5th February – Update/Match Reports

Most of my free time this week has been taken up with addressing the Fixtures situation. With over 50 matches now rescheduled I really am hoping we do not lose any more games to the weather. Although as I type, it is blowing a gale and dark clouds are looming. I will be looking into the Prediction Challenge Update a little later tonight, but for now it’s time for a bit of a catch up for those of you who like reading the Match Reports that are sent in. I always look forward to Rowley’s Reports from my old buddy Pete Bennett and for those like myself, we have 4 reports from him dating back to the 28th November. It may seem a while ago but the reports are well worth a read. We also have a report on Wednesbury Baptists win over Charlemont Star on the same day. There are also 2 reports from Saint Michael which are more recent..both from January. It would be nice to see an increase in the Match Reports sent in every week. Anyway, with no further comment here you are:

ROWLEY COLLEGE 3 WOLVERHAMPTON AND PERTON 2
28th November

It’s a strange league this year with, St Marys aside, little consistency of results. Luckily we were not distracted by W&P’s sometimes indifferent recent results, preferring to prepare for the powerful and effective side we faced last year and we were right to do so: W&P were excellent today. On a heavy pitch they participated wholly in a full-blooded game of football that was good to watch, if painful because so close. My guess is that both sides would have agreed that a score draw would have been the fairest reflection of the action but equally that my gut feeling was that there would be a winner. These are, as we all know, satisfying games to win.

We welcomed Chrissy Staien back to replace the absent Joe, otherwise we fielded the team that beat Connect. We were prepared for a hard game and got a little more even that we bargained for as W&P started brightly down the hill. They breached our usually steadfast defence within the opening five minutes when their centre half, who looked to have plenty of pedigree, brought the ball out of defence, waltzed around a couple of challenges and drilled past Lee from the edge of our penalty box. This heralded a very shakey period for us that they bossed and they were most unlucky not to get a penalty when a scramble in the box saw a desperate challenge from Olly appear to down their lad. These are the frustrations of all football and the ref, Lee Small, was very much up with play and unwilling to accept whinging from either side. I don’t think he had a bad game. In fact I think the frustration of the penalty appeal was much more about W&P’s failure to go further ahead when they had us on the ropes.

This was compounded by the fact that even in this period we were creating chances and Ben Fowler in particular giving them problems. Also these chances were fashioned by confident passing football which in the end got us very much into the game. First young Tom pushed wide back post, then from a flowing move which left him free on the penalty spot he forced their excellent goalkeeper into a fine fingertip save. Christy also scooped one over following a fine flowing passing move. By now the game was an excellent advert for wmcfl with both sides at it hammer and nails. Approaching half time we got a clear penalty when Ben was tripped and Christy despatched it. Then we managed to get our noses in front when Ben breached their back line and finished clinically.

For many teams that might have been the killer blow. W&P might have done enough to go in ahead, in fact they ended up 2-1 down! We started the second half with the advantage of the slope and early doors Ben went around the keeper only to hit the post but this was not the end and W&P came back at us. It was a great test for Matt, Matty, Chris and Barber (who had his best game for us) at the back and Ben Smith, South (vital in the second half) and Olly(our best player on the day) in the middle. We were also dangerous but couldn’t get the third goal. The warning signs were there as Lee tipped a goal shot over before they equalised with an incredible twenty five yard chip which dropped perfectly over Lee’s head. That gave them a second wind and put everything back into the balance.

However there was to be a final twist connected to one advantage we had today: we had two subs and W&P a bare eleven. We deployed Nuni early in the second half and he gave them further problems but at 2-2 we sent on midfielder Lee Inett for Christy and pushed Nuni forward. Lee it turned out provided the crucial pass that sent in full back Chrissy Staien to cooly take the winner. All the best to W&P: a really good side.

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WEDNESBURY BAPTIST 5 – 3 CHARLEMONT STAR
28th November

What a difference a week can make in this beautiful game that we all love, last week against St Marys, we created far more chances and only managed to put one of them away, yet this week we come out scoring 5!

The Churchfields Derby would have been a great game for the neutral with both teams playing some good football and battling hard, maybe the fact that there were friends on opposing sides also added some fuel and desire to want the bragging rights but nevertheless a fantastic game to have been a part of.

The opening 20 minutes were fairly even with us shading possession in the more dangerous areas, the game being largely played in the middle, which Nick was absolutely bossing for us, showing us how much we missed him last week. Nick’s battling determination is what led to our first goal has he slid in to win his tackle and in turn knocked the ball into Pete’s feet who superbly with only one touch turned his marker and played the ball in behind the defender to release Tino who made no mistake with the finish 1-0. This had obviously knocked the wind out of the Charlemont players as this was the beginning of 4 goals in just under 5 minutes which put us firmly in control of the game! Firstly, Chris Thomas produced a Martin Skrtel-esque volley that centre halves shouldnt be capable of producing 2-0, which was followed by an own goal, which Jack tried to calm and no doubt the Star play would have much preferred but the general consensus from everyone when asked was that the only way it could be awarded was has an own goal, Sorry Jack! 3-0. Completing the rout was Craig, who straight from kick off pressured their defender into a bad touch with some excellent pressing high up the pitch then in his words used his ‘peripheral vision to spot the keeper racing off his line’ before producing an exquisite inch perfect chip with his weaker left foot (he wanted to make sure i got that part in) that left the keeper with no chance of stopping it hit the back of the net. The rest of the first half continued with Charlemont continuing to play their football and look for a way back into the game whilst we seemed to go off the boil a little (coasting on a 4-0 scoreline perhaps) the half ended on a high for us with some amazing footwork being shown by Tino who makes the ball look like its glued to his foot when he left 4 Charlemont players on the ground and unfortunately couldnt finish for what would have been a definite goal of the season contender had he finished off the move. Half time 4-0.

The second half started off pretty much the same as the first had ended with both teams competing heavily in the middle of the park until Nick had to come off with an injury following an heavy tackle from a Star player. This swung the midfield battle slightly has Sean got up to speed with the game and the ever dangerous Jay Holder dropped deeper to get on the ball and create things. Jay then went on to score a very well taken shot which moved in the air leaving stand in keeper Chris with little chance of saving it has it finally settled in the far bottom corner, this gave Charlemont some of their fight back and they upped their game yet again and it was there chance to enjoy some possession in dangerous areas. They got their reward when they scored their second after yet again some wonderful work out wide by Jay Holder who squared the ball across forcing our keeper into a very smart save but unfortunately the ball fell to another Star player for just a tap in, 4-2 and the game burst into life once more. I think this also woke us up from our slumber knowing that our comfortable 4-0 lead had been halved with the best part of 25 minutes still to be played and we started to get ourselves going again and another wonderful passing move ended up with Craig finishing his 2nd of the game and gave us back a 3 goal cushion 5-2. With around 15 minutes left of the game our top goalscorer so far this season Fidell returned from injury replacing Pete. This gave us a different approach to the game and we were unlucky not to add to our goal tally with some well taken attempts that just evaded the goal. With pretty much the last kick of the game Star got another goal back after a well struck free kick from Jay was parried away by keeper Chris resulting in a bit of a goalmouth scramble and a Star player getting the rub of the green to get the all important touch that managed to stroke it into the net. Full Time 5-3.

A great game of football for the neutral (there were quite a few there – one spectator had originally been walking his dog but decided to stop and watch, not one of your spies was it Neil ?) A great team performance to return back to winning ways following last weeks loss and full credit to Charlemont Star, a great bunch of lads who put up a fight even when 4-0 down if they continue to play the way they did today they will get themselves away from the lower end of the table easily.

A huge thanks to the officials as always, also.

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MONYHULL CHURCH 1 ROWLEY COLLEGE 5
5th December

Full credit to Monyhull in every respect. Firstly to John who kept us informed across a difficult weather week, including the possibility of switching if the worst came to the worst, through to an 8.15am pitch inspection to confirm a game before we travelled. Truth is that the notorious Rowheath sponge turned out merely soft underfoot but a seemingly hurricane-force wind did its best to ruin the game. Not since the almost legendary winds at Rowley College, where we once went in 4 nil down to a wind-assisted Chawn and ended up 4-4 when the wind equally obliged us second half, have I seen a game so affected by the weather. If anything it hurt the home side most since, as many have said, Monyhull are a good young footballing side and in their number 10 (Oli Smith?)have one of the best players I’ve seen this season. They pass the ball well and lack only a little in experience and perhaps a clinical touch upfront.

What we have though is a proper solidity and attitude which did us proud in these difficult conditions. Lee Inett came in for the absent Olly and had a good game in the middle as did Mark and Matt Stanton at the back continues to impress wherever he plays. This game was about the first half and our momentum. The wind howled in the direction of their right back as he faced up to Fowler our most dangerous player. Ben had been behind them twice early. The second time he forced a corner which he whipped into the ringer. Their keeper tried to punch but got little on in and it fell to Mark who poked it from close range into the roof of the net. Our keeper Lee often talks about the wind as a keeper’s least favourite conditions and do it proved for their custodian. No sooner had they got back involved it was 2-0 when a decent cross from Tom Cartin found itself into the net: it was a ‘gimme’. Then Christy was held for a fairly soft penalty and Monyhull knew it wasn’t going to be their day. Christy converted and when Mark got his second from another wind-assisted/keeper’s nightmare goal we were able to breathe more easily.

We were aware the second half would be harder and Monyhull did not disappoint but we were also able to fashion further chances with Ben Smith always an option going forward. They also had intent and also created chances. A penalty for hand ball gave them further encouragement and we had to remain on our metal to ‘keep the back door closed’. Matt Williams was a dominant force though today. Luckily we then seemed to get a second wind and despite being reduced to ten men we finished the stronger with Benna rounding the keeper and ‘creating’ an own goal (the lad was desperately trying to clear it) to make it 5-1. All the best to Monyhull and congratulations to our lads who once again delivered performance and result.

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WOLVERHAMPTON AND PERTON 1 ROWLEY COLLEGE 4
12th December

Another epic encounter with Wolves & Perton today which produced in difficult conditions a quality game with two teams intent on playing football. The score line did not reflect the closeness of the game: when they scored at 0-3 they were sure they could recover something from the game and we had to be very much on our mettle. However, paradoxically, while 1-4 was hard on W&P, it did not flatter us: we scored four good goals and might have had four more at least!

Thanks are due firstly to Jon Nelson who allowed the game to go ahead on a heavy pitch and then did his best to let the game flow. Still lacking Olly and with Stanton only fit enough for the bench, we pushed Clive into midfield and Fowler into the centre. This was technically 4-1-4-1 but functioned much more fluidly with Christy the fulcrum of a powerful attacking machine. When W&P started much the brighter, it was Christy who powered past their centre back and slotted us in front as part of a man-of the-match performance: his hold up play was excellent.

This was, however, most importantly a team effort from Lee in goal through two cracking full backs, Chris and Matt Williams (who ended with what looked like a wig of mud: think Action man with Eagle-eyes™ circa 1977), Tom and Clive wide, South and Ben central and Benna supporting Christy (and Matt and Sammy as subs). We are presently a difficult side to break down AND a side with goals (a decent combination). First half saw close efforts from Benna, Mark and Joe but also two more goals. Firstly a throw from the left was dummied by South to put in Benna who stroked it home. Then the McKenzie- Fowler forward combination linked for Chisty to set up Benna for his second.

The half time chat at 0-3 was upbeat but wary. It is a measure of their threat that we did not feel secure. We expected a reaction and got it but from both sides and we were still having the better chances on an increasingly muddy pitch. Christy was particularly frustrated when he fluffed his lines after Benna set him up in a flowing counter attack. Meanwhile our defence was heroic until one of their lads cracked in a beauty from outside the box . For ten minutes we were under siege and they were close on a couple of occasions. Then Clive, who was so upset last week by his red card, made amends by exchanging passes and then outpacing and outfoxing their back line and slotting in. Even then there was time for the busy Sammy to volley just over. W&P kept going until the very end: all the best to Adam and his lads. Happy Christmas from me: I’m off to Lapland with my family so won’t be around next Saturday.

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Chawn Hill Church 1 Rowley College 3

23rd January

Mike was off on his travels in the uplands today but in touch with the game by the wonders of technology!

mike-and-Phil

For those of us who have been in WMCFL a good while, a game against Chawn Hill will always be a big game. When we arrived a quarter century ago they were the dominant team, winning leagues and competing for everything and did so for a good many years. And that connection to the glory days still stalks the touchline in the form of Steve Knight who is currently doing a decent job of bringing Chawn back to the top table with a mixture of good young lads and familiar faces. Whether they are helped by their home pitch, which resembles a farmer’s field with posts, I don’t know. It looks like the pitch from the seminal British film Kes!

We were without Mark(flued up on the bench) as well as Clive and Stanton but exceptional efforts from Matt Williams, Barber and little Lee meant we maintained a strong starting eleven with Sammy Nelson leading the line and Christie dropping into midfield. We started well on a difficult surface and created a series of openings: Sammy, Ben Smith and Benna all missed one on ones. Chawn too though were at it and took the lead when Bedders powered in an excellent back post header from a corner. They then had a dominant twenty minutes and missed a couple of proper chances while we struggled a little with the conditions. However we were very much in the game and had the wherewithal to create chances with the two Bens, Fowler and Smith (man-of-the-match for me) looking particularly likely. I think it was Olly though who helped on the crucial through ball and Sammy who did everything right: chased on, steadied himself, drew the keeper and slotted it home. Half Time 1-1.

We were better and more dominant second half, more assured at the back (as usual) and playing more football in the middle where Christie was the organiser and Ben and Olly the energy while little Lee held things together. We began to exert pressure and missed a couple of chances. Young Tom came on and looked good and we ultimately sent Fowler down the middle as he provided the greatest threat though not before the game had turned in a moment. First Chawn, who never give up , seemed sure to retake the lead but with Lee stranded Barber miraculously cleared it off the line and then to rub slat into wounds Benna’s last act out left was to spot the keeper off his line and plant a lofted drive from 20 yards and wide into the far corner. New signing Brett came on and did well and thankfully Benna ran on to score his second and make the game safe, though Chawn caused us problems to the very end.

All the best to Steve and his lads and to an inexperienced ref who kept his head when not everything went right for him. We all have to start somewhere.

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Saint Michael 2 Dudley Lions 1

23rd January

Welcome back !!

Winter was full of rain and most of league games has been called off every week. 4 weeks break from football is usually bad for any team but also every player is hungry for play.
We were pleased to hear that game will be played and we came in good numbers and also few extra players came down to support us.

After good warm up set up by Pawel Smigielski we start up strong and we took control over the whole pitch. Our today football was a football I would love to see every week. Ball was going from player to player making Dudley Lions run a lot. Marcin Galuszka always took his time to drag their player in for extra 20 yards run. Short passes and great ball possession give us 1:0.
All started on our half a after 10-15 passes ball been delivered by Michal Rozalski in between 2 center back to Robert Zaleski who control ball on 11 yards and lob goalkeeper.
That give us extra boost and we carry on with this great football this day. Sadly we couldn’t fix more goals out of it.

This was first game where we just went for break to grab water as there was nothing to talk about.
All we could do it’s just carry on with what we done first half.

We start last 45 minutes not bad but not as good as first half. Also with Dudley Lions back to field with stronger football. 15 min in to that half Dudley Lions create some good chances but they didn’t finished them off and that was punished by us on other end when Patryk Jasicki break from left wing in to middle and with open pass to Janusz Cyran give him perfect chance on front of goalkeeper. Janusz put goalkeeper on floor and shoot to empty goal.
10 minutes later Dudley Lions find back of net. They won free kick 30 yard from goal on left side and they delivery ball in to far post where 4 of their players break thru and first to ball finished it off.
This was our bad line movement and we have been punished straight away.
They push more players in to middle and start playing 3-5-2 and that gives us change on counter strikes. Few of them should be finished by Arek Dabrowski but he was unlucky this morning and when finally he scored 3rd goal for us linesman show off side position.

Excellent football overall and well deserved win and 3 point. Keep working boys!!

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Saint Michael 0 St Thomas’ Aldridge 1

30th January

Hello everybody.
Saturday game has been lost after good game but unable to produce any goals. We start this game with couple changes to our first team and with good 3 subs ready to go in any time they need to be on.
First 45 minutes was mostly played on middle of the pitch as we straggle to put good 3-5 passes that reach others. Poor passing gives us bad ball possession so most of our attempt was ended up before 20 yard. Our left and right defenders was also struggling today with this so we were unable to start short or drive ball to wingers. A lot of misjudged pass and dribbling in between St Thoas’ Aldridge players was ended up with losing ball by ball and to build up anything good we had to work more and more still without result. St Thomas’ Aldrige has create some danger to our goalkeeper but he saved it or they miss their chances from corners.
Our chances was mostly saved by goalkeeper as shot was unprepared or weak that give goalkeeper no work at all to save it.

Second half we started a bit different. Kuba Wieczorek start as centre midfield pushed Robert Zaleski to upfront and Patryk Jasicki become winger. This was not bad move as 10 min in to game we create our best chance but Robert Zaleski blow it up. He was set up to open space by midfielder he took goalkeeper on full speed and make poor shoot that was saved by defender who was running back to support own goal. 65 minutes in to game we bring our first subs but first 10 mintues Tobiasz Cichy was not used at all by other players and he was struggling to show anything.
Then we took off Robert Zaleski and Arek Dabrowski goes upfront to fight for some goals but luck of chances he couldn’t produce any.
Also we took out Patryk Jasicki and replaced him with Adrian Milowski who bring some good fight at middle but making unprepared shoot 30 yard away from goals give us nothing then disappointment.
Once we took of Patryk Jasicki other players start using Tobiasz Cichy on other wind and we have had few good runs on this side but without good final pass or enough pass to give chance to other to have a go for goal.
We were pushing them all over to find this last breath and win this they come up with something most unpredictable. As they clear ball in to our 35 yard Marcin Galuszka run from goal to clear it off and Michal Proszek went on same ball with lack off communication ball went above them and next to that ball was runner from St Thomas’ Aldridge who place it to empty goal and produce winner goal 1 minute before the end. In my eyes, not a fair loss, but that’s football!

Heads up boys we still fighting for point.

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