Match Reports – Catch Up – Updated 14th March

Here are some match reports that have been sent in recently, firstly Pete Bennetts contribution regarding their match last Saturday followed up with 3 match reports from Joshua Briley of Delph Athletic. I have now added on this weeks report from Pete.

St Mary’s 3 vs 1 Rowley College, (13th April, 2019).

Not a full report today, as I was off to work just after the hour by which time I’d seen all the goals, watched two good teams struggling to cope with the wind and a frankly ‘rubbish’ pitch (a technical term in amateur football) and got thoroughly frustrated at our inability to ‘punch our weight’ in this league this season. We played St Mary’s first game of the season when they were the best team we’ve played this term and we gave them a decent game. Today they were a bare, but strong, eleven and played well on a pitch that suited them even less than it suited us but we had enough today to get the point we technically need to be safe on  our own  account and we blew it.

Kicking up the slope against the wind on the bumpiest of pitches we just needed to compete and we largely did and broke when we had the chance with Shola showing plenty of class up top.  St Mary’s tried to keep the ball as ever but also uncharacteristically used a measure of ‘route one’ and effectively creating a couple of good chances.  They had momentum but we added to this by conceding two comic goals. Firstly Pidd completely misjudged an ‘up and under’ which rather than soaring over bounced up into the roof of the net. Then Hayden conceded the softest penalty I’ve seen in 30 years when he went down in instalments and managed to knock their lad over with no need! Shola then warmed Phil’s hands with a lofted drive.  2-0 at half time: self-inflicted!

This was not over though because we now had the wind and slope and plenty of chances in the fifteen or so minutes I saw.  We were having plenty of advanced possession and Jack, Ben and Shola all had chances. We got a goal back when Ben forced it in after a scramble only to immediately concede when Ralph took on half of our team and won.  I walked away contemplating a last day of the season which may come down to goal difference.

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St Andrews Netherton 3 vs 1 Rowley College. (6th April, 2019).

Really good game of football today, which is the norm against St Andrews who are a team committed to playing football. They are a really well organised collection of technically adept and experienced players but they always give you a chance, as if playing the game the right way always takes precedence over grinding out results.  This is my only rationale for why they aren’t much higher in the league.  With an awareness that the relegation trap door is mostly but not entirely closed and both of our first choice centre backs absent (and Clarendon and St Mary’s still to play) we knew that this couldn’t merely be a leisurely end of season affair. When we found ourselves 3-0 down at half time, we may have been looking at a disaster but the attitude of the lads across the game and particularly the second half meant that by the end St Andrews were happy to see it out.

In the first 25 minutes Dave’s lads passed us to death: we couldn’t get the ball and when we did we were unable to keep it. They were just excellent but our lads were resolute and we allowed them few chances and when they did get in our keeper made a good save. By then they were already 1-0 up  with a corker: hardly a chance rather a formidable finish from the edge of the box. Then gradually we started to get into the game  with Josh always offering options (he was dangerous and disciplined today) and Brad and Matty Suffield providing attacking intent wide.  When Clive sent Matty clear on the left his cross was straight across the six yard box just out of Josh’s reach and at last we’d got them thinking.

Ironically (this is football after all) as we became more competitive, they became more ruthless.  Having failed to properly force home their dominance they threatened to kill us off firstly with a worldie: 25 yarder: unstoppable!  Then just before the break their lad rode a great recovering tackle from Kev and despite a brave save from the keeper squeezed in the rebound.  Even so Fin almost got one back immediately but just couldn’t force Brad’s expert chip over the line.  It was a difficult team talk because 0-3 down is a hard one to gloss but we’d worked hard and played well.  Mark made a decisive change, dropping himself to centre back, where he was superb (belying his 42 years alongside my man of the match Kev ) and Ben Smith provided a slogan for the second half: “Let’s just go out and enjoy it”.

Ben was instrumental in our greater threat in a midfield driven by Clive and with Fin terrific as ever. I think we dominated the second half though St Andrews always carried a threat and our defence had to be as good as it was with Matt Stanton and Joe also playing their parts.  What we had through was productive attacking intent and progressive substitutions with Shola returning to support Josh and Hayden offering drive on the left and Ken on the right. When we scored with 15 left (Josh’s reward for a terrific shift) it was clear the game wasn’t done but they defended desperately and well and we couldn’t make our good work pay.

I was proud of our lads today: they never gave up inspired by a player who started playing for Rowley before some of our lads today were born.  I also thought it was a decent advert for the quality of our league, supported by excellent officials in Jack, Steve and Mo against an opponent who are a credit to our league.

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Delph Athletic 2 vs 0 Christchurch Coseley, (16th March).

After the disappointment of a 2nd loss in a row last week against living hope & the small matter of a cup semi-final next week we were keen to make sure we put in a good performance today to build some momentum.
As soon as we arrived at our home pitch we realised just how windy it was, this meant it would be a day for football on the ground, which really suits us.
With a full squad we started to game on the front foot & pressed Christchurch Coseley all over the pitch & It wasn’t long before we started to create a few chances.
We forced a Corner & it fell at the feet of Ed Sutton who stabbed goal-ward for Jack Follis to tap in to make it 1-0 after about 15 minutes.
Our opposition then grew into the game & started to get on the ball a bit more, after a fantastic break saw them hit the bar we broke quickly on the counter & a ball over the top was ran onto by Nat Harding & Ed Sutton with Nat winning the race & taking the ball round the goalie for 2-0 after 25 minutes.
From there we really took control of the game, with our midfield putting in exceptional performances to ensure we maintained dominance on the ball.
HT – 2-0.
The 2nd Half continued in the same way the first half ended, Christchurch were playing with the wind meaning we were expecting a few balls over the top but in truth they couldn’t quite work out the wind & so it hampered their game.
Christchurch did try to move up a gear in the 2nd half but a solid performance from our defenders ensured that everything was dealt with comfortably. We continued to work hard on & off the ball with some great chances being created & unfortunately missed.
We held onto the 2-0 lead & whilst we were disappointed not to add to our first half goals it was a really good performance from everyone defensively to keep the clean sheet.
That’s our 3 games of the season against Christchurch now completed, with us winning 2 & them winning 1, both teams end on 6 goals scored & 6 goals conceded.
All 3 games have been really enjoyable to be a part of – Lots of goals, strong tackles & good football played but most importantly both teams have played & spectated in the true spirit of Jesus Christ. We look forward to playing against them again next season.
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Charlemont Star 2 vs 1 Delph Athletic, Cup Semi-Final, (23rd March, 2019).
After a convincing win against Christchurch the week before we came into this game with high hopes.
The game started well for us, we put Charlemont under really high pressure right from kick off & it worked in our favour as they were not able to get comfortable on the ball during the first 20 minutes or so.
During this time we were playing the ball around the pitch really well & created several chances that should have been converted.
Around 15 minutes in we had a corner that was floated dangerously into the back post & bounced through with no-one making contact, this was a clear sign that we may be able to get something from set pieces. A few minutes later we had another corner & once again the ball was played into the back post but this time a scramble ensued & the ball seemed to cross the line but the goal was not given & play continued. At this point we felt fairly hard done by, and a few moments later we won a free kick out on our right wing, the ball was put in & knocked on by one of our strikers and we felt it had bounced into the net at the back post. The referee pointed to the kick off but unfortunately for us didn’t blow his whistle & as charlemont start played on, much to our disbelief we thought we had had the ball in the back of the net again but still found ourselves at 0-0. (edit on this report: I spoke to the match officials involved on the day of the match regarding this decision. The referee did indicate a goal by the signal of his hand but looked over for confirmation off the assistant referee who indicated that his decision was that the ball had not entirely crossed the line… Neil Kovacs, league Secretary).
In typical fashion of football, charlemont then started to grow into the game & after we extinguished a few of their breaks they managed to swing a lovely cross into the back post from the right hand side that found the unmarked striker to head home for 1-0 at half time.
At half time we made a few changes & things picked up for us as we started the second half, we managed to find a breakthrough about 10 minutes into the 2nd half through Nat Harding.
From there we really grew in confidence & utilised the counter attack to create chance after chance after chance, all of which somehow managed to be saved or went wide.
With 5 minutes to go Charlemont then won a corner & had a man free to head home to make it 2-1, they managed to hold onto their lead & knocked us out the cup.
Overall a really frustrating day for us, 2 goals that may have been, 2 goals conceded that we should have had marked up but most importantly lots of clear cut chances missed.
Good Luck to Charlemont in the final, the day out on the whole for us was a great experience and all of the Charlemont team were a pleasure to play against.
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Delph Athletic 2 vs 1 St Thomas Aldridge. (30th March, 2019).
In Stark contrast to the previous 2 games, in this one, we were awful.
We couldn’t pass, we couldn’t track runners, we couldn’t shoot & we definitely couldn’t communicate on the pitch.
That being said, whilst everyone generally put in a below par performance, the effort put in was exceptional & everyone put a real shift in.
We took the lead early on after another great corner from Grant Esp was met by Jack Follis.
Ed Sutton then made it 2-0 shortly after with a lovely strike from the edge of the box.
St Thomas played some really nice football all game & in truth completely deserved the points. For us it was a real positive, we’ve felt hard done by in lots of games this season and felt we deserved more on many occasions so it was about time we didn’t deserve to win but managed to, an important 3 points for us & next up Dudley Lions.
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