Thomas and substitute Max Watkins getting on the scoresheet.
This match feels like a big one for the club to build a bit of confidence and get their season under way.
Hampton V Northfield Town
Hampton have had a good start to the season in division two and have played well following a fire at Field Lane prior to the season. They are currently playing at New Mill Lane in Fazeley, Tamworth.
The club have picked up seven points from four matches and go into this match in a good run of form with 11 goals scored in their last three matches. Ciaran Lawless has impressed with six goals in the division so far. The Solihull club finished as runners-up last season in the Les James Challenge Cup and will want to have a good cup run this season.
Northfield Town have had an excellent start to life in MFL Division three and have picked up seven points from three matches. They had an eye-catching result against Wake Green Amateur last weekend where they won 4-1 and the club have scored 9 goals in total.
All of the club’s matches have been away from home and they have impressed in division three. Patrick Behan has continued his good form from playing in the Birmingham District League last season and has four goals.
This match should be exciting as both teams have been prolific going forward and both are in good form.
Knowle V Leamington Hibernian
Knowle have settled into the season and are gradually getting better with each match played. The Solihull club have been steady in division two and picked up seven points from four matches played to be near the top of the table.
It’s been an interesting season for the Robins as they beat both Lane Head and Coventrians, drew with Birmingham United last weekend and surprisingly lost to Alcester Town at home on the opening day. Jay Rendell is the team’s top scorer with three goals for the Robins.
Leamington Hibernian have had a difficult start to the season in division three and have lost both of their opening two matches away to Wake Green Amateur and AFC Birmingham. The club also play at Field Lane and no doubt would have been affected by the fire before the season got underway.
The visitors have been a given a tough draw in the Les James Challenge cup and come up against the defending champions from last season.
Lane Head V Wake Green Amateur
Lane Head have had an ok start to the season in division two and have picked up three points from four matches. The highlight was the home win against Fairfield Villa with Josh Lewis scoring the winner for the club. The club’s losses have admittedly come against tough opposition and included Central Ajax, Knowle and AFC Coventry Rangers.
Lane Head competed admirably on the opening day in a narrow loss to AFC Coventry Rangers away which finished 3-2. This match looks a good opportunity to build some confidence for the club but it’s also one of the more challenging draws of the first round.
Wake Green Amateur have had a really good start to the season in division three. The visitors have won three out of four matches, with the only loss coming to Northfield Town last weekend. Ashley Smith has been brilliant so far with six goals and is the top goal scorer in the division. The team has scored 18 goals in total from their four matches and outside of the loss to Northfield are going into this match with a bit of momentum.
They should be looking to get a result and cause a notable upset against higher opposition this Saturday.
Littleton V Castle Vale Town
Littleton have had a challenging start to life in MFL Division two in a really competitive division this season. The club have picked up one point from four matches played. This involved a notable draw with Redditch Borough which should give the team a bit of confidence for the season ahead.
The Worcester based club will be aiming for a mid-table finish this season and are currently adapting to the division. They hosts have struggled defensively so far with 11 goals conceded from four matches.
Castle Vale Town have started the season well in MFL Division three and go into this match with a bit of momentum.
The visitors have been impressive and picked up seven points from three matches. This includes notable away wins against Meadow Park and Silhill. Jordan McKenzie has continued his excellent form from last season and currently has four goals. In total the team have scored 8 goals from three matches and look good going forward.
The signs are really encouraging for the club to cause an upset against higher tier opposition this Saturday as they are playing well and have a prolific striker to cause Littleton some problems.
Meadow Park V Birmingham United
Meadow Park have had a fine start to the season in MFL Division three and have picked up three points from three matches. The highlight was an impressive win over BNJS where they won 4-0. Daniel Lowe has impressed so far for the Worcester Club and has three goals.
They go into this match as underdogs and it’s a good opportunity for the squad to test themselves against higher opposition who are fancied to be competing near the top of division two this season.
Birmingham United have made an Ok start to the season in division two and have picked up five points from a tough run of matches. They beat Inkberrow at the Trico Stadium on the opening day 2-0 and have recorded some notable draws against Central Ajax and Knowle away from home so far.
New signing Jay Higgins Pugsley got on the scoresheet against Central Ajax which is a huge positive. The visitors will be looking to build a run of form going into September and will be the favourites going into this match.
Preview feature written by Rhys Beardmore for the Midland Football League
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