Midland Football League Newsletter
6th April 2016
Droitwich Spa FC are delighted to announce our plans for 2016/17 season -provided promotion is attained.
A ground-share deal with Bromyard Town FC (of the West Midland League Premier Division) has been agreed. We would like to thank Richard Greenall, Tony Haverfield and everyone connected with Bromyard Town FC for their help, support and understanding of our situation, needs and requirements.
Delahay Meadow boasts a plush main stand with over 100 along with further covered accommodation on the opposite side. Floodlights are also present along with an impressive clubhouse and changing room complex, food bar and turnstiles for supporters. For more information on Bromyard Town FC, you can visit their website:
In more exciting news, coupled with the ground-share, the club have also applied to enter the FA Vase for the first time in our history – again dependent on the final league position. This is a huge step forward for the club and is likely to be an excellent experience for all involved. The move is a necessity to enable us to gain promotion and compete in the FA Vase as our current facilities do not meet ground grading criteria. This would hopefully be a short-term move while the necessary work is done to our current home at King George's to bring it up to the standard required in Division 1 and above.
More details on these developments will be unveiled as the season draws to a close.
TIPTON TOWN FC UNDER 21s
Are looking for a new manager/coach for next season, we are already an established team playing in the MFL and are looking for a new Manager/Coach due to our existing management team moving to our first team coaching staff.
If anyone is interested please contact Ian Guy on 07759551092 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Boldmere St Michaels have today been granted planning permission to install a 3G surface at the Trevor Brown Memorial Ground.
The club has today been delivered a massive boost with the momentous news that our application to install a state of the art FIFA Approved artificial playing surface has been approved by Birmingham City Council. Not only will the main pitch be replaced, but the development will include two floodlit 5-a-side courts, providing training facilities for the club's junior sides and the local community.
The installation will require the famous Trevor Brown Memorial Ground slope to be levelled and includes brand new pitch surrounds, netting, fencing and bicycle storage. Disabled access and movement will be greatly enhanced. The pitch will be installed for the start of next season, with work starting in early May.
The March Team of the Month awards are:
Overall - Hereford
Division 1 - Bolehall Swifts
Division 2 - Paget Rangers
Division 3 - Redditch Borough
Reserve Division - Cadbury Athletic
Under 21 Division - Heath Hayes C
Congratulations to those clubs
Travels of the Press Officer
Thursday 31st March
Sporting Khalsa 4 Coventry Sphinx 1
An important game at both ends of the table with Sporting Khalsa attempting to put pressure on Alvechurch and Hereford at the top and Coventry Sphinx battling with Bardon Hill to avoid the drop. The home side started off with purpose and took the lead in the 2nd minute with Lee Wherton firing home a loose ball. The goal certainly rocked Sphinx and Khalsa piled on the pressure with Matt Gardner and Craig Bannister off target. Marvin Nesbitt was next to try his luck but his effort was weak leaving an easy save for Ash Mahotra. Sphinx first foray forward saw Robbie Banks try from a distance but it was a comfortable save for Mihai Gherasim. Sphinx had now established a foothold and Jean Dakouri had a shot saved. Mitch Thomson was just off target but Sphinx should have been level in the 23rd minute. A corner from their left was met by Same Delaney at the far post but he planted his free header against the post. The visitors were made to pay in spectacular style in the 31st minute. Khalsa were awarded a free-kick just outside the area. Leading scorer Bannister, picked his spot and curled a superb free-kick into the far corner past the stranded Mahotra. Three minutes later and Bannister made it three. With defenders all around him, he did enough to create a small opening and curled another shot into exactly the same part of the net.
The visitors started the second half better and Delaney forced a save from Gherasim with another far post header. Sphinx were back in the game through the individual skill of Thomson in the 55th minute. He picked up the ball, beat two defenders and supplied the perfect finish to give his side hope, An excellent run by Garfield Robinson ended with his cross being saved. Banks then had a shot on target before a free-kick from Faisal Koriya just lacked the final touch in the area. Robinson wasted a good chance in the 78th minute hitting his shot at Ghereasim. With time running out, Khalsa grabbed a fourth. A Matt NMarting corner was flicked on by David Meese at the near post and Brad Lawley supplied the finish , heading in unopposed at the back post. There was still time for Dakouri to force another save from Gherasim but it was the league’s third-placed team that took the points.
A 4-1 scoreline was harsh on Sphinx as they had plenty of the play but couldn’t find the finish. Khalsa weren’t at their fluent best but two pieces of sublime quality from Bannister took the game away from Sphinx. With two games against Alvechurch and a home game against Hereford, there is till a lot to play for. As for Sphinx, next week’s game at Bardon Hill is starting to look pivotal.
Saturday 2nd April
Enville Athletic 0 Leamington Hibernian 3
A game from the top and bottom of Division 3 as leaders Leamington Hibernian travel to Hall Drive to face lowly Enville Athletic. The morning brings yet more rain with cancellations in both the premier Division and Division 1. Thankfully, there is no problem in Division 3 and a gloriously sunny afternoon heralds my first trip to Enville Athletic. This is one of the most picturesque venues you will see sitting in the grounds of Enville Hall – no better backdrop in the MFL. My previous visit to Hall Drive was in the summer many, many moons ago when I played cricket here. To the football and Leamington have opened up a 7 point lead at the top of the table with very few fixtures falling foul of the weather. The home side have had a mixed season and currently sit 14th out of 16 teams. If you weren’t aware of the relative positions, as an observer of the first quarter of an hour, you may have though that Enville were the higher placed side. In the 7th minute, the ball was played into the path of Steve Stern and his shot was tipped around the post by Hibs keeper Jake Hills. Stern had another decent effort in the 14th minute which Hills had to stretch to save. With their first real attempt, Leamington took the lead in the 23rd minute. As they were to do all afternoon, the visitors broke quickly and, when the ball reached Luke Swinnerton, his finish was clinical. Enville went close to an equaliser just before the break but the header from a free-kick flashed wide.
Leamington doubled their lead in the 52nd minute and it was all Enville’s own undoing. A poor pass at the back went straight to the feet of Joe Wright. His shot beat Rheece Dawes but rebounded off the post into the path of Jon Byrne, who made no mistake. It was now all Leamington, and Dawes did well to turn away a header from one of his own defenders, Dan Williams. Swinnerton went close to a 3rd but his shot was just off target. Leamington grabbed a third in the 59th minute. Enville should have scored but the final shot was blocked and away came Leamington , the ball was played into Swinnerton and his shot went in off the post. The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 66th minute when Ian Pollock was shown a straight red card, presumably for something he said. Enville wasted a good chance a minute later, Delano Webley’s shot off target with the keeper stranded. The home side almost gifted Leamington a 4th when Swinnerton shot from 35 yards, Dawes flapping at it and almost letting it slip from his grasp. Enville continued to work hard and the impressive Webley crossed low only for the referee to award a free-kick to Leamington for handball. Tom Bew was just off target with a header as Enville searched for a consolation goal and in the final minute, Hills again kept the home side out.
There was little to choose between the two sides but the extra quality and finishing were with Leamington. Leamington look a very good side going forward and this ability could well land them the title. Enville have some talent in their side and, with better finishing, could have got something out of the game. Thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Hall Drive – I recommend a visit.
Tuesday, April 5th
Brocton 2 Dunkirk 4
With an early start for business on Wednesday morning, a local game is the requirement and none better on a lovely spring evening than a trip to Silkmore Lane. Home side Brocton have been on a great run of late while visitors Dunkirk are desperate for points near the foot of the table. Still smarting from their stoppage-time defeat at home to Hereford, Dunkirk started the game with a point to prove. Chris Spencer was the first to have an effort on goal but his effort was just off target while Mark Smith gave a comfortable save to Callum Barrett. With their first attempt on goal, Brocton hit the woodwork through Sean Kinsella. Midway through the first half, Ben Gathercole made an excellent save for Dunkirk keeping out Matt Dean’s shot on the turn. Dunkirk grabbed the lead in the 33rd minute. A cross was whipped in from the left and Ed Booth, the Brocton centre back, supplied an excellent finish – unfortunately into his own net. Spencer went close to doubling Dunkirk’s lead but Barrett made the save. Brocton were level in the 38th minute. Jack Edwards played the ball into the path of Paul McMahon who curled his shot into the top corner.
Dunkirk went close again at the start of the second half. A quick break from defence finished with Spencer forcing Barrett into a save. Spencer then hit the side netting as Dunkirk continued to impress. On the hour mark, Josh Wilson burst into the area forcing a save from Gathercole and McMahon appeared to be tripped when going for the rebound although the appeals were not that vociferous. Brocton took the lead a minute later. Edwards brought the ball down, controlled swivelled and volleyed the ball past Gathercole and into the net. A goal that would grace any game anywhere in the world. Dunkirk were soon on level terms, a goal of high quality from Andy Hutchinson, beating Barrett from 20 yards. Within 3 minutes, Dunkirk were in the lead – another excellent break with Spencer supplying the finish. Brocton were shell shocked and it got worse for the Badgers in the 72ns minute when Hutchinson stabbed the ball home following a defensive mistake. Edwards missed a late chance for Brocton and Whitt could have made it 5 for Dunkirk but his shot was saved by Barrett.
An impressive performance by Dunkirk who thoroughly deserved their win. It may be too little too late but a few more performances like this one and the great escape could be on. As for Brocton, too many defensive mistakes on the night cost them. They know they cannot defend like that on Saturday at Edgar Street.
On Thursday night, Hereford closed the gap at the top to just two points with a 4-0 win at Long Eaton United. John Mills got back into the scoring groove with a couple and notched the Bulls 100th league goal of the campaign. Sporting Khalsa are ever closer in third place and they added to Coventry Sphinx relegation worries with a 4-1 win at the Aspray Arena. Leading scorer Craig Bannister bagged two more to keep up with John Mills in the scoring stakes. Walsall Wood and Rocester battled to a point apiece in a 1-1 draw at Oak Park.
Hereford left it very late to gain all 3 points at Dunkirk on Saturday. 5 minutes into stoppage time, Mike Symons grabbed the vital goal to give Hereford a 3-2 victory which was hard on relegation-threatened Dunkirk. Jordan Nadat scored twice as Alvechurch maintained their 2 point lead at the top with a 3-0 win at Coventry Sphinx. Sean Butler saved a Craig Bannister penalty in the first half meaning Sporting Khalsa dropped two points in their bid to gatecrash the top two. The game at Boldmere St Michaels ended goalless. There were goals aplenty elsewhere with Lye Town leading the way beating Highgate United 7-3 at Stourbridge Road. Ryan Rowe helped himself to a hat-trick with Dreniz Bala scoring twice. Coleshill Town were another side to slam in the goals as they beat Long Eaton United 6-0 at Pack Meadow, Mykel Beckley with a couple. Continental Star’s relegation was all but confirmed as they went down 4-1 at AFC Wulfrunians at Dales Lane. A red card for Jack Green didn’t hep Bardon Hill’s cause and two late Stourport Swifts goals sealed a 4-1 win for the home side. Westfields and Heanor Town shared 6 goals and had a player each dismissed in a thriller at Allpay Park. James Baldwin scored twice for Westfields with Matt Harris following suit for The Lions. A 3-1 for Quorn at Loughborough University, thanks to a Jacob Leaver brace, almost certainly means they will be playing Premier Division football next season.
Alvechurch maintained their 2 point lead at the top with a 2-0 win at Highgate United, both goals coming in the last 10 minutes. Hereford earned all 3 points with a 2-1 win at Edgar Street against Walsall Wood, Pablo Haysham with the winner. Sporting Khalsa are still in the hunt with a 3-1 win at 4th placed Shepshed Dynamo, David Meese with a brace. Dunkirk gained a much-needed win at the bottom of the table, coming from behind to beat Brocton 4-2 at Silkmore Lane with a couple of goals for Andy Hutchinson. Late goals were the order of the day at Hillsfield where Rocester equalised in stoppage time only for Long Eaton United to grab a late winner – the game ending 2-1. In the battle between the sides in 19th and 20th, Coventry Sphinx eased their relegation worries with a remarkable 5-1 win at Bardon Hill. Lewis Rankin with three and Garfield Robinson with two turned a half-time deficit to open up a five point gap between the two sides. Continental Star’s relegation was confirmed as they went down XXX at home to Coleshill Town, for whom Mykel Beckley scored twice. Lye Town’s improved form continued with an impressive 3-0 win at Heanor Town.
A vital win on Thursday night for bottom club Southam United who beat Atherstone Town 2-0 with a couple of goals from Jordan Featherstone. Pelsall Villa stay out of the drop zone on goal difference following a 3-0 defeat at Studley with all the goals coming from Daniel Byford.
With the games involving Bromsgrove Sporting and Coventry United lost to the overnight rain. The focus was on the bottom of the table and a meeting between the two teams in the relegation zone. In the end, Heather St Johns moved up to 16th place with a 5-0 win over Southam United. There were doubles for Ahkeem Rose and Kyle Bishop as the victory moves Heather 3 points away from the drop zone. Heath Hayes good form continues with a 2-1 home win over Atherstone Town. A late goal from Matty Stenson gave Leicester Road all 3 points in a 1-0 win at Littleton. It was the same scoreline at Racing Club Warwick with Robbie Bunn getting the all important goal for Studley. Coventry Copsewood are 10th following a 2-1 win at Allard Way against Cadbury Athletic with both goals for Copsewood coming from Michael Healy.
Bromsgrove Sporting opened up a 5 point gap at the top with a 3-1 win at Hinckley AFC. Two goals from Jozsef Jakab sent the Rouslers on their way. At the bottom, Southam United were beaten 2-0 at Banbury Road by Lichfield City. Leicester Road stay 4th after being held 1-1 at Coventry Copsewood. It was the same scoreline at Townsend Meadow where Racing Club Warwick came from behind to draw with Heath Hayes. A goal from Nathan Lewers gave Atherstone Town all 3 points at home to Cadbury Athletic. Bolehall Swifts are now up to 16th following a 3-0 win at Littleton.
On Thursday evening, Alvis Sporting Club closed the gap between them and the leaders to just 4 points with a 4-0 win over bottom club Earlswood Town. Shane Brassington scored twice to keep Alvis’ run going of only dropping two points all season.
With the top sides all in cup action, attention switch to the bottom and it was an excellent day for the bottom two. Bottom club Earlswood Town picked up their second win of the season, 1-0 over Coton Green. Second bottom Feckenham were also victorious, 2-1 away at Barnt Green Spartak and they are now just a point behind Hampton with 4 games in hand. Two goals from Mark Bellingham gave Paget Rangers a 2-2 draw at Fairfield Villa.
On Tuesday, Alvis Sporting Club closed the gap to just one point at the top with a 5-2 win at home against Feckenham. Shane Brassington scored twice in Alvis’ 14th win out of 15 league games.
Two goals from Luke Swinnerton helped leaders Leamington Hibernian on the way to a 3-0 win at Enville Athletic. 2nd placed Redditch Borough kept the gap to 7 points with a 3-0 win at Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons. Alcester Town are up to 4th overtaking visitors FC Stratford following a 3-0 victory. After their cup heroics of last week, Barton United got back in the groove in the league with a 4-1 win over Badsey Rangers, Peter Martin with a hat-trick. The game between the bottom two ended with honours even as Perrywood drew 1-1 with AFC Solihull. Shipston Excelsior made it 6 wins out of 6 with a 2-0 success at Burntwood Town. At Holbrooks Park, Coventrians were defeated 3-2 by mid-table Inkberrow, Jeaven James getting a couple for the visitors.
Redditch Borough closed the gap at the top to four points and dented Smithswood Firs chances with a 3-0 win at The Valley., Jak Albutt adding another two to his impressive season tally.
The president’s Cup Final will be between Alvis Sporting Club and Droitwich Spa after this week’s semi-finals. Alvis needed extra time to get past Hampton with the game goalless at 90 minutes. Three unanswered goals, two from Shane Brassington and one from Dildale Linton sent Alvis marching on. James Lemon scored twice as Droitwich Spa beat Chelmsley Town 3-1 at The Pavilion.
Redditch Borough will meet Northfield Town in the Challenge Vase final after Northfield beat in-form Smithswood Firs 4-0 at The Mackadown Stadium.
Pilkington XXX and Paget Rangers were involved in a topsy-turvy Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup tie which ended all square at 2-2. Pilks went through winning 6-5 in the penalty shootout. Chelmsley Town made their higher ranking count as they made progress in the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup with a 3-0 win at FC Stratford.
Coventry United 1 Continental Star 4
Lichfield City 0 Solihull Moors 4
Sutton united 3 Rocester 2
Evesham United 2 Cadbury Athletic 1
Solihull Moors 3 Coventry United 0
Joel Mills Hereford 46
Craig Bannister Sporting Khalsa 42
Lei Brown Highgate United 29
Jamie Cuss Westfields 27
Jordan Nadat Alvechurch 27
Karl Edwards Alvechurch 26
Tony Clarke Lichfield City 36
Luke Shorthouse Nuneaton Griff 36
Josh O’Grady Coventry United 26
Luke Richards Hinckley AFC 26
Chris Lloyd Chelmsley Town 39
James Lemon Droitwich Spa 38
Mark Bellingham Paget Rangers 31
Dildale Linton Alvis Sporting Club 24
Matt Layton Alcester Town 31
Jak Albutt Redditch Borough 30
Peter Martin Barton United 30
Ashley Wilkes FC Stratford 23
Thursday night sees the re-arranged game between the top two, Alvechurch and Hereford at Lye Meadow. The fact that it is a Thursday evening hasn’t reduced the interest any and a full house of 1500 is anticipated. While the result will not decide the title, a win for either could be crucial at this stage of the season. Highgate United are aiming for a top 6 finish and they travel to Walshes Meadow to face mid-table Stourport Swifts.
On Saturday, the top two have home fixtures and will expect to pick up three points. Alvechurch welcome Long Eaton United to Lye Meadow with the visitors on a poor run of form. Hereford welcome Brocton to Edgar Street with the Badgers unbeaten in their last 5 away games. 3rd placed Sporting Khalsa have had an excellent first season at Step 5 and they will want to ensure that they finish no lower than 3rd place. They welcome Quorn to the Aspray Arena with the visitors still needing points to be mathematically safe from the drop. There is an attractive looking game at the Dovecote with Coleshill Town visiting Shepshed Dynamo. Shepshed won the reverse fixture 3-1 at Pack Meadow so expect goals in this one. Another side striving for a top 6 finish are Heanor Town and they welcome bottom club Continental Star to the Town Ground. With Heanor needing a win, I can’t see anything other than a big home win. The battle to avoid the drop gets more and more intense as we enter the final weeks of the season. Dunkirk are in need of a run of victories if they are to give themselves a chance of finishing outside the bottom three. They travel to Stourport Swifts with home side comfortable in the middle of the pack. Bardon Hill are in a battle with Coventry Sphinx and they have a 2nd home game in three days against Westfields. The sides drew 1-1 earlier in the season at Allpay Park but a point won’t really be enough this time round for the home side. Highgate United play their 4th game of the week when they welcome Boldmere St Michaels to The Coppice. With games in hand, a top 6 finish is still within their grasp. Walsall Wood have had another good MFL season and they travel to Rocester 9 days after the two sides drew 1-1 at Oak Park. Lye Town have won 7 out of their last 8 league games which has moved them up to 9th in the table and they travel to 10th placed AFC Wulfrunians for what promises to be a good open game.
A huge game at the top of the table on Thursday night takes place at Sphinx Drive with 3rd placed Coventry United hosting 2nd placed Nuneaton Griff. Coventry have games in hand but a busy schedule of 11 games in 23 days may take its toll. Griff have a decent run-in and the three-way battle for the top spot is likely to go all the way to the last game of the season.
The top three all have winnable home games on Saturday. Bromsgrove Sporting welcome Coventry Copsewood to The Victoria Ground, Sporting winning the reverse fixture 4-1 back in January. Nuneaton Griff entertain Lichfield City with the visitors slipping down the table in recent weeks. Coventry United welcome relegation threatened Pelsall Villa to Sphinx Drive, four days after having the reverse fixture called off due to a waterlogged pitch . Pelsall are without a win since November and they will do well to halt this run this week. At the bottom, Southam United are clinging on to their Division 1 place with their fingernails and a home win against Hinckley AFC is vital if they are to avoid the drop. Stafford Town have been in and around the relegation zone all season and they too are desperate for points if they are to avoid finishing in the bottom two. They face the long journey to Pershore Town who are 7 points above them in relative safety. The form side of the division are Bolehall Swifts and a run of 8 unbeaten games has moved them away from the bottom of the table. A couple more wins should be enough and they meet Littleton at Rene Road, a repeat of the midweek fixture. Leicester Road have impressed a lot of people this season and they will be looking for all 3 points when they host Cadbury Athletic. Heath Hayes have been in great form since February and will be one to look out for next season. They travel to the Beehive to face Studley with a top 6 finish on the cards. Racing Club Warwick are another side who have seen an upturn in form. They travel to Pilkington XXX, a repeat of the opening game of the season when it ended goalless.
On Thursday evening, Alvis Sporting Club could go top if they can beat Sutton United at Green Lane.
No doubting the big game on Saturday, as two of the promotion chasers meet at The Pavilion. Chelmsley Town have only tasted defeat once in the league while visitors Alvis Sporting Club remain unbeaten. Something has to give and this promises to be a cracker. Droitwich Spa are still in the promotion mix, with games to come against the top two, and they will be keeping a keen eye on matters involving the top two. They travel to Knowle knowing that three points are essential if they are to stay in the hunt. Three consecutive defeats has almost certainly put an end to Rostance Edwards’ chances of promotion. They will want to finish in the top four and face a tough task this week as they travel to Paget Rangers who have gone 9 league games unbeaten. Down at the bottom, Earlswood Town won for only the second time this season last week and will be hoping for win number three when they host Fairfield Villa. 2nd bottom Feckenham also won last Saturday and should they beat Sutton United at The Entaco this weekend, they could climb out of the bottom two. Hampton are the side in danger of slipping into the drop zone so they need to pick up points away to Coton Green. 10th meets 9th at Austrey Fields with Austrey Rangers entertaining Barnt Green Spartak. Austrey won the reverse fixture 2-1 just before Christmas and this one will be just as tight.
A few weeks ago, it was a seven-way race for promotion. It now looks a three-way battle as results have gone the way of the top three. Leamington Hibernian have won 7 of their last 8 and have hit form at just the right time. They travel to Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons who they beat 6-1 in the reverse fixture. With Redditch Borough not in action, Smithswood Firs can close the gap with a win at 2nd bottom Perrywood. When the two sides met on the opening day of the season, the game ended in a 5-1 win for Firs. There is an attractive game in store between two of the top 6 with Barton United welcoming Alcester Town to Holland Sports Club. Realistically, both sides need to win all of their remaining games and hope the top three slip up if they are to sneak into the promotion places. Likewise, FC Stratford need to win all of their remaining games if they are to get close to the top two starting this week at Coventrians. At the bottom, 14th meets 16th at Hall Drive with Enville Athletic entertaining AFC Solihull. Northfield Town in 8th could still sneak a top two spot providing they win their remaining games. It won’t be easy this week as 7th placed Shipston Excelsior, on the back of 6 wins, are the visitors. Finally, there is a mid-table clash in Worcestershire between Inkberrow and Burntwood Town.
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