Divisions 1, 2 and 3 Reviews Now Complete.
Well here goes with my review of the season so far and my forecast where Clubs may finish up. No doubt this will be used to pep some teams up and others will want to use me as a shooting target should they see me on the sidelines, but hey ho, I take the rough with the smooth. I hope you enjoy it.
All Saints Olympic: Their first season has gone very well for them with only 2 defeats so far. They know where the net is but their Achilles heel is the defence, currently conceeding over 2 goals per game. I think they may only lose 1 more game this season, but this will not be enough to be Champions. Although they are dark horses for the title should both St Mary’s and Sheldon go on a downward spiral. Prediction – 3rd
Amblecote: Recently picked up in form and had a couple of very important wins. They have some tough games in their run in and whilst I think they may struggle to get to 20 points I believe they will be safe. Prediction – 8th
City Church: Not the greatest of seasons so far for City, losing 2 and drawing 3 of their 9 games played so far and whilst they do have games in hand, the points dropped from those drawn games will come back to haunt them. Prediction – 6th
Clarendon: I still look at Clarendon on an individual match basis and find it hard to forecast them to lose. Whilst their form this season has not been to the same quality of old, I’m sticking with that. However, even if as I currently believe, they remain unbeaten the rest of the season I still see them dropping points. Prediction – 4th
Corinthians Sk: Currently sitting bottom of the pile and with only 1 win I cannot see anything but relegation for Corinthians. They don’t appear to be going without making a fight of it, (not literally), and if Pete Bennett’s assessment of them is true I can see them getting into double figures and ending up with as many points as where they finish. Prediction – 11th
Halesowen Zion: 16 goals in 13 games does not bode well for Dave’s lads. They have a few games with the teams in and around themselves at the bottom but they need to start finding the net on a regular basis. I think they will just about stay up, but only on goal difference. Prediction – 9th
Rowley College: Currently sitting pretty in 4th place, they can forget any end of season panic over being involved in a relegation tussle. However, like St Mary’s, they have played almost two-thirds of their season having played 14 matches so far. Clubs below have the chance to play catch up, which I believe they will do. Rowley will need to roll up their sleeves for their remaining 8 games, they have some of the top Clubs to face. Prediction – 7th
Sandwell United: Like Corinthians, they are on 4 points. With Rob Gill having moved to All Saints Olympic they have struggled in the scoring department and I do not see that changing. Prediction – 12th
Sheldon: The only unbeaten team in the whole of the League this season, although they have only played 9 games. I do not think they will remain unbeaten all season but will remain in the hunt for the right to be named as Champions. They can afford a couple of slip ups but they do have a lot of points to catch up and the added pressure of knowing you have to win is sometimes hard to deal with. Prediction – 2nd
St Marys: Like Rowley they have played 14 games having lost and drawn 1. A big improvement on last season when they lost 8 games. But now they are getting to the business end of things and have some stiff opposition coming up. I believe the Title Race is between St Mary’s and Sheldon but St Mary’s have the points in the bag and for that reason alone they are my tip for the top. Prediction – Champions
St Thomas’ Aldridge: Also struggling near the wrong end of the table and I fear for them looking at their run in. Again, I believe the match against Halesowen Zion will have a bearing on who goes down. I believe the last relegation spot is between those 2 Clubs and Zion’s run in compared to Thomas’ sway me to say the lads from Aldridge will be going down. Prediction – 10th
Zion Athletic: Similar to City Church, in so much that they have games in hand but in my opinion are too far away to be considered to be challenging for the top. Although, should they go on a momentous winning streak and the top 2 falter they could nip in and win it. Not really going to happen though and I will say it definitely won’t. Prediction – 5th
If Division One is hard to call, then Division Two is a minefield. With Dynamo Kingswinford and Lighthouse Athletic folding it has had a severe affect on fixtures. Clubs now having to only play 16 matches instead of the originally scheduled 20. Due to this, only 1 team will be relegated but 4 teams are still battling away for the 3 automatic promotion places. The Champions, I believe, will come from this group of 4 who look to be having their own little mini-league to see who wins Division Two. My mind has made all sorts of decisions on this and I am still not 100%. However, time for my neck on the chopping block, enjoy….
Charlemont Star: Having a steady season averaging 2 goals a game and conceding at almost the same rate. Looking at their fixtures I don’t think they can quite do enough to get an automatic promotion place and will finish mid-table. Prediction – 5th
Chawn Hill Church: In a mini pack of 4 teams who are challenging for the title and in all honesty they have fared better than I expected before the start of the season. My thoughts then were that a mid-table consolidation season would be good for them but they continue to prove me wrong. Their clash with Connect Sports early in the New Year will be pivotal. Lose that and I think they are out of the title race. Win, and they will be strong favourites to go on and win the Division. Prediction – Champions
Connect Sports: Again 1 of the 4 Clubs in contention for the title. They are scoring for fun and have a mean defence scoring over 4.5 goals a game and only letting in 1.5 per game. Connect have to play the other 3 teams in what I consider to now be a mini-league for the title. If they can win all 3 of them, then they will put themselves in strong contention to be Champions. However, they showed that they can slip up against the teams below them having suffered a defeat against Darkhouse earlier in the season. Prediction – 2nd
Darkhouse: Currently sitting in the bottom 3 but with no fear of relegation. They need to tighten up defensively if they want to push up the table but I think they give it a go with the emphasis on attacking and enjoy doing so. They could pop up the table slightly. Prediction – 6th
Renewal Solihull: 1 of the above mentioned 4 who have a chance at the title. Solihull normally fare better after Christmas than before but so far this season they have had a good opening 10 games. Like Connect, they also have to play the other 3 teams out of the current top 4 and I believe this is where they will fall short. Prediction – 4th
Rockmount United: A tough season for them so far footballing wise, but Andrew is succeeding in other areas of the Club. It’s between them and Selly Oak as to who goes down and I just believe Rockmount’s slightly better scoring ratio will give them the edge. Prediction – 8th
Selly Oak Methodist: A Club in total free fall and it’s looking like back to back relegation for Rob’s lads. 9 goals in 8 games just isn’t enough unless you have Hansen and Lawrenson marshaling your defence around. Unfortunately for Rob, he doesn’t. (Hansen’s retiring from Match Of The Day, so Rob may consider giving him a call!). Prediction – 9th
Wollaston Free Athletic: Last season was totally different for Wollaston, staying unbeaten all season in Division 3. So you would have expected them to march onwards and upwards this season. Sadly for them, this isn’t the case. A huge turn around in personnel means this is almost a totally different Wollaston to last season. John and Steve have found it hard, (especially some of last seasons players not letting them know they were not carrying on with them), but they are battling their way through the season. Prediction – 7th
Wolverhampton & Perton Churches: The last of the 4 teams I believe challenging for the title. Consistent performances have kept them up near the top and their thumping of Chawn made sure they stay in contention up until Christmas. I think they will only lose 1 more game but believe that the margins to be named Champions will be so slight that this will be enough to stop them winning Division Two. Prediction – 3rd
Like Division Two most Clubs are well past the half way mark in their season. The title looks between Pye Green Towers and Living Hope Church with Dudley Lions possibly hoping for the aforementioned 2 teams to both slip up.
Brierley Hill A.O.G: Steady season so far for Ian Baker’s team but I can’t see them picking up many more points in their remaining 5 games, possibly averaging a point a game from them, and whilst that’s not too bad I think that return of points will see them slide down the table from their current position of 5th. Prediction – 7th
Dudley Lions: Struggled hugely early on in the season but since their last defeat to Pye Green in early October they have gone on a 6 match winning streak, shooting them up the table. They should now be considered the dark horses in the title race. Their next 2 games against the current top 2 teams will either keep those hopes alive or distinguish them completely. Even if they lose both games, the turn around since October has been huge. Prediction – 3rd
Hawbush: Finding their feet in the League and whilst it is proving to be a hard season for them, the feedback is that they are enjoying being part of the League. Hawbush benefited from another Clubs failure to adhere to League Rules and were awarded 3 points from their fixture. This has benefited them hugely, in so much that they now have a gap to defend to prevent them ending up with the wooden spoon in their first season. Prediction – 8th
Living Hope Church: The influx of players from last seasons unbeaten Wollaston Free Athletic has strengthened Living Hope and turned them into Championship contenders. Sitting 10 points behind the current leaders Pye Green Towers, they have 3 games in hand and have to play Pye Green themselves. That game itself may have Title Winners written all over it! I believe the title race is that tight to call. The last match between those 2 teams ended up 4-4, so no pointers from their either. However, as with Division One, I believe that Pye Green, with the points already in the bag, could settle for yet another draw in their next game. Prediction – 2nd
Maple Leaf Rovers Q.M.C: Started the season scoring 25 goals up until the end of October. Since then they have struggled and I do not see any signs of a recovery in their form for the rest of the season. Like Brierley Hill, I reckon they will also slide down the table finishing below half way. Prediction – 6th
Monyhull Church: Whilst Hawbush benefited from another Clubs indiscretion, Monyhull may well feel victims as well. It looked to be a battle between them and Hawbush as to who would end up bottom. To stand any chance now of avoiding successive wooden spoons Monyhull must beat Hawbush and even then they will need to find something extra from somewhere else. Prediction – 10th
Place Of Refuge Community Church: Only losing 3 of their first 10 games in the League should be an encouraging sign for another of the new teams to the League.Their defensive record looks good, they could just do with a few more goals scored. My thoughts are that they will continue to improve as the season progresses. Prediction – 4th
Pye Green Towers: They appear to have all the hallmarks of a Champions elect team. Their defence is mean and they know where the net is at the other end of the field, scoring more goals so far this season than in all of last years games. With points already in the bag, they are the team to be chased down. Their match with Living Hope Church is crucial, avoid defeat and I think it’s their title. Prediction – Champions
Saint Michael: The last of our new teams and like Hawbush they are finding it hard. But once again, feedback says they are glad to be part of the League. They need to tighten up massively in defense, currently shipping in 4 goals a game. Prediction – 9th
Zion City: Another team whose current form suggests a turn around in their fortunes. Whilst I believe it is too late for them to mount an automatic promotion challenge every position is vital come seasons end. Teams have been promoted from further down than 3rd in the past, dependent upon AGM business. Prediction – 5th
So that concludes my review/predictions. Make of it what you will. I hope you have enjoyed it. Challenges have been made to most Clubs to prove me wrong, but as always, please remember, this is just my own independent take on things so do not get maoning at the rest of the Committee.
I finish this just after 10pm on Christmas Eve. So I find it only fitting to wish each and every one of you, A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR.