Some Match Reports, 9th February

3 match reports in so far and thanks to those who have contributed. The first is from Joshua Briley from Delph Athletic who made it into the Semi-Finals of the Cup with a 3-1 win over Selly Oak Methodist.

Match Report Form – Selly Oak Cup QF.

Coming into this game our recent form was played 5 won 4 & drawn 1.  With us on a winning streak & Selly Oak sitting bottom of the division above we went into it knowing we had every chance of beating them & causing an upset.

The game started on a windy morning & it was obvious from the warm up that to do anything in this game the ball would have to be played on the ground – this worked in our favour as we as a team generally try to play the ball around & keep possession.

Straight from kick off it was clear that we were a team playing with more confidence than our opponents.

Our front 3 put the Selly Oak defence under immense pressure to ensure that they didn’t have any time to pick passes.

For the first 10-15 minutes we were on the front foot, pressing aggressively all over the pitch & keeping possession well.

One thing we continue to make progress on is translating possession into chances – today was yet another improvement with our attackers & midfielders all having some good chances in the first half as we beat the Selly Oak defence for pace on numerous occasions.

The breakthrough came around the 20 minute mark when a Grant Esp Corner fell at the feet of Ed Sutton, who took a wild swing at it for it to roll 2 foot forward to Nat Harding, who took another Wild swing at it & it progressed another foot closer to goal, only to fall at the feet of Joel Gooding who in true centre back fashion made no mistake from inside the 6 yard box & put his foot right through the ball – 1-0 Delph.

After this we knew Selly Oak would look to apply some more pressure onto us, which we handled with great discipline.

The wind was a real factor in the first half & The Selly Oak GK was having no fun kicking up hill & into it & at the 30 minute mark Joe Bluck took full advantage as the GK kicked one out his hands. He got the better of the Selly Oak LB & struck a shot from just outside the area that flew into the far top corner – 2-0 Delph at HT.

The 2nd half continued in the same manner – Our nice football & aggressive pressing not letting Selly Oak get any kind of rhythm to get back into the game.

On the 60 minute mark we had a free kick which found it’s way to Nat Harding, who took the ball to the dead ball line & squared it back across goal for Resident Tap in Master Jack Slater to pop up with the third Goal of the Game. 3-0.

From there we made a few changes which in truth upset our rhythm & discipline – we were no longer comfortable on the ball & with Selly Oak starting to apply some more pressure they did find what turned out to just be a consolation goal through a quality strike into the Right top corner which left Matt K in Goal for us with no chance. 3-1 with 20 minutes to go.

The last 20 minutes were by no means pretty football from us, we knew what we had to do & it’s a proud moment for any team to see a game out from that position but for us after giving away so many leads at the start of the season & making so many mistakes that lead to Goals it was fantastic to see the discipline shown from all 15 squad members.

Joe Bluck was voted our man of the Match for his non-stop running.

Onto the Semi-Finals & Charlemont Star.

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It would appear that the wind was also a major factor in our next report which is from our ever reliable Pete from Rowley who starts by reminiscing of a day when Rowley played Chawn in a 4-4 blustery day game.

Horrible conditions today , bringing back memories of the Rowley College pitch on Rowley hill (where famously we played Chawn and went 4-0 down in a gale and got back wind-assisted to 4-4). (edit: I remember it well having been there that day, it was terrible to play in, Neil).
Let me first admit to the difficulty of writing this report because I am gutted by today’s result: both teams were aware of the opportunity opened up by the cup draw (I mean in  terms of who the winner might avoid in the semis!) and sadly this was decided in a quite unsatisfactory way. I am not speaking of the injustice of it but rather the particular cruelty of the wind which largely ruined the game so that two good teams battled against the conditions rather than playing the football they wanted to. I know Andy feels the same as we spoke about it before, during and after the game: this is not a complaint: games are not called off because of high winds though they made much of the game today effectively unplayable. The first kick from their keeper’s hands (it made 15 yards and went straight out of play!) was a clear indication of what was to come.  I think both teams deserve great credit for sticking at it and either team could have snatched this or indeed lost it without feeling that it was much of a game (the point, of course, is to win these games and I wish Andy and his lads every success going forward.

I think we were the dominant team for much of the game but this was partly contextual.  We had expected to field a full 16 and ended up with only 14 which sadly didn’t include our keeper or centre forward: Matt deputised again in goal and Jack had to play striker (a lad of slight build against two big centre halves. With intent we chose to play with the howling wind at our back in the first half and predictably had plenty of attacking momentum, though it was often impossible to ‘take enough off’ our through balls and stop them skipping through to their capable keeper. I might have made him man of the match, not because he made a string of saves but because in a game of practically no saves (Matty had no shots to save today) he made two vital interventions. In the first half he just beat Jack to a through ball and then followed up to tackle at least a couple of our lads following up.  Then, late in the game he made the game’s only real save to block Jack’s shot.

By then we were 1-0 down, ironically against the wind with Parker and Matt deceived by the wind holding up a through ball, leaving their lad a tap in (a calamity to add to our general misery) and a man down with Parker sent off on the hour.  Early doors I’d been sure the wind would have at least gifted us a goal/ chances and thought we’d need to take advantage so their goal was a body blow. However the wind was so bad (and inconsistent) that neither side gained much advantage (save in clearing the ball perhaps) and both halves were a struggle for both teams.  The fact that we dominated the final half an hour was testimony to our commitment (Mark dropped into a back three with Chris and Kev and we tried to be offensive with the rest) but also to Charlemont’s realisation that they didn’t need to do anything more than they were doing in conditions where it was mighty difficult to do anything. We had menace but nothing clear cut after Jack’s chance and I knew it was up when their centre half went flat on his face and the ball trickled through to their keeper.  Our man of the match for me was Clive who covered every blade (run close by Mark and Chris).

I think without the wind this would have been a really good game and who knows we may have lost 3-0: sadly today it turned into a lottery

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The last report received so far, (more would be nice), comes off Lee McGhan from Christ Church Coseley who keep themselves in the mix for promotion with a 7-0 defeat of Brierley Hill A.O.G who now sit bottom of the table.

Christchurch 7-0 Brierley Hill A.O.G

Christchurch 7-0 brierley hill After our last game needed a 97th minute goal to get us a point we wanted to go into this week with more desire and passion. Brierley hill turned up with 9 players and full credit to them lads the 9 made us work for the 3 points. With the wind battering both teams we set off at a good pace with some great chances created but nothing troubling the keeper. Around 25 minutes we finally had the ball in the net and with our youngest goalscorer Mitchel Mcgahan getting his 1st for the team after a cross from Lewis found him unmarked to header home, at 16 he plays sometimes years ahead of his age. A few minutes later he found himself in 1 on 1 only to see the ball go over the bar. By this time Christchurch had set up camp in the hills half and created chances but some good defending and a few good saves we couldnt find that 2nd goal. On about 35 minutes a quick throw down the right released bob who crossed for Lewis, with 1 touch he set himself and fired home  2-0
Shortly after Lewis made it 3-0 and the ref blew for ht.
Few changes at ht saw mubin and Scott come on and straight away we went looking for a 4th. Making the extra 2 men count we attacked in numbers but a few over hit passes and a few wild shots we couldnt seem to find the goal. Around 60th minute mubin sent Bob through 1 on 1 but a brilliant double save from the keeper prevented him scoring only for mubin to follow in on a lose ball an score the 4th. Brierley hill created a great chance to get a goal but the ball wouldn’t drop for the forward and for a moment it looked like we had 9 men. We cleared our lines and settled down. Last 15 minutes we had the edge and another goal from mubin from the edge a header from Bob and a penalty for the hatrick for Lewis saw a comfortable 7-0 win at ft.
It’s always tough when you have 10 men but to start and play 90 minutes with 9 is hard. All credit to brierley hill today as they worked hard and at times made it look like 11v11. Fantastic spirit an those lads who played today are a credit to the team and should not be down hearted with the result at all. Great effort.
As for us we stay in 3rd and are doing what we need to do. Stay in touch with the top few teams. Do think 1st is out of reach for any of the teams with amblecote pulling away but with games left to play it’s not set who will finish 2nd 3rd or 4th. Could be an interesting couple of months. But, its football..  anything is possible.
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