3 Match Reports in so far. First we start off with Pete Bennett’s report regarding Rowley’s 1-0 defeat to Chawn.
Chawn Hill Church 1 vs 0 Rowley College
When we came into the WMCFL in 1992, Chawn Hill were simply the best team and one of the most established. They remain 27 years later a WMCFL ‘name’ but who’d of thought that Rowley College would also end up as one of the league’s longest lasting clubs! This was our 47th competitive encounter with Chawn and as always it was properly and in the best way ‘competitive’ (I was reflecting on this after the game with Curtis one of those ‘good lads’ Neil was speaking about at a recent meeting). Chawn are currently very much in the ascendency, having now won six on the spin and 10 out of the last dozen. This is testimony to their identity as a team because players-wise I think the teams are evenly matched.
This was our second 0-1 defeat in a wind-effected game in a row but these were very different games. Here the wind and a slight slope gave each side in turn an advantage. Chawn had it first half but we came out of the traps with intent with Mark and Josh up and plenty of attacking promise which brought their keeper early into action. Kev had brought the best present of all this morning: a goalkeeper who looked the business from the get-go. This allowed Matt to come into a very effective back four with Clive, Kev and Joe and later Matty Stanton. I think Matt was our man-of-the-match but Josh wasn’t far behind: having support up top really drew a performance from him and he really deserved a goal for his efforts, particularly playing against Phil Knight who was their best player.
Josh crashed a shot onto the bar and had a close range volley brilliantly saved by their keeper but Chawn also had a period of real ascendency and we had to defend resolutely. Curtis hit a cracking shot into the top corner which Pidd brilliantly kept out and there was plenty of action in our penalty box. Still, with no breakthrough and us with the wind in the second half we looked reasonably set. However, they then got a goal when their lad evaded tackles in midfield, ran to the edge of our box and fired it right in the corner: lovely finish. Still with the second half, a developing wind and the slope I was positive in my outlook.
Jack pushed on and Mark solidified the midfield and we threw everything at them. In the first twenty minutes of the second half we besieged the Chawn goal. Josh shook the bar with another cracking volley and there were a number of goal-line clearances (one that might even have gone over!). The third time the bar was struck it bounced out to one of our lads who volleyed it in but sadly from an offside position (both sides provided scrupulous club linesmen today). Chawn were forced to dig in and play on the break, which they did really well. We continued to press right up to the whistle, knowing it had been one of those days. Within the spirit of a competitive game, the Chawn lads were first to admit we’d been unlucky. All the best to Steve and his lads and if that is to be Lee Bedford’s last game against us, I wish him a fruitful retirement (he’s been a great competitor!).
Next up is a Match Report from Christ Church Coseley, I think from Lee McGahan but not 100 per cent certain of that.
Dudley reacted with a few half decent balls around our defence but Amo was winning every tackle. Dean was using his strength to stop any balls through while Dan an Jordy cleared any balls up in between. With no real chances falling we sorted ourselves out and a ball through found Craig who again found Lewis 1 on 1 with the keeper and making no mistake made it 2-0.
A few free kicks came and went for Dudley but they never really threatened the keeper in the 1st half and we were a little off the mark with some of our shots. Midfield and defence stood solid and we went in at ht 2-0 up.
2nd half we made a change but it didn’t affect the balance of how the 1st half had gone, Dudley playing higher up left room for Lewis Craig and chambers to run into but we couldn’t find the net and the keeper kept the score down. As the half wore on both teams had a few good chances, Craig firing over for us and the Dudley forward somehow hitting the post and bar In 1 shot. Shortly after Dudley got in again only for a brilliant double save from Lewis denied Dudley a goal and we cleared the ball away. A lot of the 2nd half was played down our right (Dudley’s left) but both Chambers and Jordy managed to stop every ball getting past with perfectly timed tackles and headers. With 15 to go we won a corner Scott delivering onto the head of Bob but the header went over. 2 minutes later we had another chance and again Scott found Bob who headed towards goal an the defender on the line miss timed his kick only to help the ball on the way into the net. (Claimed that 1 as it was on target) 3-0. At this point we just needed to make sure we was 1st to everything and cleared our lines and that’s exactly what we did until the ft whistle went finishing the match 3-0.
The Delphs returned to league action with a tough game against 2nd place in the table Corinthians SK. Having played them twice so far in our short history we’ve scored 1 & conceded 11 against them so we didn’t need any further warning of how tough of an opposition Corinthians can be.
The game started in beautiful February sunshine & within the first minute a great Corinthians move resulted in the first goal of the game. Corinthians are a well organised team that move around a lot & drag you out of position, it’s this that led to the first goal & It took us a while to get used to it but after 20 minutes or so we finally started to come into the game as our midfield 3 of Jack, John & Grant started to gain control. On the 30 minute mark a Corinthians clearance was met confidently by John Beall in the air who played the ball to Jake Walton, he sent a ball over the top of the Corinthians defence for Ed Sutton to run onto who beat the keeper & made it 1-1 going into half time.
The 2nd half started in the same way the first half finished – with us just on top & not allowing Corinthians time to play the ball around. Their defence were up against the slope, wind & sun in the second half, that, coupled with the relentless pressure our front 3 put on them meant it was only a matter of time before we managed to break them down.
10 minutes into the 2nd half we had a goal disallowed for offside & only a minute later we had the ball in the back of the net again courtesy of Jake Walton, who pounced onto a loose ball in the box to knock it around the Corinthians Keeper. Not long after & we made it 3-1, another good ball over the top from Jake Walton put Nat Harding through on Goal & he made no mistake from inside the penalty area. After some fantastic defending from Joe, Dean & Joel we managed to hold off all that Corinthians could throw at us & anything that did get through was dealt with comfortably by Matt in Goal. Around the 75 minute mark we won a free kick just inside the Corinthians half. Grant Esp stepped up to knock it into the penalty area & the ball bounced all the way into the top corner. 4-1.
Jake Walton was our man of the Match. He caused problems for the Corinthians defence for the whole game, he set up 2 goals & scored 1 in his first full 90 minutes for the Delphs.
Credit to the 3 officials who ran the game really well – I personally made sure they earned their money by making sure they were penalising my terrible foul throws – there was at least 5 of them, much to the delight of the lads on our side who I’ve berated for giving away so many foul throws at the start of the season!