18th March – Predictions & Preview

It’s Cup Semi-Final Weekend, with 4 teams battling it out at Moor Lane for a place in the final. In the league we have some interesting match ups, which could have a bearing on final league positions as we enter the last weeks of the season.

Many thanks to Dave Challoner of St Andrews for providing his predictions this week.

League Cup:

St Mary’s v Chawn Hill – St Mary’s returned normal service last weekend with a 5-2 home victory over Wednesbury. This is the 3rd successive season that St Mary’s have made it to this stage of the competition. Chawn continued their current hot streak with a 1-0 victory at Rowley, which pushed them up to 4th position in Division One. In the league meeting between the clubs at St Mary’s the home team came out winners 3-1.

Prediction:  Dave 4 – 0  Matt 3 – 1

St Matthews v City Church – Both of these team have had additional time to prepare for this semi final having not played last week (City haven’t played since 25/02). St Matthews are unbeaten in their last 3 games, which includes the 1-0 quarter final victory over Division One runaway leaders Clarendon. City have lost one of their last 8 games and are finding goals easy to come by in averaging over 3 goals a game since the turn of the year. The last league meeting between these teams saw a 2-2 draw at Rowheath on 17/12.

Prediction:  Dave 3 – 2  Matt 4 – 2

Division One:

Clarendon v Maple Leaf – With St Marys in cup action, Clarendon have the opportunity to stretch their lead at the top of Division One to 15 points this weekend, with St Mary’s having just 6 games left and Clarendon have a far superior goal difference that effectively gives them an extra point. Clarendon scored a regulation win over Connect last week in Handsworth. Maple Leaf have picked up 2 points in their last 8 games and are in what looks like a relatively safe 7th spot in Division One. However, Maple Leaf are just 5 points above 11th place and have played more games than those below them and are looking over their shoulder with a very difficult 3 games remaining this season.

Prediction:  Dave 5 – 1  Matt 5 – 0

Zion Athletic v Zion City10th v 11th at Brown Westhead Park this weekend, where both teams will be looking for a victory that will enable them to leapfrog Charlemont and climb out of the relegation zone. Zion dropped in to the relegation zone as a result of their 4-5 home defeat to Charlemont last week, succumbing to a very late strike by substitute James Wood. Zion City secured their first league win in 6 games defeating Maple Leaf 4-2 at home at weekend. The reverse fixture back in September saw Zion Athletic run out comfortable winners 6-1 in Wolverhampton, but something tells me this time it will be much closer.

Prediction:  Dave 3 – 3  Matt 2 – 2

Division Two & Division Two Cup:

Corinthians v Selly Oak –  Corinthians can make the most of St Michaels slip up last week to jump in to the final promotion position if results go their way this weekend. Corinthians haven’t played for 2 weeks, since their 1-1 draw away at Holy Trinity. Selly Oak occupy 6th place in Division Two, which will not change regardless of the result on Saturday. Last weekend Selly Oak took a point away from their trip to St Thomas.

Prediction:  Dave 4 – 2  Matt 3 – 1

Living Hope v St Michael – St Michael are now in a battle for the last promotion place and will be looking to bounce back from last weeks defeat to Renewal. St Michael have won their last 3 home games and have only suffered one defeat at home in 9 games this season to Division Two title hopefuls St Andrews back in November. After hitting a purple patch in the new year, Living Hope have suffered back to back defeats in recent weeks, last week suffering a heavy defeat to St Andrews at Hadley Stadium. Whilst recent form away from home is very good, Living Hope haven’t won at home in their last 6.

Prediction:  Dave 2 – 3  Matt 2 – 3

Renewal Solihull v Dudley Lions – Solihull scored an impressive 5-2 home win over St Michael last weekend and will be looking to back that up with a repeat of their league meeting with Dudley back in November when they ran out 7-4 winners at Lode Heath. Dudley have won their last 2 games, both games on the road, which will give them encouragement they can get a result this weekend. Dudley lost their first game in Group D to St Andrews, so they’ll need to win big and hope the final group result goes in their favour if they are to progress in the competition.

Prediction:  Dave 4 – 2  Matt 2 – 0

St Andrews v Amblecote Nomads – This games sees top verses bottom at Hadley Stadium on Saturday. St Andrews scored their 15th league win of the season in their 8-0 thumping of Living Hope to top the table and effectively secure promotion last weekend due to their healthy goal difference. Amblecote are on a 7 game losing streak and conceded their 100th league goal in their 3-1 defeat at Holy Trinity. Its been a difficult first season for Amblecote, but they should take heart that many of the teams in Division One started their WMCFL years with similar first seasons, learning from the experience and progressing in second and subsequent seasons, developing in to successful teams.

Prediction: Dave 7 -2 Matt 8 – 0

St Thomas v Brierley Hill AOG – A win for either team would see them jump up to 8th and top of the bottom half mini league in Division Two. St Thomas scored an impressive 6-1 victory in the reverse fixture at the start of the season. Brierley Hill have yet to secure a point since the turn of the year, suffering 6 consecutive defeats. Last weekend saw Brierley Hill lose 8-2 away at Monyhull in a Division Two Cup fixture.

Prediction:  Dave 4 – 2  Matt 3 – 1

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