Midland Football League Newsletter
9th March 2016
LONG EATON UNITED ANNOUNCE NEW MANAGERIAL APPOINTMENT
Long Eaton United Football Club are delighted to announce the appointment of Gary Sucharewycz and Ian Robinson as their new managerial duo for next season. Gary and Ian have considerable experience of both managing and playing in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League with Grantham Town, Rainworth, Hucknall Town and Loughborough Dynamo. Shaun Rickford will continue as acting manager until the end of the season which will allow Gary and Ian time to prepare for the new season which will be the start of an exciting and ambitious period for the club.
Chairman Jim Fairley advised “We are delighted to welcome Gary and Ian on board. As a Club we have been progressing our off field plans and now have a Stadium and Infrastructure set for the Evo-Stik level - with those plans advanced, we were clear we wanted a management team with access to players to progress to that level and who also share our long term aims and ambitions for this Football Club. We are confident that Gary, Ian and the management team they bring with them will generate some real excitement at Grange Park next season”. Jim added “We would like to go on record in thanking Shaun and his management team who have been a credit to themselves and the Club. Shaun will continue until the end of this season, supported by Gary and Ian where possible, and will always have a role to play at the Club”.
Long Eaton United continue to work with Sport England and the Football Foundation in developing Grange Park with a further phase of work planned over the close season.
BROCTON held a sportsman's dinner at the White Eagle Club in Riverway with former Liverpool and England full back Alan Kennedy as the guest speaker. Kennedy was the first man to score the winning goal in two European Cup finals, following up his strike against Real Madrid in Paris in 1981 with the 1984 winner in a penalty shootout against Roma at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.
He told guests of a playing career that spanned 22 years and saw him make over 500 appearances, beginning at Newcastle United before Bill McGarry sold him Liverpool for £330,000, where he collected five league championships four League Cups and those two European Cups. After Liverpool, he moved to hometown club Sunderland, and while some players choose to quit at the top it was clear from the way he spoke of the game that Kennedy simply loved playing and from Sunderland he moved on to Wigan Athletic, then Hartlepool United and Wrexham before finally ending his professional career at non-league Barrow.
The evening raised £1,250 for local charities as well as raising funds towards Brocton's running costs. The Badgers were supported by Premier League sponsors Barclays, who match-funded monies raised by Peter Russell and Eddie Wright to a total of £1,750.
Hereford Chairman Jon Hale has been speaking ahead of the Bulls FA Vase Semi-Final against Salisbury FC.
“What an absolutely phenomenal achievement to sell out of our home tickets for the FA Vase semi-final in just 6 days. Over 4,000 tickets in total. Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in selling tickets and manning the club shop last week whilst tickets were being sold. Hereford FC has an extremely dedicated team of staff and volunteers who go way beyond the call of duty time after time to ensure that supporters are looked after. Whether it is to inform of ticket arrangements, take online orders or be in place to receive orders at the ground, they put the supporters first. The amount of work that goes on behind the scenes for such games is really astonishing, so to see such a reaction from our incredible fans is extremely satisfying for all of those people.
Furthermore, a huge thank you to our supporters. The support and togetherness this season has been humbling. As each game has come along our fans have turned out in great numbers and for this momentous occasion we will be sold out in all home areas of Edgar Street. What better way to give the players the maximum backing we can. It is testament to the appetite within the supporter base that this game is widely deemed a ‘must-see’ game and I can only imagine the noise we will make in the first leg. I’m sure the same can be said for the away leg a week later. The club shop – which will open at 12 midday on the day of the game – is well stocked up ahead of the 1st Leg, so get along early on the day to buy your scarves, jester hats, wigs and merchandise to show your colours and make the atmosphere even more special. The two games against Salisbury can’t come soon enough I’m sure you will agree. Thanks again to staff, volunteers and supporters for making Hereford FC what it is”
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday 6th March
Brocton 0 Alvechurch 2
With only one point splitting the top two in the Premier Division, I head to Brocton for what promises to be a tough encounter for 2nd placed Alvechurch. The Badgers started the season slowly but have had a decent run of late and sit comfortably 17 points clear of the relegation zone at kick-off. Alvechurch could have gone top in midweek but a missed penalty from Nick Wright meant that they were still chasing Hereford. One surprise in the team sheet saw Brocton record goalscorer, Gary Fife lining up in the heart of the Badgers defence. The game commenced at a decent tempo with neither side establishing ay control. Jordan Nadat was the first to have an attempt on goal for Church but his header was easy for Callum Barrett. Andrew Parsons was off target for the visitors as they began to create the better openings. A shot from Wright was well gathered by Barrett and Jack Cresswell was unlucky with a shot that flew over the bar. Barrett had to react quickly, racing off his line to hack the ball away from Wright as the striker raced through on goal. Brocton’s first chance came courtesy of a Sean Kinsella free-kick which was deflected off the wall for a corner. From the corner, Dan Lomas’ header was over the bar. A nice move from the visitors saw Zack Foster’s shot blocked and Creswell’s follow up saved. Brocton went close to grabbing the lead 5 minutes before the interval. A mistake at the back by Mark Smith let in Matt Dean but Parsons saved his defensive partner blocking the shot on the line. In stoppage time, Connor Deards hit a superb shot from 25 yards only to see it rebound off the post. A minute later, Deards thought he had broke the deadlock but his deflected shot was cleared off the line by Dave Ablewhite.
Brocton should have taken the lead two minutes into the second half when Church failed to deal with a corner but Fife put his shot from inside the 6-yard box, over the bar. Church responded immediately but Nadat’s run and shot was blocked by Kenny Devoir. Lomas was just off target with a left footed shot for Brocton but the pressure began to mount on the Badgers’ goal. A back pass from Devoir was short for Barrett but the keeper beat Nadat in a 50/50 challenge. The introduction of Karl Edwards had an immediate impact for Alvechurch and Nadat should have done better after the dub had laid the ball perfectly in his path. In the 65th minute, Alvechurch came might close to opening the scoring. A shot from Wright was well saved by Barrett. The rebound fell to Josh March whose shot rattled the crossbar. The ball fell at the far post where Edwards shot hit the outside of the post and Brocton escaped. Brocton were still a threat on the break with Lomas firing just over and Dean forcing Matt Sargeant to make a last ditch challenge. Smith headed a corner wide when he really should have hit the target. With the game entering stoppage time, it was substitute Edwards who sent the Church fans wild, beating Barret to the ball and heading a high hanging cross from Chris Field into the net. Three minutes later, a long throw from the left was headed on by Nadat, and Edwards applied the coup de grace with a volley past Barrett. A hard earned three points for the visitors but their staying power was very much in evidence. The introduction of March and Edwards made a big impact and the use of the entire squad will be crucial as they go head to head with Hereford for the title.
Tuesday 8th March
Sporting Khalsa 2 Lye Town 3
After witnessing Walsall Wood’s passage to the semis last week, a chance to see who they will meet as the league cup rolled into the Aspray Arena. In the early stages, it was clear that the referee intended to let as much go as possible as physical challenges were the norm. It was refreshing to see players challenge each other in the air without the constant whistle for an infringement. Khalsa had the first chance but David Meese slipped as he was taking his shot. Three Lye players beat the offside trap, allegedly, but Scott Gennard wasted the opportunity with a poor delivery. An excellent break down the left by Matthew Martin set up Khalsa leading scorer Craig Bannister but he missed his kick. Khalsa took the lead in the 17th minute. A free-kick from Tim Jackson reaching Marvin Nisbett at the far post and he did well to finish through a crowded box. Dreniz Bala went close with a header for Lye and Martin forced a save from Jake Bedford with a 25 yard volley. Khalsa doubled their lead in the 27th minute, Martin finishing off an excellent cross from Meese. Khalsa were cruising at this stage but Lye grabbed a foothold in the 37th minute when James Spray controlled a shot past James Pemberton after a good move down the Lye left. The game turned in the 40th minute. Tes Robinson was brought down in the middle of the park but his reaction of a swinging right arm in retaliation ended with the inevitable red card and Khalsa had to play for 50 minutes with 10 men.
The home side re-organised at the break with Brad Lawley replacing Simeon Townsend but inside a minute Lye were level, another excellent finish from Gennard. Khalsa were indebted to a fantastic double save from Pemberton thwarting both Bala and Kallum Evitts when it looked certain Lye would score. Nisbett wasted a decent chance for the home side when put through down the middle, he took it too wide and finished with a weak shot. A lovely ball into the box by Bannister fell at the feet of Meese but he couldn’t control the ball and it ran to safety. Lye took the lead in the 62nd minute. An in swinging free-kick from Evitts evaded everyone and found its way into the far corner. Lye almost gifted Khalsa an equaliser as the ball skimmed off the head of a defender and went agonisingly wide. Bannister missed a good chance for Khalsa but the final word went to Lye keeper Bedford who made a fine save from a powerful shot from Khalsa sub Ben Hadley. Despite 6 minutes of time added on, it was the visitors who triumphed to take their place in the last 4. As for Khalsa, a wild swinging arm was their undoing. A wonderful evening’s entertainment for the neutral and a proper physical cup tie. A word of praise for the referee who tried to keep the game flowing rather than constantly blowing for infringements.
I am going to start this week with arguably the biggest result of the day with bottom club Continental Star winning 1-0 at Coleshill Town. The goal came courtesy of Dan Holgate and was Star’s second victory of the season. At the top, there were good away wins for the top two. Leaders Hereford gave the students of Loughborough University a lesson as they came away with a 5-0 victory. This keeps the gap at the top to a single point as second placed Alvechurch, with two injury time goals from Karl Edwards, edged past Brocton at Silkmore Lane. Sporting Khalsa take over 3rd spot following a 5-2 home win over Highgate United, Craig Bannister notching up his 37th goal of the season. There was a dramatic game at the bottom of the table between Quorn and Coventry Sphinx. With 12 minutes remaining, Sphinx held a 3-1 lead. Back came Quorn to draw level in the 89th minute but Kieran Nesbitt popped up with a winner for Sphinx in the 4th minute of stoppage time. That win means Sphinx are now just three points from safety. Rocester’s fine run continued with a 3-1 win at Boldmere St Michaels. The Romans have now picked up 13 points out of the last possible 15. Westfields and Long Eaton United looked to be ending goalless until stoppage time when Westfields thought they had bagged all three points. That was until 2 minutes into added time, Elliot King snatched an equaliser for the visitors.
Coventry Sphinx remain in the relegation zone following a 3-0 Monday night defeat at Sphinx Drive at the hands of Brocton. Veteran striker Paul McMahon scored twice in the 2nd half to send the Badgers 14th in the table. Shepshed Dynamo missed out on the chance of going 3rd being beaten by a Callum Riddell goal at Rocester. Walsall Wood climb to 6th after a 2-1 win at Continental Star. Dunkirk led 2-0 at Loughborough University but a strong second half from the Scholars saw them eventually win 4-3. Quorn salvaged a point at home to Stourport Swifts with a last minute equaliser from Leavi Oshungbure.
Only three fixtures survived the weather and the game of the day came at Evans Park where Stafford Town entertained Racing Club Warwick. The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 8th minute when Jamie Vadasz was shown a red card. Tom Green gave Town the lead from the spot but it was the 10 men from Warwick that went into the half-time break 3-2 ahead. In the second half Town raced into a 5-3 lead before the visitors again closed the gap. Craig Hulme’s second of the afternoon gave Town a 6-4 victory with Jamie Smith becoming the second Racer to be shown a red card in the dying minutes. The win moves Stafford up to 16th in the table. Heather St Johns are one of the teams no below Stafford after they slipped to a heavy home defeat at the hands of Coventry Copsewood. The visitors ran out 5-1 winners with Ryan Harkin netting twice. Pershore Town’s recent good run was ended by a Phil McKerdy goal for Lichfield City, who are now 4th.
Bromsgrove Sporting take over at the top of the table following a 4-0 win over Cadbury Athletic. Racing Club Warwick made it 9 away goals in 4 days with a 5-0 win at Pelsall Villa, a hat-trick for Terry Morton. Sam Agar went one better for Hinckley AFC scoring all 4 in a 4-1 win over Pilkington XXX. Dan Scragg was another to get a hat-trick, this one for Heath Hayes who keep Southam United in deep trouble with a 4-1 win.
The big game at the top of Division 2 went the way of Chelmsley Town who beat Droitwich Spa 2-1. The win sees the two swap places with Chelmsley now in 2nd just three points behind the leaders with three games in hand. The aforementioned leaders, Rostance Edwards beat bottom club Earlswood Town 3-0 at The Red Lion Ground to maintain their narrow lead. Paget Rangers move up to 5th place after a 4-2 win at Hampton with Mark Bellingham netting a hat-trick.
What a strange day in Division 3. Leaders Leamington Hibernian reversed their fixture with Coventrians and probably regretted it as a Sean Brennan penalty gave their mid table visitors all three points. 2nd placed FC Stratford have now only picked up 1 point in 5 games as they went down to a single goal defeat at Burntwood Town. These results allowed Redditch Borough to move in to 2nd place as they improved their goal difference significantly with a 13-0 victory over AFC Solihull at The Valley. Jason Cowley led the way with a double hat-trick and there were braces for Jak Albutt, Liam Fullerton and Brandon Mutivbu. Smithswood Firs are very much in contention as they have 6 games in hand on the leaders. They maintained their promotion push with a 6-1 win over Badsey Rangers, Anthony Short with a couple. Perrywood moved 10 points clear of AFC Solihull with an excellent 4-2 win over Inkberrow. They are now level on points with Enville Athletic who lost at home to Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons, Lewis Gorle with the only goal of the game. On Tuesday night, Redditch Borough closed the gap at the top to just 4 points with a 4-2 victory over Perrywood.
Polymac Packaging League Cup Quarter Final
Hereford are through to the semi-finals after an extra time victory at Highgate United. Goals from John Mills and Ross Staley booked a two-legged semi against either Stourport Swifts or Nuneaton Griff. Lye Town will meet Walsall Wood in the other semi after a dramatic 3-2 victory at Sporting Khalsa. The home side were cruising at 2-0 but James Spray pulled one back before Tes Robinson saw red for the home side. Lye took their chance and two second half goals sent them through.
Alvis Sporting Club will meet Hampton in the semi-finals of the Presidents Cup following a 3-1 win over Feckenham.
Northfield Town are through to the quarter-final of the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup following a 3-2 win over Sutton United. Northfield took a 2-0 lead but Sutton came back with a double from George Ford. The home side were not to be denied and David Glaze grabbed a late winner. They travel to Rostance Edwards in the next round. Barton United are through to the final of the Fazeley Charity Cup following a 1-0 win over FC Premier 2000, Jono Douglas with the only goal of the game. Barton will meet BT in the final on Good Friday, March 25th at Coton Green with a 7.30 pm kick off. An 88th minute goal from Dave Yonwin gave Lichfield City a 1-0 win at AFC Wulfrunians in the JW Hunt Cup.
Only one game played in the reserve division where Sutton United and Romulus drew 1-1.
In the Bowl, Bromsgrove Sporting were comfortable 4-0 winners over Anstey Nomads. In the Nottinghamshire Junior Cup, Basford United progressed beating Bilsthorpe Reserves in a penalty shoot-out.
We have reached the semi-final stage of the FA Vase and the two favourites, Phoenix clubs Hereford and Salisbury have been drawn together. The first leg will take place in front of a packed house at Edgar Street with all 4,000 home tickets sold a week before the game. Salisbury have won 18 of their last 19 games in all competitions and go into the game top of the Wessex League by 8 points. The Bulls have had a tremendous first season in the Midland League and hold on to top spot by one point. Hereford have scored 90 and conceded 26 in the league while Salisbury have scored 84 and conceded just 15. This promises to be a fantastic occasion for all concerned with a trip to Wembley the carrot for the victors over the two legs. Good luck to Hereford from everyone at the Midland Football League.
With Hereford on FA Vase duty, Alvechurch have the opportunity to take over top spot when they entertain in-form Walsall Wood at Lye Meadow. A win for Alvechurch would see Alvechurch take a two point lead over Hereford with 13 games to play. Sporting Khalsa are 13 points back with three games in hand and they will be hopeful of three points when they travel to relegation threatened Bardon Hill. Shepshed Dynamo slipped up in midweek and will need to get back to winning ways at home to Long Eaton United if they are to remain in the title race. Likewise Heanor Town can’t afford to drop too many more points if they hope to break into the top two and they have a tough looking fixture at Lye Town. At the bottom, Continental Star are 15 points adrift of safety with 13 games remaining so 3 points are a must as they welcome Westfields to Dales Lane. There is a big relegation scrap at Sphinx Drive as two of the bottom three meet with Coventry Sphinx entertaining Dunkirk, a win vital to both teams. Two Staffordshire sides who had good results in midweek meet at Hillsfield with Brocton visiting Rocester. Quorn sit just above the drop zone however they have played more games than the sides below them. They travel to Walshes Meadow to face improving Stourport Swifts in the reverse of the fixture held on Tuesday. Two mid-table sides meet at Packmeadow with Coleshill Town at home to AFC Wulfrunians. Highgate United could jump into the top 6 if they can take all 3 points at Boldmere St Michaels.
The top two go head to head this week in arguably the biggest game of the season. Bromsgrove Sporting have taken over top spot and they have home advantage at The Victoria Ground over long time leaders Coventry United. A draw would probably be a great result for 3rd placed Nuneaton Griff as they attempt to chase the top two down. They have a home game this week at The Pingles Stadium with Pilkington XXX the visitors. There is a big game at the bottom as the teams in the relegation spots meet with Southam United at home to Bolehall Swifts. Heather St Johns are deep in relegation trouble and they will be looking for points at Studley. Pelsall Villa are on a poor run of form and it is not likely to get any easier this week as they travel to high flying Leicester Road. Stafford Town have turned their season around and have an attractive fixture at Coventry Copsewood. There is a big local derby at St Johns Park with Hinckley AFC at home to Atherstone Town. In the other game on Saturday, Littleton play host to Cadbury Athletic.
The big games keep on coming this week and its 3rd vs 1st in Division 2. Droitwich Spa are the hosts as they look to bounce back from defeat last week at Chelmsley Town. Rostance Edwards, the leaders, have been consistent of late and this promises to be a cracker. Depending on the outcome, 2nd placed Chelmsley Town could take over at the summit providing they win at Coton Green. Alvis Sporting Club have only dropped two points in the league all season and they back to league action at home to Fairfield Villa. Basement side Earlswood Town are at home to Austrey Rangers with a chance to close the gap on Feckenham. Its 12th versus 11th at the Coppice with Barnt Green Spartak at home to Hampton, in what looks a particularly tight game. In the other game in Division 2, Knowle entertain Sutton United.
The battle for the Division 3 title is as intriguing as all of the other MFL divisions. Leaders Leamington Hibernian slipped up at home to Coventrians and they have an immediate chance of revenge this week with the return fixture. 2nd placed Redditch Borough have scored 17 goals in the past week and they are at home to 4th placed Northfield Town. FC Stratford have been in free-fall for some weeks and they need to arrest their slide at home to Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons. Alcester Town remain the form side and they face second bottom Perrywood with a chance to go 3rd if results go their way. Smithswood Firs have games in hand on the leaders and a win at Inkberrow would keep them in the thick of the action. Bottom side AFC Solihull were stunned by the heavy defeat last week at Redditch and they will be wanting to answer some questions when Shipston Excelsior visit Tudor Grange. Barton United were celebrating reaching a cup final last week but its back to league action and a trip to Badsey Rangers. Struggling Enville Athletic welcome Burntwood Town to Hall Drive, 10 points clear of the bottom.
Les James Challenge Cup
Feckenham host Paget Rangers in the quarter final of the LJCC with the winners travelling to Knowle in the last 4.
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