Smethwick Rangers were looking to continue their recent good run of form against Chelmsley Town at Castle Vale Stadium last night. The hosts have gradually grown into the season following the 7-0 opening day loss to Sutton United at Coleshill Road. They have had a string of notable results over the past week and beat Stapenhill at home and Coton Green away.
Chelmsley Town were going into the match in a brilliant run of form, beating Stapenhill and Heather St John’s at home last week. The visitors had won three out of their five league games going into last night’s match. The club have made Pack Meadow something of a fortress so far this season with three wins from four matches. Steve Soloman is doing an excellent job in charge of the club this season and key players from last season such as Aidan Doherty have stayed.
The conditions prior to kick off were mostly clear with a bit of overcast. The atmosphere was mostly relaxed and optimistic with both sets of supporters looking forward to the match. The set-up was humble and welcoming around the club and both teams finished their warmups early. There was a notable contingent of Chelmsley supporters who made the effort to travel and get behind the team which was commendable for a Monday night.
The starting line-up for Smethwick involved Callum Lee leading the team as the skipper and playing in central defence alongside Helio Santos. Noah Young started in goal with the full backs being Jake Wilkes at right-back and Brad Pugh at left-back.
The formation appeared to be a 4-3-3 with Jahmaal McIntosh-McMahon leading the line as the number nine and being supported on the wings by Callum Nevey and Bassit Mandey. There were two changes to the team from the starting line up that played against Stapenhill at the weekend with Moussa Koita coming in and starting in midfield.
Chelmsley Town’s starting line up featured Tom Allsopp starting in goal for the visitors. Aidan Doherty was the skipper for the team and played at left-back with Tom Hackett and Corey Soloman playing in central defence.
The formation appeared to be a 4-3-3 with a front two of Luke Garner and Adam Woods being supported by Kaine Williams as the number ten. There were two changes to the team from the starting line up that played against Heather St John’s at the weekend with Danny Brain coming into the staring line-up and playing at right-back.
The match had a frantic start with both teams having chances to open the scoring within the first ten minutes. Bassit Mandey made a great run for Smethwick down the left and got off a shot that was well saved by Thomas Allsopp in the 4th minute. Adams Woods had a good chance for Chelmsley moments later that was well blocked by Brad Pugh.
The match settled down for the next 15 minutes before Chelmsley managed to take the lead. Kaine Williams played an excellent through ball that was missed by Noah Young and fell to Luke Garner. He calmly finished into an open net to make it 1-0 to Chelmsley Town in the 23rd minute.
Chelmsley had a chance to extend their lead in the 32nd minute with Joe Summers linking up well with Adam Woods who had a shot go wide of the near post. Smethwick responded through Moussa Koita playing an excellent ball in the box to Jahmaal McIntosh-McMahon who shot wide a few minutes later.
Moussa Koita stood out for Smethwick from midfield and tried to make things happen for the hosts. He had a brilliant shot that was well saved by Tom Allsopp in the 36th minute. The first half was quite evenly matched with both teams having chances and was a fairly open match with no team dominating.
The second half started with Chelmsley looking to extend their lead and take control of the match. Kaine Williams had a great chance early in the half which went wide. Smethwick had a few notable chances as well.
Jahmaal McIntosh-McMahon played off the shoulder of the last Chelmsley defender and made a brilliant run towards goal before having a shot well saved by Tom Allsopp in the 53rd minute. Leon Toupou also had a good chance for Smethwick from the edge of the box that went wide in the 57th minute. Chelmsley created a good chance on the hour mark with Aidan Doherty linking up well with Luke Garner before the latter had a header that went over the bar.
As the half went on the chances dried up and it set up a nervy finish with Chelmsley looking to hold on and get the three points away from home. The visitors did an excellent job off the ball to limit the chances for Smethwick for a 20-minute spell and it was not until the last ten minutes that the hosts had notable chances to equalise. The best chance fell to substitute Jamie Biddle who got into a good position from a corner and had a shot that went narrowly over the bar in the 85th minute.
Chelmsley were excellent defensively and battled well throughout the second half to withstand a lot of Smethwick pressure and get the win. There was a lot of effort from Smethwick, and they will feel hard done by to not get anything out of the match, but the result was testament to how well organised Chelmsley were off the ball. The full-time score finished Smethwick Rangers 0-1 Chelmsley Town.
Smethwick played well throughout and gradually grew into the match. Daniel Lee has done an underrated job as their new manager and the link-up with Boldmere St Michaels Under 21s will serve the club well in the long run. The team showed a lot of energy and and worked the ball well into the box.
Helio Santos played well at the back and made crucial blocks and tackles in key moments. He also distributed the ball effectively from the back to start attacks. Jake Wilkes stood out at right-back and looked solid defensively. He constantly made interceptions and stopped promising Chelmsley attacks throughout the match.
Chelmsley played well and it was a real team effort to get the win from the visitors. Tom Allsopp was excellent in goal and made a string of key saves throughout the match. He’s also a good leader and gave useful instructions to the team throughout the second half to see them through the match.
Tom Hackett had an underrated game and managed to make some crucial blocks and clearances for the visitors. Adam Woods also had a positive game on the left and was trying to make things happen for the visitors and ran at defenders.
The team has a lot of character and battles for results which will serve them well throughout the season.
Both teams look set for exciting seasons and are worth following from August to the end of April.
FT score: Smethwick Rangers 0-1 Chelmsley Town
Man of the Match: Tom Allsopp
Match report written by Rhys Beardmore for the Midland Football League
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