Well Folks, firstly, let me start this weeks column by wishing you all a very Happy Easter and a reminder of the basis of this League because without Jesus Christ this League would not exist.
John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Easter is a time for celebration so please feel free to go to one of the many Churches that are part of this League and join in, or to simply find out what Christianity is all about. You will find a welcome at any of these Churches.
Looking back over the games in the last week, the obvious stand out fixture was the Cup Final on Monday night between Sheldon Community Church and Zion Athletic. It was definitely a tremendous advert for our League. The pace of the game was fast and never let up for 90 minutes. Whilst the 8-2 score line to Zion Athletic looks as though it was a fairly 1 sided affair, but it was still fairly close when Sheldon made it 4-2 with 20 minutes to go. The next goal was crucial and when Zion got it, then it was game over. Both sets of supporters were tremendous, but a special mention to Sheldon’s, who, even when they were 8-2 down continued to encourage their players on the pitch. It’s easier when you are winning but what a great show of support from them whilst losing.So it’s congratulations to Zion Athletic, who thoroughly deserved their victory, (a fact acknowledged to myself by the Sheldon lads in their changing room after the game and once again great sportsmanship). Zion have tasted defeat 3 years running in the Final and you would be hard pressed to find someone who said they didn’t deserve it. For Sheldon, maybe it’s something that they can take from the game and come back in next seasons Final and achieve a different result.
Now on to last Saturdays League games and for me, the stand out game was Living Hope Church vs Dudley Lions in Division 3. With Living Hope winning 3-1, it would seem that they have at least qualified as Runners Up, (it would take some major scorelines for Dudley Lions to pinch 2nd), but they will have their eyes fixed firmly on adding another 6 points in their last 2 games and hope to be Champions.
The other game in Division 3 saw the bottom 2 teams, Monyhull Church and Hawbush, slug it out in a goals galore game with Monyhull running out 4-3 winners. I tipped Hawbush to win but I was informed that this was like an old fashioned Cup game with both teams going for bust. This result means Monyhull leapfrog Hawbush in the table.
The last game concerning Division 3 Clubs was the Divisional Group ‘A’ Cup game between Place Of Refuge Community Church and Saint Michael. Whilst neither team could progress to the Semi’s when you go onto the pitch you forget about that and just play. Place Of Refuge won a close game 3-2.
Selly Oak Methodist’s relegation was confirmed with their 3-0 defeat at home to Renewal Solihull. Only 1 League game now remains in Division 2 which is between Selly Oak and Rockmount United, a game that a couple of weeks ago looked like a relegation decider.
The other game in Division Two saw Wolverhampton and Perton complete their season with a steady 4-1 win over Darkhouse. Wolverhampton, like Wollaston Free Athletic decided not to enter the Divisional Cup, therefore, both Clubs have now finished their season. Wollaston Free Athletic have also now folded.
I was not surprised that Connect Sports won their Group ‘A’ Divisional Cup game against Charlemont, but the 5-0 score line did. Connect seem to be scoring for fun lately, (any chance of popping down Villa Park Willis and telling them what to do…please!).
All Saints Olympic continue to apply as much pressure as they can at the top with a convincing 6-1 win against St Thomas’ Aldridge. A result that leaves St Thomas’ in desperate need of points.
Clarendon also found the net 7 times last weekend with a 7-0 rout of already relegated Corinthians SK. A result that keeps Clarendon aiming for 2nd place at best.
Rowley College turned City Church over 2-1 with 2 late goals in their match. I was chatting Pete from Rowley at the Cup Final, (never enough time to speak with this gentleman), and we laughed that I had predicted this score line and that he was panicking with 10 minutes left that they were 1-0 down and Kovacs’ Kolumn’s record for Rowley would lose its 100 per cent record! He was also surprised at my prediction! Since I started this ‘Kolumn’ Rowley have been in tremendous form! I think this result should secure a top 5 place come seasons end for them, something I believe they would have taken at the start of the season.
The last game in Division one ended with Halesowen Zion easing their relegation worries but at the expense of Sandwell United’s confirmed relegation. Halesowen Zion won 4-2 and whilst it is still mathematically possible for them to also go down, it looks highly unlikely. As for Sandwell United, I am sure that they continue to give their all, and that’s all anyone can ask of any player or team.
I will take this opportunity that whilst I state that Clubs are relegated and promoted in this column. the final decision on where teams end up next season is always subject to verification at the AGM. It all depends on if we lose teams and if we gain any new teams, before the structure of the Divisions and which Clubs are in each Division is decided.
This weekends preview:
2 huge games at the bottom of Division 1 with Rowley College hosting St Thomas’ Aldridge and Amblecote travelling to face Corinthians SK. If these results go as I think they will then St Thomas’ will almost certainly be down. I’m fully expecting Rowley to carry on their good form with a win over the Aldridge boys and also expect Amblecote to finally extinguish their relegation fears with a win over Corinthians. Zion Athletic play City Church and impressive as they were in the Final, I’m tipping City to bag all 3 points. If these forecasts prove correct then Zion would be the only team that St Thomas’ could catch, very unlikely! I fully expect Clarendon to continue their push for 2nd with a win over Sandwell United. Sheldon Community Church travel to play the other team from Zion Christian Centre, namely Halesowen Zion whose win last week virtually assures them of staying up. How much has the defeat in the Final taken out of Sheldon? I don’t think it will have done them a lot of harm actually, judging by their reactions in the dressing room afterwards. If you get beat by a better team on the day/night then it’s easier to move on to the next game. It’s when you lose a game that you should have won that can cause you some grief. Sheldon have been on a tremendous run and I fully expect them to refocus on this and take the next game in their stride. I think they will win, maybe only by 1 or 2 goals but a morale boosting win it will be.
The last League game in Division 2 sees Selly Oak Methodist host Rockmount United. The relegation place was decided last week and what could have been a last place decider is now a game for pride. I’m tipping Rockmount to edge this one.
2 games in the Division 2 Cup and the first one in Group ‘A’ sees Charlemont Star play Chawn Hill Church. It’s a game that Charlemont really need a win from if they are to progress. Chawn demolished Selly Oak in their first game in this competition but Charlemont will be a tougher nut to crack. I’m going for a home win to Charlemont.
First game in Group ‘B’ sees Renewal Solihull host Darkhouse. Solihull never recovered from the break due to the weather but this Competition gives them a chance to go again. For Darkhouse, I think their game against Rockmount will decide if they progress as I believe Renewal will be too strong for them and win this one.
I am fully expecting the race to be Champions of Division 3 to go to the last week of the League season. It is in Pye Green Tower’s own hands if they are to succeed but I believe they must win their last 2 games to do so. Living Hope Church also have 2 games left but they are both against bottom placed Hawbush. No disrespect to Hawbush but I fully expect Living Hope to win tomorrow and the following week. Should they do so, then Pye Green simply have to win both of their games and I believe that’s a tougher ask. They face Zion City tomorrow, a team very much in form. Indeed, they did Pye Green a favour by beating Living Hope a couple of weeks ago to put it back in their hands. Will Zion do to Pye Green what they did to Living Hope? They are definitely capable of doing so! Pye Green will need to be 100 per cent focused on this game and it’s one I am struggling to call. But if my half season forecast is to come true then I have to go with a Pye Green win, so if for no other reason than I hate to prove myself wrong I’m tipping a very narrow win to the Green boys.
If I’m tipping Hawbush to lose their last 2 games then last weeks win for Monyhull Church will mean they will not end up bottom. They play their last League game tomorrow against 3rd placed Dudley Lions and I cannot see anything but a win for the Lions. If this forecast rings true then Hawbush would only need 1 point to avoid ending up bottom from their 2 games against Living Hope, so Monyhull really need to give it everything they have got tomorrow. Division 3 has been great for me this season, in all likelihood, absolutely nothing decided until the last week.
Place Of Refuge Community Church play Saint Michael in their last League game of the season. Once again, 4th spot is undecided and either Zion City or themselves can grab it. I think Place Of Refuge will overcome Saint Michael and take the 3 points. However, they need Pye Green to win to grab that 4th place which would be a creditable final position in their debut season.
That’s my footballing comments, but please remember the initial comments made in this weeks ‘Kolumn’ please celebrate Easter and what it stands for.
Be Blessed People