30th November – Update
Huge apologies, (especially to Pete Bennett who tends to be the only regular match report contributor every week), but the match report from last week has been delayed due to me having to spend time on a multitude of issues this week concerning serious issues within the League. One night alone, I spent 5 hours on two certain issues. This does have an impact on what I else I can get done and I must admit to being seriously frustrated this week. To the extent of even wondering if coming back was such a good idea? However, when a storm happens there is plenty of rain and from that rain the green grass grows. The green grass that we love to play football on. With that in mind, here is Pete’s report from last week and also one from Joshua Briley of Delph Athletic. There are also some more off Joshua that he had saved but forgotten to send in, (better late than never, cheers Joshua).
Rowley College 5 St Andrews Netherton 2
I enjoyed today’s game and would have done irrespective of the result (and all three options were possible in the course of the game) because it was a ‘proper’ game of football played in ideal English conditions and it was enterprising and physical (though always the right way). St Andrews are a very good side, the best with St Mary’s we’ve played this season, with good players and a fluent way of playing. They worked the ball from the start and had a decent chance within minutes which under pressure their lad slid wide, giving our stand-in keeper Matty Williams something to think about. We though gave as good as we got and Josh hit the crossbar with a great effort before contributing with Matt to Hayden’s goal (chipped the teacher from the edge of the box).
Everybody did well for us today but South, Ben and Josh stood out for me, ensuring that we were always not only in the game but also carrying a threat. I’d give South man-of-the-match though because he gave us much needed nous against a team which had it in spades. They came back (down the slope) and a full-blooded game developed which was interrupted only by one of their lads getting a red for a misplaced word (officials were great today: Cal let the game flow and had no choice with the red but these slips of the tongue give no pleasure to either team). It threatened to ruin a very good game, instead it gave St Andrews a second wind and before half time an equaliser. This was frustrating and overshadowed the quality of our performance.
As Kev had to go at half time, South switched to centre back alongside captain Chris and the mercurial Jack stepped in for the first time for a month. Down the slope, a man up and playing pretty well we knew we had to get a result. However St Andrews had other ideas and with Chris Hunter dropping into midfield where Robbo was also excellent and two willing runners kept up top they started the second half the better side. This put massive pressure on our younger players and Fin and ‘new’ Matt along with Hayden did well today in difficult circumstances. Our two full backs were excellent also. We knew we had positive changes to make second half and both Andy and Connor contributed from the bench but before these interventions Matt Suffield restored our lead. Traversing the pitch twenty odd yards out he shifted the ball out of his feet and struck an unstoppable shot from outside the box: a classic strike. That should have that but with the quality they have I knew we needed another so I was delighted when Ben ‘sashayed’ into the box and fired home. No such thing, for with more than 10 left to play we conceded a needless penalty which Hunter dispatched. We were then helped by a second red card which allowed us to better keep the ball and finally put it to bed. Firstly Andy set up Josh for a well-deserved goal and then intricate passing between Jack, Josh and Connor put the latter in for 5-2. This was not a 5-2 but it was a hard fought victory against a good side. Good luck to Dave and his lads.
Delph Athletic 0 Amblecote Nomads 2
Having drawn 1-1 against Amblecote a few weeks back we went into this game with a hint of optimism.
The game started in nervy fashion with neither team really able to get the ball down & play any kind of entertaining football.
In the opening 15 minutes Amblecote had an extra man in midfield & made it count, winning the first, second & third ball on most occasions. This meant a slight tweak to our formation to try to deal with the Amblecote central midfield dominance. The change of formation did do us some favours & we were able to start to win some of the battles in the middle of the park. What didn’t do us a favour was a corner which our GK Josh met with a strong punch, only for the ball to bounce off an Amblecote head on it’s way out of the penalty area & find it’s way in our net to make it 1-0. Very much the story of our season summarised in one goal.
A moment of so later we went on a nice move down the right hand side, with RB tom linking well with Grant Esp who rounded an Amblecote defender & was brought down on the edge of the box. Grant was making his recovery from a shoulder injury & unfortunately for him the Amblecote Defender landed on top of his bad shoulder. (A Dislocated shoulder, tissue damage & pulled ligaments later & Grant is back at home feeling very sorry for himself).
From the resultant Free-kick Nathan Johns forced a world class save from the Amblecote GK who rose well to the top Right corner to keep us out.
From then on until mid-way through the second half unfortunately I didn’t see much of the game as Grant needed medical attention, but as the ambulance arrived & we walked down from the pitch towards it we heard the Amblecote lads cheering as they made it 2-0.
For the remaining 30 minutes we finally started to bring the ball down & play to our strengths. Whilst Amblecote were fairly dominant in the first half in central midfield we managed to create lots of space out wide with Dave Harrison putting in a classic Dave Harrison performance & running up & down the line for the 90 minutes non-stop.
We continued to press Amblecote for the duration of the half & enjoyed a large spell of possession over the final 30 minutes, Nat Harding went closest for us with a nice strike from distance which hit the top of the bar.
Amblecote did create a few counter-attacking chances only for Josh Prentice to keep several 1 on 1’s out & maintain our hope of getting back in the game.
In truth, the Amblecote defence was too solid for us to breakdown, we managed to maintain a lot of possession but couldn’t quite translate that into clear goal scoring chances & that cost us dearly here.
Another game in which we haven’t been outplayed or outclassed but have come away with nothing.
Still lots to work on in our first season but we’ve come a long way since our first few friendlies, with people learning more & more about their roles with each game that goes by.
Some big games now against teams around us – Brierley Hill & Excel so those games should be a good measure of where we are at In the league.
A Mention must be made for 1 of Amblecote’s Players/supporters/substitute’s who stayed with our injured player whilst he was down & then offered to run the line for us until the Ambulance came, big thanks to him.
3 more reports from Delph Athletic’s matches.
Dudley Lions 5 Delph Athletic 1
After getting our first win of the season the week before against St Thomas we came into this game optimistic of getting a result & building some momentum – It’s fair to say Dudley had other idea’s & made us pay for not turning up.
It didn’t take long for them to show their dominance on the pitch & show a much greater level of maturity on the ball. It was 3-0 at half time & it has to be said the lead was well deserved.
Going into the second half we tried to shut up shop & stop Dudley’s dominance in midfield, it worked well for 25 minutes or so with John Beall getting a goal back after he rose highest to meet a Grant Esp Free Kick & head home to make it 3-1.
Dudley then stepped it up a gear & after Grant Esp limped off injured & we were down to 10 men they really made us pay.
Before long they had stretched our defence several times & made light work of us in the last 15 minutes meaning the game ended 5-1.
We game off being well beaten by a much more experienced team & if ever there was a lesson not to be complacent this was it.
Much work to be done for the Delphs!
Corinthians 5 Delph Athletic 0
Similarly to the Dudley lions game – we came into this game with optimism after drawing against Amblecote the week before.
Once again we were left with a skeleton squad & started with only 1 fit sub.
The first half was a really good battle with neither team able to take advantage – In truth we probably had the better chances with Nathanael Harding going close once or twice.
His running in the first half was excellent & he made it very difficult for the Corinthians team to play out from the back in their usual fashion.
Half time 0-0.
We started the 2nd half looking to maintain our solid performance at the back whilst looking to create a few more chances, for the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half the game continued to be a battle in midfield with neither team making their dominance felt.
Unfortunately for us Corinthians have an impressively large squad & several substitutions added too much energy into their team for us to handle.
Around the 65 minute mark they took the lead & then in the blink of an eye it went from 1-0 to 5-0.
We managed to limp to the final whistle without conceding again but the damage was done in the 10 or 15 minutes that proceeded the first goal.
Another harsh lesson for us to learn – Lots of positives taken from the first 65 minutes but unfortunately for us football is a 90 minute game.
We play Corinthians again in a few weeks so will be looking to field a larger squad & match them for the full 90 this time.
17th November – League Cup
Dudley Lions 2 Delph Athletic 4
Bouyed on by the manager’s wife’s prediction of a Dudley Win the delphs went into their first ever WMCFL cup game with much to prove. Having been completely turned over by Dudley a few weeks ago we were eager to show that we can match some of the teams that sit above us in the league.
With 3 new Emergency signings added into the squad we started the game in a positive way & it wasn’t long before we made it 1-0 through Ed Sutton.
Dudley then found their stride & deservedly equalised before making their dominance in midfield known, once again they got the better of us to take a deserved 2-1 lead into half time.
The 2nd half started in a similar fashion with a real battle taking place in midfield. Around the 65 minute mark Joel Gooding rose to meet a header which found the back of the net & made it 2-2.
The Delphs then started to show the character we’ve been looking for all season, the effort put in was incredible against a really good Dudley team. Every Delph player on the pitch showed real passion & maturity to win their personal battles & not drop their heads when we went behind.
This was then rewarded when Jack Slater slotted in the 5th goal of the game & made it 3-2 to us.
Dudley were then fighting to get back in the game but we didn’t let them & after some solid play Ed Sutton scored his 2nd of the game to make it 4-2 & seal a great win for us.
Lot’s of improvement from the last time we played Dudley & certainly a bit more firepower than our game against Corinthians. We look forward to playing Dudley again in December.
Onto the next round of the league cup which is a great achievement in our first season.
We now look ahead to the remaining fixtures for 2018 which see’s us battle against some of the teams around us in the league table where we will be trying to get some more points on the board to end the year on a high & climb off the bottom!