Midland Football League Newsletter
26th November 2015
Pershore Town have appointed a new manager, Quentin Townsend. Quentin is a former Pershore Town F.C. centre half who played professionally for Wolves & Hereford United. Quentin was manager of Southam United until September & was appointed this week following former manager Glen Brotherton's departure by mutual consent. Quentin started his managerial reign with a morale boosting home win.
Coventry Sphinx Football Club regret to announce that their 1st Team Manager Luke Hopkins has decided to step down from his post with immediate effect. He had reached this difficult decision based on the fact that in his opinion he had taken the 1st team as far as he can and for the benefit of the club it was the right thing to do.
Club Chairman, Dannie Cahill commented, “It’s a sad day for the club but it says a lot about the man that has put the Club first. Luke is a Coventry Sphinx boy through and through and knowing Luke as I do it must have been a difficult decision for him to make. He has worked his socks off over the past 3 seasons and it’s all credit to him that he leaves us with some quality players that we can build on.”
“Everybody connected with the club wish Luke well in the future. He is also a Manager of in our junior section and I’m pleased to say he will still be in and around the club that he loves.
“As far as Luke’s replacement is concerned we will not be rushed in making a decision and as such ex 1st Team Manager Martin Ascroft and Lynton Wilkinson will take over team affairs. All credit to them both for stepping in at short notice. This further underpins what this club means to people here at the Sphinx.”
The draw for the 3rd round of the FA Vase has been made. Ties to take place on the weekend of December 12th
Alsager Town vs AFC Wulfrunians
Pinxton vs Nuneaton Griff or Highgate United
Walsall Wood vs Alvechurch
Uttoxeter Town vs Coleshill Town
Hereford vs Brocton
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday November 21st
AFC Bridgnorth 1 Alvechurch 2
The 2nd round of the FA vase takes me to a ground I hadn’t visited for some time, Crown Meadow the home of AFC Bridgnorth. Not much had changed since I last saw Bridgnorth Town play there and the slope on the pitch seemed even more pronounced if anything. With Bridgnorth flying high in the West Midlands regional League, Premier Division high flyers Alvechurch were expecting a difficult afternoon. With the pitch very heavy after days of rain, a battle is exactly what we got. It was to be a day of strong tackles, weak refereeing (again), quality goals and good old fashioned cup football. Bridgnorth started the brighter and Matt Sergeant had to race off his line to thwart the impressive Anwar Olugbon. Sergeant was again to Church’s rescue with a fine save from a Jason Pike header. Alvechurch responded with a ball from Connor Deards which flew across the face of the goal. Olugbon continued to cause problems and he rattled the bar after finding himself free in the area. Alvechurch failed to heed the warning and Olugbon got his deserved goal in the 35th minute despatching his shot through Sergeant after freeing his marker. Chris Crook in the Bridgnorth goal made a fine save on the stroke of half-time from a Leigh Downing header. Bridgnorth should have doubled their lead in the 50th minute when Olugbon teed up Liam Armstrong but his shot was well saved by Sergeant. Alvechurch drew level in the 57th minute. A poor clearance from the Bridgnorth defence fell to Josh March whose first time volley flew into the net. I got better for Church within two minutes. A driving run from Dave Bellis was clipped home by Karl Edwards, a quality finish to a quality move. Would we now see the home side fade away. Not one bit. Pike went close in the 77th minute and Sergeant was again the hero pulling off a fine save from a Glynn Coney free-kick. 5 minutes into added on time, Bridgnorth had the ball in the net, but the linesman’s flag was raised and Alvechurch could celebrate being in the hat for the next round. A thoroughly enjoyable game of cup football on a horrible pitch. Just what non-league football is all about.
Some mixed results for MFL sides in the 2nd round of the FA Vase. Starting off with the disappointments, 2nd placed Heanor Town were knocked of the competition by a strong Leicester Nirvana side. Kieran Debrouwer brought the sides level after an early Nirvana goal but it was to no avail as the UCL leaders went through. Another of the leading Premier Division sides to go out were Long Eaton United who slipped up at home to lower division Pinxton. It looked like Long Eaton were going to take the game into extra-time but a late goal clinched the win for the visitors. Walsall Wood had the result of the round beating 2nd placed UCL side Holbeach United 4-1 at home, Corey Carruthers with a couple. Premier Division league leaders Hereford made progress beating Haughmond 4-1 in front of another bumper Edgar Street gate. Alvechurch were made to fight all the way by WMRL AFC Bridgnorth at Crown Meadow. Two pieces of quality finishing in three second half minutes saw the Church into Round 3. AFC Wulfrunians won 2-1 at Quorn in an all MFL tie, Jake Sedgemore with the winning goal from the penalty spot. Two sides struggling for league points met at Sphinx Drive and it was Brocton who eased past Coventry Sphinx by 3 goals to 2 with the returning Sam Bell getting a brace for the Badgers. Dunkirk took the lead at Coleshill Town but the home side eventually ran out 4-2 winners with Dean Rathbone scoring two in the last 6 minutes. First division Racing Club Warwick out up a decent performance at NCEL Cleethorpes Town but it was the home side that progressed 2-0. Nuneaton Griff and Highgate United fought out a tough 1-1 draw at The Pingles Stadium with Lei Brown’s penalty taking the game to a replay. On Sunday, Coventry United looked to be going through thanks to an early goal from Brian Ndlovu. Visitors Uttoxeter Town had other ideas, and two goals in the last 5 minutes sent the Staffordshire side through.
With most teams in FA Vase action, Sporting Khalsa took full advantage to close the gap on the leaders. They ran out 4-0 winners at home to Rocester with David Meese scoring twice. Shepshed Dynamo got back to winning way with a 2-1 win at Lye Town courtesy of a Matt Langham double. A big win at the bottom for Boldmere St Michaels who beat basement club Continental Star 5-1. Star took the lead early on but a matt Garner hat-trick sent the Mikes up the table. Only one game in midweek and Boldmere St Michaels moved further away from the bottom with a 2-1 win over Lye Town.
The big game in Division 1 saw the first Hinckley derby for 20 years. Leicester Road raced into a 2-0 lead but the sending off of keeper Will Highland changes things. Hinckley AFC came back and won it in stoppage time with a goal from Luke Richards in front of a healthy crowd of 290. Lichfield City closed the gap on the leaders winning a remarkable game at Littleton 4-3. City had raced into a 3-1 but the home side levelled before a last ditch goal from Michael Taylor gave the points to the visitors. Bromsgrove Sporting also closed the gap at the top with a 3-1 win over Atherstone Town, despite the Adders taking an early lead. A big win for Pershore Town near the bottom of the table
as Daniel Ludlow’s hat-trick helped them to a 4-1 victory over Bolehall Swifts. Pelsall Villa also picked up an important 3 points with a 4-2 win at home to Heather St Johns, Ahkeem Rose with a hat-trick. Stafford Town missed the chance to climb off the bottom as a Joe Pickering goal was enough for Heath Hayes to take all the points at Evans Park. A good win for Studley at The TSA ground as a 2-0 victory over Cadbury Athletic moves them into the top half of the table. A remarkable game in midweek with Heath Hayes winning 4-3 at Pelsall Villa. It looked comfortable for the visitors at 2-0 but Villa came back to draw level before Heath Hayes finally edged home.
Droitwich Spa are up to 2nd after a 2-0 home win over Knowle. A good home win for Fairfield Villa moves them up 3 places as they defeated Coton Green 4-1.
Leamington Hibernian are the new leaders following a 4-2 win over Burntwood Town. Smithswood Firs are down to second after they lost a pulsating game 3-2 at Shipston Excelsior, who are now up to 6th. A second win on the trot for Perrywood, 3-2 over Badsey Rangers, has seen them move up to 13th in the table.
Les James Challenge Cup
Inkberrow are through to the quarter finals after a 3-2 home win over Redditch Borough.
A big win for Chelmsley Town as they won 6-0 at Austrey Rangers as they progressed to the last 4.
Last Saturday saw another weekend of cup fixtures. In the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup, Earlswood Town put their league troubles behind them to win 3-1 at Lichfield City U21. In the Birmingham Saturday Vase, Alvis Sporting Club continued to bang in the goals in a 7-2 win at Athletic Sparkhill. Barton United beat cup holders Whitnash, Barnt Green Spartak won a penalty shoot out to get past Paget Rangers and FC Stratford went out, losing 2-1 at home to Old Wulfrunians. In the Birmingham Saturday Amateur Cup, Cadbury Athletic Reserves won at Coventrians while Gornal Athletic U21s lost at Peugeot Milpool. In the Staffordshire Challenge Cup, Brereton Social U21s beat their Walsall Wood compatriots 4 goals to one. In midweek, Loughborough University were knocked out of the Leicestershire Challenge Cup by St Andrews. There was also a cup exit for Stourport Swifts, knocked out of the Worcester Royal Infirmary Cup by Bewdley Town. In the Worcestershire Senior urn, a Simon Brain hat-trick helped Bromsgrove Sporting defeat Malvern Town 4-1.
A remarkable game in the reserves division as Coventry United and Evesham United shared 10 goals in a 5-5 draw. Solihull Moors are back on top following a 1-0 win over Continental Star. In the other league game an important victory for Sutton United, 2-1 over Brocton.
Under 21 Divisions
Plenty of goals in the 3 league games played this week. In the North, Anstey Nomads picked up their second league win of the season beating Tipton Town 3-2. Stourport Swifts are back on top of the South division after a 6-2 win over Leamington, Andrew Hudson with a hat-trick. Kings Heath Concorde were also big winners, 5-3 over Bromsgrove Sporting.
All but two sides are in Premier Division action this weekend. Leaders Hereford travel to Packmeadow to face a Coleshill Town side that won the earlier game between the two sides by 5 goals to 4. Hereford have put together a remarkable run of victories and clean sheets and will need to be on top of their game to keep these records going. Two sides who had contrasting results in the FA Vase last weekend meet at Silkmore Lane. Brocton progressed through to the 3rd round but are desperate for points at the bottom of the table. Visitors Heanor Town were disappointing in exiting the Vase but their league form has been superb. The two sides drew earlier in the season and this could be another tight affair. Alvechurch can do no wrong at the moment and welcome Rocester to Lye Meadow as they look to maintain the pressure on the leaders. The Romans have had mixed results this season and are uncomfortably near the bottom but they will do well to blunt Church’s attacking threat. Highgate United can move into 4th place if they can beat Loughborough University at The Coppice. The students have been conceding an awful lot of goals of late and are up against 22 goal striker Lei Brown. AFC Wulfrunians are on an excellent run of form and they welcome Stourport Swifts to Castlecroft. Swifts started the season brilliantly but have found it difficult of late to string s decent run of results together. Wulfs on the other hand come into the game in confidence following heir FA Vase victory last weekend. Shepshed Dynamo travel to Westfields with an eye firmly on the top 6. Recent results haven’t exactly gone their way but the same could be said of their hosts. Both sides need a win for very different reasons which could make for an exciting encounter. Bottom placed Continental Star are in real danger of being cut adrift. They travel to Quorn themselves only 4 points above the drop zone. Star must start picking up points if they are to move
away from the bottom of the table. Walsall Wood are another side who have picked up in recent weeks and they will feel the momentum is with them when they entertain a faltering Long Eaton United. Defeat in the FA Vase at the hands of Pinxton will have been a major disappointment for Long Eaton and they need to get back on the winning trail if their season is not to drift away. It has been a bad week for Coventry Sphinx being knocked out of the FA Vase and losing manager Luke Hopkins. They travel to a resurgent Boldmere St Michaels who have managed to claw themselves away from the bottom of the table. While Sphinx have games in hand on the sides around them, their league form points to another difficult afternoon. Bardon Hill welcome Lye Town to Leicestershire with both sides comfortably in the middle of the pack. Consistency is something both sides have lacked this season as good results have been interspersed with bad. Another one, impossible to second guess.
No question where the big game is in Division 1 this week as the top two meet at The Pingles Stadium. 2nd placed Nuneaton Griff were scoring goals for fun early in the season but the goals have not been as free flowing in recent weeks. Leaders Coventry United suffered a shock defeat in the FA Vase last weekend and a win will open up a 7 point gap at the top. While it’ not a season defining game, the result of this one will have a major impact on the league table. Behind the top two, there are 4 clubs sitting together on 32 points. Leicester Road were beaten by a very late goal last week and they will want to bounce back when they travel to Studley. Lichfield City continue to score goals and will be expecting to improve their goal difference when they host struggling Southam United. Bromsgrove Sporting face a tricky afternoon with a trip to Littleton who are just four points behind The Rouslers. Pilkington XXX are the form side in the division winning their last 7 games and not conceding in 5. They travel to Coventry Copsewood who are comfortable in the middle of the pack. At the bottom, a huge game at Rene Road as the bottom two lock horns. Bolehall Swifts have moved off the bottom courtesy of two wins in their last 4 which has left visitors Stafford Town rooted to the foot of the table. A win for either could change the complexion of their season. Hinckley AFC still have games in hand on the top two but will need to keep winning if they are to close the gap. They welcome 15th placed Racing Club Warwick to St Johns Park in a must win game. Cadbury Athletic welcome Heath Hayes to the TSA Sports Ground with the visitors on a run of 5 consecutive away wins. Pelsall Villa and Atherstone Town are locked together on 17 points and both will be wanting a win to move away from the lower reaches when they meet at The Bush Ground.
With none of the top three in league action, focus is on 4th placed Rostance Edwards as they welcome Barnt Green Spartak to The Red Lion Ground. A win for Eddies would close the gap to the leaders to just 5 points. At the bottom, Earlswood Town have just the one point and they travel to 5th placed Sutton United who won the reverse fixture 4-1. In the other league game, Austrey Rangers host Fairfield Villa in a mid table clash.
The leadership of Division 3 has been shared around somewhat this season and with 5 points separating the top 7 clubs, I am sure this will continue. Current leaders Leamington Hibernian travel to lowly Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons looking to cement their number 1 spot. To highlight how close the league is, 7th placed Northfield Town could go 3rd with a big win at Coventrians. 13th meet 15th as Perrywood entertain Alcester Town. A win for either would see them move well away from basement side AFC Solihull. Enville Athletic welcome Inkberrow to Hall Lane – a win for the home side seeing them leapfrog the visitors.
Les James Challenge Cup
Two of the top three in Division 3 meet with Barton United hosting Smithswood Firs. A chance for a giant killing at Ravenhill Park when Burntwood Town welcome higher division Knowle, with a quarter final place at stake.
Two quarter finals in the Presidents Cup this weekend. Second division front runners Alvis Sporting Club are red hot favourites at home to Feckenham while Hampton and Paget Rangers look well matched in the other tie.
Continental Star v Cadbury Athletic
Coventry United v Lichfield City
Evesham United v Gresley
Rocester v Brocton
Romulus v Coleshill Town (Trophy)
Under 21 Divisions
Leamington v West Midlands Football Academy (U21S)
Bromsgrove Sporting v Anstey Nomads (Bowl)
Gornal Athletic v Kings Heath Concorde (Bowl)
Heath Hayes v H.O.W. Academy (Bowl)
Bedworth United v Sutton Coldfield Town (Bowl)
Tamworth v Basford United (U21N)
Tipton Town v Walsall Wood (Bowl)
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