Unfortunately time has not allowed me to catch up on January’s reviews and as I am back in work at 7 in the morning it looks like it may have to bite the dust. (See what I can do)! Anyway, please find below a quick review of last week and my forecasts for today. (By the time I finish it will be after midnight)!
Due to the weather only 2 of our 4 Quarter-Finals were played last weekend and fixtures have been rescheduled so that the 2 postponed games take place this week. I will stick with my predictions from last week, (easier to copy and paste, hahaha).
St Mary’s should be the favourites but over the years we have seen many teams slip up as they near the Final. I cannot see them slipping up tomorrow though. City Church’s best hope I believe is a dogged rearguard action and either a break away goal or penalties, but with them shipping over 3 goals a game I think this is too much of a task for them.
Not much to choose between Halesowen Zion and Wolverhampton and Perton Churches in one of the other ties. Both Clubs have won half of their League games played and both also overcame very tough opposition in the last round, Halesowen beating Wednesbury Baptist 2-1 and Wolverhampton beating Connect Sports 5-4 in extra time. They have met twice so far this season with goals aplenty…5-4 to Wolverhampton early in October and 4-1 to Halesowen in the middle of November. The League table shows that Halesowen have the tighter defence and with Wolverhampton conceding 4 goals in both their previous games I’m going to go for a Halesowen Zion win.
4 games in Division 1 with Connect having the chance to extend their lead at the top due to St Mary’s involvement in the Cup. It’s top versus bottom and unlike some of the F.A. Cup shocks that we have seen this season I don’t envisage one here. 3 more points on the board for the Connect lads.
Clarendon, who have a fair shout of becoming Champions yet again, face Zion Athletic, who will be buoyed by their 6-4 win over Sheldon last weekend to secure a Semi-Final tie against the other winners from last weeks Quarters in Rowley College. Whilst Zions game last week may have needed extra time I am sure that they can manage another game this week without needing a holiday, (professionals eh, they should try a normal job)! Zion are doing quite nicely in the League as well but for me the top 3 stand out and I would be surprised if any of them were overtaken by the chasing pack. Clarendon won the reverse fixture on the opening day of the season 6-1, but I think it’s fair to say that the new Zion set up was still in its learning stage. Michael Miller scored a hat-trick that day, will he do the same again? I don’t think so, but i am going for a narrow 2-0 win for Clarendon who should they do this will leapfrog St Mary’s into 2nd.
Last weeks other Quarter-Final winners, Rowley College face Chawn Hill Church. I am reliably informed from Statto ‘Bennett’ that this will be the 39th meeting between these 2 Clubs. Whilst Chawns game was postponed last week Rowley overcame a very determined performance from Monyhull Church, winning 2-1 and according to Pete’s report on the web site, not without some nervous moments. These 2 teams met the week before Christmas in a goal fest of a game with Chawn winning 5-4. Chawn really need to win this game to close the gap in Division One otherwise they will be left slightly adrift with games running out for them! Like last week, I am going for the experience of Rowley to shine through and win by 2 goals.
The last game in Divison 1 sees Sheldon hosting Charlemont Star. Whilst Sheldon gave it a right good go against Zion last week they came up short. Sheldon have seen a major change in personnel this season and have struggled to get a team out some weeks. Their squad has aged and this may be their final season and whilst they are not flying like the last couple of seasons it would be a shame to see them just slip away. A closer look at the table though should give them some push to finish off as well as they can. Should they win their games in hand they would fly up the table. I believe that is the challenge for them. However, they face a stubborn team tomorrow in Charlemont Star who are doing well in their debut season in Division 1. Indeed, Charlemont won the reverse game 2-1 earlier in the season with 2 goals from Jamie Holder. This is a tough call, as I am unsure what sort of team Sheldon will put out, so I am going for a draw.
More To Follow:
Only 2 of the scheduled games in Division 2 were played last week and whilst I had hoped that Solihull would beat Wednesbury to keep the League alive I forecast that Wednesbury would win. Well, wrong again! 2 goals apiece from Mark Hadden and Isaac Cooper for Renewal were enough for them to take all 3 points on the day and complete the Double over Wednesbury. So the gap closes to 8 points with Solihull and Monyhull still having it all to do. Solihull face Zion City and will keep the pressure on if they can repeat their recent 4-1 win over Zion City. Zion themselves, much like the whole of this Division have been very unpredictable this season but they are still sitting in 4th spot. A narrow win for Solihull to keep the title race alive.
Wednesbury Baptist will be looking to bounce back from last weeks defeat and aim to wrap the title up as quickly as possible. They face Dudley Lions and whilst they have a tight defensive unit letting in just under 2 goals a game they did concede 5 last time these 2 met in the League. I really cannot see anyone catching Wednesbury and expect them to pick up another 3 points here.
Last seasons runners up, Pye Green Towers found their winning form again with a 4-3 win over St Michael’s. Robert Zaleski bagged a hat-trick for St Michael on the day but it wasn’t enough for them to come away with any points. Pye Green could progress further up the table with a win over Maple Leaf, who, on their day, can beat the best in the League! I’m favouring Pye Green to carry on from last weekend and bag another 3 points.
Saint Michael travel to face a vastly improved Sandwell United. It appears the New Year has bought about an improvement in Sandwell that you wouldn’t have thought possible before Christmas. So, will Sandwell keep their good run going or can St Michael keep the pressure on for a promotion place? Close game ending up in a draw>
Bottom placed Brierley Hill play Selly Oak and could do with a win to keep things tighter at the bottom end of the table. Like Sandwell, Selly Oak seem to be a team transformed in the New Year and I believe they will take all 3 points from this game.
The last fixture sees 2 teams near the middle of the table with Hawbush playing Corinthians SK. Corinthians need for the points is probably the greater as they could be dragged back into the pack at the bottom. The last time these 2 met Corinthians notched 10 goals and while I do not see them scoring that many again I think they will edge it and get to within 1 point of Hawbush.
Well that’s my forecast and while I have been doing it, it has kept raining! Let’s hope that all our games are played this week.