Delph Athletic 1 vs 1 Amblecote Nomads
Match Report from Joshua Briley, Delph Athletic:
After taking a heavy beating the week before vs Dudley Lions. The Delphs were intent on re-grouping against top of the league Amblecote Nomads.
With a depleted squad (2 Emergency signings – Nat Wallis & Liam Walton) & 2 players over 45 in the match day squad (Matt Slater & Liam Walton) the Delphs started the game the same way we had played throughout pre-season, but had not yet done in the league campaign.
We were well organised at the back, with lots of movement in midfield & options going forward. The football once again flowed really nicely with John Beall & Luke Thompson finding themselves controlling the midfield right from the start of the game. On Many occasions this season we have outplayed teams in the middle of the park & this game was no exception. Ben Mee & David Harrison were often found out wide with lots of space out wide. Matt Kindred in goal was always keen to start the football from the back, finding Jack slater & Liam Walton at full back to start the possession play from deep.
Whilst we had so many players away, we did struggle with creativity – Although we had the majority of the ball in the first half there were only half chances with a John Beall Volley & a Nat Wallis shot.
For the majority of the first half the Delphs continued to do the basic things we had been trying to in previous weeks, there were no Amblecote runners left untracked, there was lots of positive talking on the field & for the first time in our short history, there were no foul throws in the first half!!
On the stroke of half time Amblecote gave away a free kick not far from the edge of their penalty area. Nathanael Harding stepped up after watching Luke Thompson Blaze an earlier free kick well over the bar. Nat struck the ball sweetly, and with a generous deflection from the Amblecote wall the ball found it’s way into the top corner.
Half time – 1-0.
In the second half Amblecote came out looking to strike back, they saw more of the ball & forced some great saves from Matt Kindred in goal from long shots.
The Delphs continued to perform well though & the 2 Nat’s upfront were consistently providing an option for everyone to look too.
Stand in Manager Grant Esp then decided to make a change, with David ‘Mo Farah’ Harrison making way for Jamie chapman – If ever there was a risk for a foul throw, this was it.
Not long after his introduction to the game at RB, Chapman was getting well stuck in with some solid defending. This was until the time came for him to stand in & take a throw in on the half way line. It’s a well known fact that Jamie has very weak wrists due to a break in his teenage years. There are also rumours that he is starting a campaign to use a size 3 football instead of a size 5 football. In truth, the extra weight of the size 5 football took its toll on Jamie and his throw in resulted in the Delphs first & only foul throw of the game.
The Delphs continued to try to play nice football in the second half however the depleted squad started to tire which meant Amblecote were able to carve out some long distance chances which if they weren’t blocked by Joel Gooding were saved well by Matt Kindred.
On around 75 minutes Amblecote then won a corner which was whipped in towards the goal mouth – This saw a scramble to the ball & GK Matt Kindred unfortunately didn’t make the connection he’d intended and the ball flew into the net directly from the corner. 1-1
From there on the challenge was clear for us, Whilst we are learning a lot about 11 a side we have at times this season been a little naive when trying to hold onto games. Today was the exception & what we hope will be the start of some momentum.
From the moment Amblecote Equalised they never looked like taking the lead, it was all the Delphs from then in.
2 more substitutions for the Delphs (Ed Sutton on for Nat Wallis & Grant Esp on for Jack Slater – Both players came on whilst carrying injuries).
On 90 Minutes Grant Esp then went on a run down our Left hand side, he took on a few players and laid the ball off to Nat Harding who struck a left footed shot just inches wide of the top right hand corner from the edge of the box. The Full Time Whistle then blew. 1-1 FT.
Yet another game this season we have come away from feeling we should have taken more from it but a lot of promise from this game, I’m sure if you’d have offered us a 1-1 draw at the start of the game against top of the league we’d have been happy with it, but to come off the pitch feeling very disappointed not to win tells you a lot about the game & us as a team.
Good to see the lads starting to build on the things we speak about in pre-match team talks. We’re slowly learning to do the basics & if we can remain as organised & controlled as we did against Amblecote whilst adding in some of our missing more creative players we have no doubt that we can start to carve our results in the league.
Our Iconics Man of the Match for this game was Nathanael Harding for his non-stop running up front.
Next up Corinthians SK away from home who currently sit in 2nd Place in the league having just narrowly lost 2-1 to 3rd place Living Hope Church United.
Saint Michael 2 vs 2 Rowley College
Match Report from the ever reliable Pete Bennett, Rowley College
That we should have won this game three times over (and I reckon it was the third ‘winning draw’ we’ve had this season and it’s made a massive difference to where we find ourselves) is of no consequence in comparison to the delight (and relief) I feel about our performance, particularly with reference to last week’s debacle. Everything that was missing then was present here in spades. On a narrow but flat and firm Academy pitch in a game that kicked off in a mini blizzard, we restored our self-respect and identity. Though missing four offensive players, we were both positive and effective and might have had a hat-full.
St Michael, of course, are a side who want to get it down and play in true continental style and it was pleasing to see us go head to head with this in midfield where we had been so poor last week. With Clive back to hold, Mark was able to field a strong four with himself and Fin in the middle and Ben and Hayden wide. All had terrific games today as did Josh up top, leading the line with power and style and it was difficult to pick a man-of-the match for us today (always a good sign). I’d probably give it to Ben Smith , though in doing this I am giving further question to why I took him off with 15 minutes to play.
By then he’d caused them numerous problems down the right including setting up the goal that sent us in 1-0 despite playing up the hill and against the cold wind. We’d looked good from the start but the goal was the culmination: Haydon won it, Clive slid Ben in and his cross was tucked away by Josh. By this point St Michael’s hadn’t had a shot though two quickly followed and Lee was again on top form with a stretch having been wrong-footed and a full-length save. We then sought a penalty for what those close claimed was a clear hand ball, though nether Andy (who was again excellent) nor the lino had a clear view of it any more than we did on the side. The appeals masked a chance for Josh that the keeper brilliantly saved.
Second half and the game should have been over as we over-ran them. Ben shot over when he should have squared it, Josh headed past after an exquisite first time pass in from Mark (who just got better and better) and Josh then drove wide having done everything right. Then against the run of play a smart counter attack brought them an equaliser and before we could get over the shock a freak bounce flicked off the newly arrived Matt Williams’ head to deceive Lee and leave them a tap in. We did not hesitate: we pushed Mark up alongside Josh and he quickly volleyed an equaliser though despite having time we just couldn’t manage a winner and even had a late scare when they had the ball in our net (thankfully via a hand). So frustrating but also so much better than last week! Good luck to St Michael’s for the season.