Review – 21st November, Divs 1 and 2

Part Two of last weekends review begins with 1 of 2 Match Reports from Division 2 and 1 of 2 received over the last 24 hours, (the 2nd regards the St Mary’s vs Wednesbury Baptist game). The first is off Rob from Saint Michael’s:

Saint Michael 2-4 Brierley Hill A.O.G

Our first half performance was really poor as we struggle to clear ball and each time Brierley Hill shot they score. Even delivery from corner kick has land on far post top corner and with that much luck we simple couldn’t do much about it.
Before Brierley Hill start scoring we have had few chances with Patryk Jasicki shot landed on post and couple more shots saved by goalkeeper. Also we were strong only on counter attacks.
We would like to forget about this 45 minutes so lets go straight to second half where we actually pick up game and we were able to do small come back.

We came out to second hald with 0:4 on board and there was not much to lose, we just put all on one card and with 2 new centre midfield we start playing better football.
Our first goal was scored by Mateusz Puzniak who finish small flick ball from Robert Zaleski with excellent header and there was hope that we can get back.
Not long after that Pawel Graczyk could score but great save from goalkeeper and ball went out on tips of his fingers.
When Janusz Cyran was trying to go pass defenders they foul him and our chance to score goal came even closer. Patryk Jasicki place ball 20 yards from goal and with superb shoot he give no chance to goalkeeper.
With 2 goals already on and 20 minutes to end we push and push a lot but great defending and first class goalkeeper gave us no chance to find more goal this morning.

Great to Brierley Hill for win but we will do our best to get back those point when we visit them at South Road.

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So a cracking away win for Ian Baker’s lads who having won their last 3 games put themselves in the mix regarding promotion places, currently sitting in 4th place as 1 of 3 teams on 18 points.

The leaders though are 5 points ahead of the Hill lads and 4 away from 2nd placed Dudley Lions. Maple Leaf Rovers Q.M.C smashed 9 goals past Sandwell United in their 9-2 win. Micah Lyons scored a hat-trick but even that took second stage to Kiran Kellman who hit the back of the net 4 times. Nathan Hayes and Simeon Ellis popped their other goals in. The goal scoring stats have been updated and Kiran Kellman has popped in 16 goals for Maple Leaf in the League so far, almost half of their total. It’s always helpful when you have someone who has a natural finishing instinct and he seems to have that at the moment.

Second placed Dudley Lions lost ground on the leaders with their opponents on the day, St Matthew’s Walsall having 3 different players scoring 2 apiece. St Matt’s have only lost the 1 game so far and whilst they currently sit mid table they do have a number of games in hand. Kevin Humpage was one of their players who scored 2 and he is only 4 behind Kiran on 12 league goals.

Living Hope Church United are fading away from the promotion race and it is their report next. It’s a joint report from Callum and Stephen:

Hawbush 7-3 Living Hope Church United

Living Hope decided to play with a Back three only to find themselves 3-1 down at half time. Second half we changed things around only to see our emergency signing substitute sent off for swearing after only ten minutes on the pitch. Our ten men battled on bringing the game back to 4-3. Sadly, chasing the game we eventually folded as we conceded a further three late goals. Congratulations to Hawbush who deserved their win. So LHC couldn’t break their current slide down the table, losing to bottom-placed Hawbush this morning, and ending with nine men. However, Josh Steventon opened his account with a brace in smooth fashion, with new boy Rion Francis-Mills also scoring his first for the club.

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Benjamin Walton bagged 4 goals for the Hawbush lads giving Hawbush a 3 point cushion from bottom placed St Thomas’ Aldridge.

St Thomas’ remain rooted to the bottom following a 5-0 defeat to Zion City, a win that takes them into 3rd place and like Brierley Hill sit on 18 points. Zion have their 2nd consecutive 5-0 win in the League and are currently the leading scorers in Div 2.

The final game to cover from Div 2 is Selly Oak Methodists 3-2 away win over Corinthians SK. A result that makes Selly Oak the 3rd team on 18 points but sitting in 5th place. 15 of their 18 points have come from their last 5 games, so definitely a team in form.

As mentioned above, I have received a Div 1 match report in the last 24 hours regarding the St Mary’s vs Wednesbury Baptist game from John Myatt of St Mary’s;

St Mary’s 5-1 Wednesbury Baptist

Since joining the league it was only a matter of time before Wednesbury were competing at the top of Division One and in our first league game against them we knew they would have a point to prove. We went in with a strong team although missing Lutwyche in the goal, luckily we managed to get Morton to cover as an emergency signing who played very well in tricky conditions.

We started up the hill and against a strong wind, but put in our best performance for a number of weeks. We largely kept a very good Wednesbury front line at bay, although they did force a number of corners and half chances, as well as enjoying good possession in midfield. At the same time we carved out a number of excellent chances to extend our lead on the break, which had been given to us by a calm Locke finish following a good run by Coleman on around 15 minutes. However some lax finishing meant that it was only 1 v 0 at half time. HT 1 v 0

Having battled first half we were able to exert much more pressure at the start of the second and once we forced a second through a Tink header from an excellent Harris corner we took the game away from Wednesbury, scoring regularly. Firstly a huge kick from Morton got taken over the defender in the wind and Wiedeman cut in from the left and slotted in. We then made a couple of changes which allowed Wednesbury to get back into the game and create a number of good chances ,and although Wiedeman added a fourth to settle nerves they made it 4 v 1 when our defence were too slow to react following a great Morton save and the ball was squared for an easy finish. This led to more pressure from Wednesbury as they sensed they could find a way back into the game with 15 minutes left, however a great passing moved found Tink on the right who beat his man and chipped the keeper from a tight angle (Having taken myself off I will give him this one as deliberate as I had a great view!), great finish!

Overall it was a fantastic performance, much improved on previous weeks. A long trip to Renewal Solihull next week who we have not played for a number of years so it will be an interesting game.

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I think that’s everything covered apart from the Prediction Challenge…..haven’t had time to check it yet so that will be in this weeks preview

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Last Saturday saw the 2nd Round of the Cup completed with Clarendon progressing through to the Quarter-Finals courtesy of a 4-2 win over Charlemont Star. Report of James from Charlemont.

We arrived at Clarendon ready for the League Cup game following last week’s postponement. The pitch was in a good condition despite being waterlogged only a week ago, but the blustery wind caused a lot of issues for both sides throughout.

We started the game quite slowly, as seems to be the case so often and we fell behind on 15mins to a headed goal from a corner. A free header at the back post – well taken but soft defending on our part to leave a free header 6 yards out. We quickly got ourselves back on level terms with Danny Holland scoring direct from a corner, with a little bit of assistance from the wind which foxed the Clarendon keeper as the ball sailed into the far post. We were dealt a blow before half-time as Haydn Ellis had to come off with a hamstring strain, to be replaced by Lewis Cox in a like-for-like substitution.

Half-time: 1-1

Once again we started slowly and fell behind for the second time in the game only 2 minutes after the break. Once again we showed a bit of fight to get ourselves back into the game and equalised through a well taken goal by Jack Evans, finishing coolly after Tom Collins had hit the post. This goal capped a fine display in centre-midfield by Jack. Soon after the goal, we had to shuffle our defence with Josh Chell coming off injured and being replaced by Brad Tiernan. Only 5 minutes later, we fell behind for a third time, another well taken goal by Clarendon, but another which we should have prevented. Into the last 15minutes, and we started throwing everything forward to look for another equaliser and force the game into extra-time. Chris James was sent on up front in place of defender Rich Stevens to add a bit more height and strength to the forward line and this nearly paid dividends as we created a few close chances. It was on the break though, that we were punished once again as Clarendon scored their fourth as we were pushing forward and left ourselves short at the back.

The final score was 4-2, but we can be pleased with how we fought throughout the game and on another day the scoreline could have been different. The game was played in a good spirit throughout, and we wish Clarendon all the best in their continued cup run.

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So with 2nd placed Clarendon playing in the Cup, leaders St Mary’s came up against 3rd placed Wednesbury Baptist. A win for Wednesbury would keep thing interesting at the top but once again St Mary’s showed how much quality they have with a convincing win. 2 goals apiece for Andrew Beeson and Luke Wiedeman with Thomas Locke popping in the other one were more than enough for them as they won 5-1, Craig Abbey slotting home Wednesbury’s consolation goal. After 8 games they are now 4 points clear of 2nd placed Clarendon and have a game in hand. They haven’t scored the most or even conceded the least but they sit top of the pile at the moment and that’s what counts.

Is it too early to be saying St Mary’s are Champions elect and the others are chasing 2nd place?

Well Rowley may well have their eyes on trying to get there. They are currently 7 points off it but do have 2 games in hand. Having had a few weeks off it would be interesting to see how they would perform after their time off. I will let Pete Bennett tell the tale:

Connect Sports 0-5 Rowley

It’s hard not to feel for Willis and Vernon who are going through one of those periods which come along every now and then where nothing goes right and even getting eleven players on the pitch seems each week like a labour of Hercules. There is a genuine affection for these guys shown by our senior players some of whom have played for Willis or had great battles with his teams. Based on a great season last year and a terrific performance against us earlier in this campaign, I’d tipped Connect to be in contention. They still have good players but are not getting enough of them consistently out and while this was by no means easy today we always looked likely to win the game. However with Martin Lees still leading the line with great skill and Robbie Hunter offering a captain’s performance in adversity (and great to see Jim Wilkes, a top bloke and terrific footballer who I think has answered the call) I’m sure they’ll come though.

We, though, are a difficult proposition for any team these days and despite missing Clive and Chrissy Staien from the back line we managed to steal ahead of St Mary’s in the least goals against stakes with a clean sheet. Our most consistent player Matt Stanton filled in at centre half alongside the imperious Williams and was as good as anyone. We were made to work but restricted Connect to a handful of efforts and we also have a very good goalkeeper.

The game was played on a large pitch with too much grass on it in a howling wind. For the first fifteen minutes it resembled beach football and neither side made much progress. Then we realised that there was plenty of room to keep the ball in and began to swing into action. We began to make progress but they defended well. The first goal is always important and we had the man for the job. Ben Fowler returned from the US in time for a substitute appearance last time out and scored. Since then we have had three weeks off. I joked before the game that I’d be happy if he could keep up the goal every 30 minutes ratio! By half time his average had gone below 1 in 30 mins. Firstly Barber hit a diagonal ball from right back and Ben met it back post and slotted it, then he was played in for a 1-on-1 with a similar result. As Connect tried to rally we continued a ruthless streak as Mark dropped a perfect free kick onto Matt Williams’ head for a 3-0 half time lead.

Second half they again continued to play their football but we finished it when Ben took a fine hat trick with a rasping drive. He also had time to miss a free header, slip another 1-on-1 just wide and get up to head beyond the keeper so that all their unfortunate lad could do was slide it into his own net.

All in all a good answer to the biting cold. Good to see Lee Inett back second half in midfield alongside the industrious Smith and Staien combination and for us to show some quality and respect to beleaguered opponents. I trust Connect will re-connect soon: they are a great club (in their many guises).

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So Rowley come good with a 5-0 win and as Pete says, now have the least goals conceded in Div 1. Then again, they have played 1 less game than St Mary’s but their average is just slightly better. (Maybe time for me to do another Entertainment Table)?

What about any other candidates? City Church are still considered outsiders in my eyes but goals from Nicholas Graham and Dave Glasby gave them a 2-1 win over Renewal Solihull and may be the only other team who could pinch 2nd. So for me. it’s all about the current top 5 as to who may end up in the top 2 places come seasons end.

Chawn Hill Church took full advantage of Renewal’s defeat leaving the Solihull side in the bottom three. Chawn beat Wolverhampton and Perton 5-2 and had 5 different goal scorers; Philip Knight, Joseph Knight, Mark Titheridge, Matthew Hingley and lastly, a player I had the pleasure to manage, Curtis Jordan. Nathan Lodge replied with 2 for the W’ton lads but the result gives Chawn something to build on in their relegation battle. W’ton still sit comfortably in mid-table and I would imagine that’s where they will be come seasons end.

Monyhull Church look to be heading back to Div 2 following a 5-0 defeat, this time losing to Zion Athletic, another team I expect who will be too good to be battling at the bottom but not good enough to threaten at the top.

Charlemont Star occupy the other relegation place at the moment but they do have games in hand.

Well that’s Div 1 and the Cup covered, Div 2 will follow tomorrow.

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