No time this week to do a preview, (night shifts again)! However, just found time to continue with the Prediction Challenge. The gap now between me and the Club Secs is down to 4 points! I managed to get 2 correct scores last week with 6 correct results so bagged 10 points for the week. Roberto from Zion City also managed 6 correct results but no correct scores meant a total of 6 for the Club Secs. This week could be an interesting week as there are only 3 matches that me and Steve from City Church agree on. So here are our predictions followed by a couple of Match Reports from last weeks games. (Apologies for not being able to get these on quicker but time has been spent doing other stuff this week….it is an area that I am looking to improve on).
|Division One||Kovacs’||Steve (City Church)|
|Charlemont Star||vs||Connect Sports||Home 2-1||Draw 2-2|
|Chawn Hill Church||vs||City Church||Draw 2-2||Away 1-3|
|Clarendon||vs||Wednesbury Baptist||Away 1-3||Away 2-4|
|Renewal Solihull||vs||Monyhull Church||Home 3-1||Away 1-2|
|Zion Athletic||vs||Rowley College||Draw 2-2||Home 2-1|
|Brierley Hill A.O.G||vs||St Thomas’ Aldridge||Home 2-1||Home 2-0|
|Living Hope Church United||vs||Dudley Lions||Away 1-2||Dtaw 1-1|
|Sandwell Unted||vs||Hawbush||Draw 1-1||Home 4-0|
|Selly Oak Methodist||vs||Maple Leaf Rovers QMC||Draw 2-2||Away 2-3|
|Zion City||vs||Corinthians S.K||Home 3-2||Home 5-1|
WEDNESBURY BAPTIST 3 ROWLEY COLLEGE 3
By Rowley College
Another cracking encounter with Wednesbury today, producing six goals with them looking significantly stronger than when they beat us at our place three weeks ago. On a decent pitch we were able to some extent to set the record straight over what happened earlier in the mud and rain. We were welcoming back Chris Staien our talented centre back and was good today. Though we equalised with pretty much the last kick, I don’t think anybody can argue that we didn’t deserve something from the game today. We had the better chances, though they have ‘nous’ in abundance and a competitive mentality which allied to their undoubted ability almost won the day.
The foundation of our game today was strong individual performances from our older heads, Matt Williams, Mark Southall and Christy McKenzie, allied with a strong team performance anchored and directed by my man-of-the-match Lee Inett, who pulled the strings for us. Wednesbury are also strong in midfield: their 11 was a class act today and the first half saw a real battle in there which they shaded, particularly in the first half hour. In this period Wednesbury appeared to have more desire and though Christy and Olly had decent chances, the Baptists forged a 2-0 lead, the second a thumping drive from Abbey and we were mightily relieved to see Pete Falconer screw a 1-on-1 wide! Instead we were able to finish the half strongly when after a period of sustained pressure (Mark had one cleared off the line), Ben Fowler atoned for last week’s misses by classily megging a defender on the edge of the box and then simply driving home.
We knew there was plenty in this for us and said so at half time but we had an early blow, losing the industrious Ben Smith to an ankle injury just after the break. This didn’t deter us though and we dominated second half possession and put pressure on without creating clear cut chances. The game then was ‘visited’ by one of those moments that has no level. A good cross from the right was met by the excellent McKenzie with a goal-bound header. For all the world it was going in but their keeper made a brilliant leap to push it onto the post and then just as miraculously managed to get up and block the follow in. We wondered if it was going to be our day.
In fact it was, then wasn’t , then was again. Our pressure told when Christy chased down their defender and won the ball and Olly met the cross to level the scores. This came just as I was planning to throw Sammy on as a second striker but I didn’t have to wait long as we seemed to be intent on throwing it away as Martin Woodhall ran half the length of the pitch to put them back in front. Sammy went on to lead the line across a frantic last fifteen during which we besieged their goal (but were still susceptible to their threat on the break. And just as I’d given up the ball was pulled back to Mark who capped off a fine performance with a vital goal. Best wishes to Jase and his lads!
ST THOMAS ALDRIDGE FC 0 ST MATTHEWS WALSALL 2
By St Thomas’ Aldridge
St. Thomas Aldridge FC 0 St. Matthews Walsall 2
The third meeting between the two local teams was finely poised with St T’s hoping to draw upon the same spirit that saw them come back from 4-0 down to earn a well deserved point with a 4-4 draw earlier in the season in a result that in all honesty no one outside of St T’s expected. That result however was the start of a mini run of games that saw St T’s form read DDWWWLL in the last seven games which they would have expected to be taken into account when predicting the outcome of the latest meeting of the two sides. There was little doubt that St Matthew’s current form & recent results would make them favourites for three points but by the margins predicted was let’s just say questionable.
St T’s welcomed back Jake Lakin & Scott Tibbetts to the starting 11 meaning that unfortunately for Phil Rogers who had put in a good performance the week before vs Zion City at left back had to settle for a place on the bench. Surprisingly St Matthews who are currently in a great position to clinch the Division 2 title in their first season & are also in the semi final of the league cup only had the bare eleven, with a couple of players letting the manager down by being not turning up, but never the less it was still a strong eleven.
Both of the goals came in the first half, if you listen to the pundits on sky sports they often make references to champions needing an element of luck during the course of a season; decisions going their way, situations turning out in their favour, results going their way etc. For St Matthews it was one of those days where fortune favoured the brave, as a manager & as players, it is a bitter pill to swallow to come off the pitch suffering a defeat knowing that the opposition beat you without even scoring a goal.
Both goals in this defeat were scored by St Thomas players, two own goals, how bizarre is that, in fairness to St Matthews the first came as result of pressuring the defender in the air from a corner kick, as the ball came in Tommy Hoccom jumped highest to get his head to the ball before the St Matthews player only to see his header fly straight into the top corner past the keeper, at the other end this would have been a fantastic strike, but in your own net devastating.
The second was all of St Thomas’s own making, a breakdown in communication between goalkeeper & defender or should I say no communication between goalkeeper & defender. Josh Merrick has been in scintillating form again this season carrying on from his player of the year award last season & indeed it was his heroics in the 4-4 draw earlier in the season that was a major contributory factor to the spirit that saw the rest of the team play the way they did. But he openly & honestly held his hands up to the mistake that resulted in the second goal, as the ball came in, Scott Tibbetts waited for the call of the keeper to come & collect the ball, the call didn’t come so he assumed the keeper had stayed on his line, cushioning a back ward header towards the goal, he didn’t realise that the keeper was advancing towards his position to claim the ball this resultied in the ball looping over the keeper & straight into the net. A simple mistake & in fairness the number of goal scoring chances Josh Merrick has denied the opposition through superb goalkeeping this season & last season far outweigh the number of mistakes by a million percent.
The difference between the two teams on the day was how well each team used the ball, defensively (other than the two own goals) both teams handled what the other threw them with relative comfort, it was offensively where the difference between the two teams laid. St Matthews used the ball through midfield into attacking areas better than St T’s, with both defences holding their own both teams found themselves trying a fair few long range efforts. If you were keeping stats on attempts on goal/target St Matthews would come out on top of that duel by some way as St T’s struggled to make an impact in this area. A combination of good defending & poor decision making at times meant St T’s were once again left frustrated at the lack of penetrating offensive play.
The game was played in good spirits, & a good game to watch, with Zion City losing to Maple Leaf you would have to think that St Matthews are the only team that can stop St Matthews taking the league title with three games in hand & a two point deficit surely they can feel confident of getting the job done.
Good luck to St Matthews for the rest of the season in pursuit of the league & cup double, however in St Marys they face a tough opponent to reach the final. But there is no doubt that they are both the in form teams in their respective divisions so I wouldn’t bet against a hard fought game where either team could get the win.