Midland Football League Newsletter
3rd February 2016
It is with great disappointment that Southam United announce the resignation of Lee Constable as First Team Manager. Lee will, however, continue to be actively involved in the wider Club. Lee's assistant, Terry Davidson, has been appointed to the position of Interim Manager and is already hard at work.
Rocester have reluctantly accepted the resignation of First Team Manager Mark Wilson. Mark took over the role at the end of September 2014 when the team were struggling at the foot of the table. He quickly turned fortunes around and led his side to a mid-table finish in the Midland Football League Premier Division and an appearance in the League Cup Final at Walsall's Bescot Stadium.
During the close season, he was instrumental in setting up a new Reserve team which, under the management of Mick Wood and Mark Yeomans, has proved extremely successful with a number of players stepping up to play First Team football. There is no doubt that Mark leaves the club in a far better position than it was fifteen months ago when he joined, and the club would like to place on record its appreciation and thanks for the time and 100% effort he has put in.
First team managerial duties have been taken over by Danny Martin, Mark Grimley and Carl Allen until the end of the season.
Should Hereford get past Hartley Wintney in the FA Vase, they have been awarded a home quarter-final against Camberley Town of the Combined Counties League
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday 30th January
Heath Hayes 3 Bolehall Swifts 1
Heath Hayes had not played a competitive fixture since December 19th so I was somewhat surprised to hear that the pitch had passed an inspection and the game was on. Visitors Bolehall Swifts were struggling near the bottom of the table, however, they had managed to play a couple of games in the previous 7 days so were likely to be more match fit. The first chance of the game fell to Heath Hayes’ Joe Pickering but Swifts keeper Tom McNulty saved well at the striker’s feet. Swifts should have been awarded a penalty in the 6th minute when Simeon Smith was clearly pulled back but the referee waved the protests away. A minute later, Smith really should have scored but a weak finish made it easy for Mark Wiggins. Swifts deservedly took the lead in the 14th minute. A corner from Ben Minshull was headed on by Joe Obi and Tom Lapworth got the final touch to flick it home. It was one-way traffic, and when Minchull’s shot rattled the crossbar, Smith’s follow-up was saved. Smith again went close but he couldn’t convert Adam Clarke’s cross. Smith was having an afternoon to forget and on the half hour, he missed again, beating the keeper but wide of the target. A free-kick for Swifts ultimately led to Heath Hayes’ equaliser in the 36th minute. Minshull hit a superb free-kick from 25 yards which rebounded off the post allowing Heath Hayes to break with pace. The ball eventually reached the feet of Dan Scragg who hit a first-time shot into the bottom corner. With the wind at their backs in the second half, Heath Hayes were expected to dominate but no-one had told the Swifts. Joe McNulty put a shot wide and Smith, again, hit the side netting as Swifts continued to look the more likely. Heath Hayes took the lead in the 67th minute when Scragg’s shot was saved but Ryan Burns was on hand to put away the follow-up. That second goal took the wind out of Swift's’ sails and the home side took control. Pickering twice went close before Scragg finished things off with a tap-in in stoppage time. A 3-1 result was extremely harsh on Swifts who really should have been out of sight by half-time. More performances like that, and I’m sure they will move away from the bottom of the table. Relief for Heath Hayes to at least be playing again. They are too far behind the leaders to make an impact in the promotion race but should be capable of a top 6 finish.
Tuesday 2nd February 2016
Stafford Town 3 Pelsall Villa 1
A second game in Division 1 in a couple of days and a chance to see if Stafford Town could continue their recent good form against a Pelsall Villa side without a league game since December 5th. Town were the first to show, Dan Jones having his shot blocked. In the 4th minute, Ahkeem Rose forced a save from Town keeper Dave Reaney. Both sides were slugging it out in the middle of the park without either taking control until Town opened the scoring in the 21st minute. A corner from Tom Green was headed powerfully into the net by skipper Spencer Gunnell. Josh Small had a decent chance for Pelsall but his shot lacked pace. Gunnell forced a save from Dan Mikrut but chances were at a premium. In first half stoppage time, the home side doubled their lead with a goal of farcical proportions. Green was in on goal, took an air shot, somehow maintained possession to toe poke goalwards where Mikrut saved but Green again poked the ball home. The goal owed everything to persistence and will have changed the manager’s team talks. Whatever was said in the Pelsall dressing room made an immediate impact when the impressive Rose controlled the ball and finished well past Reaney. The goal certainly lifted the visitors but as hard as they tried, they made little impression on the Town defence. A sublime piece of skill almost led to Stafford’s third. Craig Hulme controlled a cross-field ball, picked his spot and curled a superb effort just wide of the post. The
game was settled in the 72nd minute and what a way to settle it. Stafford were awarded a free-kick 30 yards out on the left-hand side, Up stepped Grant Winwood who found the net with a superb free-kick, his first goal for the club, as his celebrations clearly showed. Pelsall went close to a second when Mitchell Clarke controlled the ball and hit the target but Reaney was a match and the chance was gone. Stafford Town have certainly shown they are up for the fight and a good run of results has seen the confidence rise as they move up the table. After seeing Bolehall perform admirably on Saturday, the lower reaches of Division 1 are no place for the feint hearted
Nuneaton Griff’s brave run in The FA Vase came to an end as they were beaten 3-0 by Salisbury at the Pingles Stadium. The scoreline was harsh on Griff who missed a penalty with the score at 1-0. Two goals in the final 5 minutes made the scoreline look more emphatic for Salisbury for whom Sam Wilson scored a hat-trick.
The weather again played havoc with the fixtures with only 1 of the top 6 in action. It proved to be a good day for Shepshed Dynamo who won 3-1 at Coleshill Town thanks to a double from Matt Langham. With four games in hand on the leaders, Shepshed could still have a major say in the destination of the title. Walsall Wood move up to 7th in the table, Joey Butlin scoring both goals in the 2-1 win at Loughborough University. At the bottom of the table, there was a huge win for Quorn, 4-0 at struggling Dunkirk, Jacob Lever with a couple. Boldmere St Michaels moved further away from the drop zone with a 3-2 win over Bardon Hill. There were three goals in the first 4 minutes as the visitors took an early lead however two second half goals from Matt Gardiner sealed the points for the Mikes. Stourport Swifts grabbed a much needed 3 points with Joe Phillips scoring the only goal of the game in the win at Westfields. On Tuesday evening, Heanor Town regained second place with a 2-1 win at Highgate United. Two goals from veteran Paul McMahon helped Brocton to a 3-2 win at Boldmere St Michaels. Coleshill Town were too strong for a weakened Loughborough University at Park meadow with five different scorers in their 5-1 victory.
Lichfield City missed the chance to go 3rd when they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Pershore Town. Most of the attention was on the foot of the table and Stafford Town moved out of the bottom two with a 1-1 win with Pilkington XX, recent signing Marvin Robinson on target. Bolehall Swifts replace them on the bottom rung with missed chances costing them dear in a 3-1 defeat at Heath Hayes. Heather St Johns have a 5 point gap to the bottom three after they picked up a point in a 2-2 draw with Littleton at St Johns Park. Cadbury Athletic leapfrogged visitors Racing Club Warwick after a 4-1 win at the TSA Sports Ground. Coventry Copsewood and Hinckley AFC shared
the spoils in their local derby at The Pavilion, 1-1 the full-time score. On Tuesday, Coventry United went back to the top in emphatic style beating local rivals Coventry Copsewood 10-0 at Sphinx Drive. Richard Blythe scored a hat-trick and there were doubles for Matt Brown, Josh O’Grady and Kia Williams as United sent a clear message to their title rivals. Stafford Town continued their revival with a 3-1 home win over Pelsall Villa. Southam United are one place and one point off the bottom following a 1-1 draw at home to Pershore Town. After no games since December, Heath Hayes made it two wins in a week with a single goal victory at Pilkington XXX. Studley ran out 3-0 winners over Racing Club Warwick at the Beehive moving up to 10th in the table.
Droitwich Spa are 2 points clear at the top but they were held to a 1-1 draw by local rivals Barnt Green Spartak. Bottom side Earlswood Town took a first-minute lead at Fairfield Villa but it was the home side that ran out victors with a 3-2 win. There was an excellent away win for Paget Rangers, 3-2 at Sutton United.
In the game of the day between the two form teams, League leaders FC Stratford were toppled by Alcester Town, Matt Layton with the only goal from the penalty spot. Leamington Hibernian took full advantage, closing the gap at the top to just two points, with an emphatic 6-1 win at Burntwood Town, Will Pendred and Jack Keeling with doubles. 3rd place Barton United were held to a goalless draw at Inkberrow. Northfield Town are level on points with Barton after a 3-2 win over basement side AFC Solihull. Redditch Borough closed the gap with a 4-1 win at Badsey Rangers. Shipston Excelsior were 2-0 winners over Coventrians while the game at the bottom of the table ended in a 2-2 draw between Perrywood and Enville Athletic.
Polymac Packaging league Cup
Hereford set up an away quarter-final at Highgate United with a 3-1 win over title rivals Alvechurch in front of another big Edgar Street crowd. The sides went in level at the break but two unanswered second-half goals saw the Bulls through. FA Vase heroes Nuneaton Griff are at it again with a 3-1 win at Premier Division Shepshed Dynamo. Two first half goals from Josh Ruff sent Griff on their way and they await the winners of Cadbury Athletic and Stourport Swifts in the quarters. Walsall Wood hammered Rocester 6-1 with Joey Butlin scoring 5. Their reward is a home quarter-final against Coleshill Town.
Chris Lloyd took his season tally to 32 as Chelmsley Town beat Folly Lane in the Coventry Evening Telegraph Cup. Knowle were knocked out of the Birmingham Saturday Vase, losing 3-2 at Kings Heath Old Boys. Lichfield City grabbed the plaudits on Tuesday be beating Walsall 3-2 in the Walsall Senior Cup. Tom Evans scored twice and Tony Clarke was on hand to grab a last minute winner in front of a healthy crowd of 158. In the Leicestershire Challenge Cup, Barwell proved too strong for Quorn running out 3-0 winners. Alvis Sporting Club progressed in the Birmingham Saturday Vase, Kiam Galdins scoring twice in a 4-0 win over Kenilworth Wardens. In the Fazeley Charity Cup, Bolehall Swifts beat Tamworth U21s 3-2 with Simon Smith on target twice. A remarkable game in the Worcestershire Senior urn, where Bromsgrove Sporting beat Littleton 6-5 at 5 Acres with the winning goal from Connor Collins coming in the last minute.
Just two games in the reserves division with plenty of goals to keep the punters happy. Cadbury Athletic beat Sutton United by the odd goal in seven, Shaun Hunter with 2 for the home side and Zak D’Sylva with 2 for Sutton. Brocton beat Continental Star 3-1 with two goals in the last three minutes from Dexter Morris-Clarke.
Three games in the Bowl with the highlight being the eight goals shared by Basford United and Bedworth United at Greenwich Avenue. Heath Hayes won 2-1 win at H.O.W. Academy while Newcastle Town beat Walsall Wood 2-1.
Premier Division leaders Hereford travel to Hartley Wintney of the Combined Counties League. The Row sit top of their league with just two defeats all season and should provide a stern challenge to the Bulls who come into the game on the back of the 1-1 draw with second-placed Alvechurch. Backed by 700 away fans, I expect the Bulls to be too strong on the day. A home quarter-final against Camberley Town awaits the winners.
With the top two not in league action, Alvechurch can move back second with a win at Quorn. A win for Church would close the gap to 8 points while Quorn themselves are looking for points to keep well away from the Premier Division trapdoor. Sporting Khalsa can keep up the pressure on the leaders when they entertain Coventry Sphinx at the Aspray Arena. Sphinx have games in hand on all the teams around them but are only two points ahead of second bottom Dunkirk. Shepshed Dynamo have hit a rich vein of form and they welcome 6th placed AFC Wulfrunians to the Butthole. Weather permitting, this should be a great game for the neutral. Walsall Wood are another side that have found form in recent weeks and they welcome Loughborough University who they beat 2-1 at Hollywell a week ago. At the bottom Continental Star travel to Walshes Meadow to face Stourport Swifts whose win at Westfields moved them away from the bottom six. Second bottom Dunkirk travel to Brocton who have pulled away from the bottom due to an excellent run of results. Bardon Hill will be hoping to play their first home game since November when mid-table Lye Town are the visitors. Highgate United lie in 10th place however they still have 24 games to play this season. They welcome Westfields to The Coppice with both sides wanting to bounce back from recent defeats. Two sides separated by only 3 points meet in Derbyshire with Long Eaton United hosting Boldmere St Michaels. Early goals have been a feature of Mikes games recently, so make sure you are in time for the kickoff. Coleshill Town travel to Staffordshire to take on Rocester at Hillsfield. Both sides have had mixed results and this one is nigh on impossible to gauge.
The game of the day in Division 1 is at The Victoria Ground where 2nd placed Bromsgrove Sporting host 4th placed Lichfield City. Both sides are in excellent form and with the promise of another big crowd, this is one well worth going to. 3rd placed Leicester Road travel to Racing Club Warwick needing a win to keep in touch with the leaders. FA Vase heroes Nuneaton Griff return to league action with a local derby at Atherstone Town. Results in the past week has seen Bolehall Swifts return to the basement and they make the short journey to Hinckley AFC. Southam United are just one point ahead of Bolehall and they host a Pilkington XXX side that have slipped in recent weeks. Stafford Town have had a good couple of weeks and are now 3 points off the bottom. They travel to Cadbury Athletic with renewed hope of climbing the table. Coventry Copsewood will want to forget their defeat at the hands of leaders Coventry United as quickly as possible and they hope to do that at home to Heather St Johns. Two sides in the danger zone meet with PershoreTown at home to Pelsall Villa. At the Beehive, 10th meets 9th as Studley entertain Littleton.
No doubting the game of the day here with the top two meeting at the Red Lion Ground. A home win for Rostance Edwards would see them take over the top spot from Droitwich Spa. In a huge day for the top of the table, 4th placed Alvis Sporting Club entertain 3rd placed Chelmsley Town. Both sides have games in hand on the top two but a positive result, either way, could have a major impact on the destination of the title. At the bottom, Earlswood Town welcome Fairfield Villa a week after losing 3-2 at Fairfield. Feckenham haven’t played a home league game since October and they will be hoping to welcome Barnt Green Spartak to the Entaco. Paget Rangers and Sutton United played out a five-goal thriller last Saturday with Paget edging it. Which way will it go this week? Elsewhere, Knowle travel to Austrey Rangers.
With leaders FC Stratford on Vase duty, Leamington Hibernian can go top but to do that they will have to overcome an Alcester Town side that can’t stop winning. 3rd placed Barton United are at home to bottom club AFC Solihull, a win for the Black Swans would take them to within 4 points of the leaders. Smithswood Firs have games in hand on the leaders and they make some inroads with a win at home to lowly Enville Athletic. 2nd bottom Perrywood picked up a point last week but face a difficult task at free-scoring Redditch Borough. Burntwood Town suffered a heavy home defeat last week and will be looking for a reaction at home to Badsey Rangers. Elsewhere Coventrains entertain Inkberrow and Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons travel to Shipston Excelsior.
In the quarter-final of the Challenge Vase, two big hitters meet with Northfield Town at home to FC Stratford.
Coventry United vs Rocester
Lichfield City vs Gresley
Romulus vs Brocton
Coleshill Town vs Sutton United (Trophy)
Gornal Athletic vs Bromsgrove Sporting (U21S)
West Midlands Football Academy vs Stourport Swifts (U21S)
Heath Hayes vs Kings Heath Concorde (Bowl)
Tamworth vs H.O.W. Academy (Bowl)
Bedworth United vs Leamington (Bowl)
Sutton Coldfield Town vs Basford United (Bowl)
The official news channel of the Midland Football League (founded 2014)