Review 23rd April + Couple Of Match Reports

I had stated that I was going to do a review of Saturday’s matches on Sunday. Things obviously didn’t pan out that way and I will admit to enjoying the sunny weather. I note elsewhere on the internet that St Andrews Netherton state that 1 more win will secure the title, however, whilst it might probably be enough due to their goal difference, it actually would not do so as 2 other teams could still catch them on 24 points. City Church are one of those sides and stayed in the hunt with a 2-1 win over Rowley College. Pete Bennett’s Match report was received on Sunday and it was an eventful day even before a ball had been kicked. Here’s Pete’s report:

Rowley College 1 vs 2 City Church

After 30 seasons you think you’ve seen it all but the latest instalment of our nomadic existence brought surprise and horror to a sunny Saturday morning.  Our latest port of the call was Amblecote Recreational ground (don’t book this!), but when Chris and I climbed the rise towards the pitch we found a perfectly marked playing surface but no goal posts!  What could we do? With City in transit and our lads arriving bemused. Luckily one of the first people I bumped into in my blind panic was referee Steve Cartwright.  Rather than accepting his half fee and going home Steve’s first thought was where we could go and play.  As I might have expected, Dan, martin and the lads from City were just as understanding and supportive.

Chris and I wasted no time and ‘reccied’ Wordsley park, establishing a beach-head (appropriate term for a bumpy dusty track, though this ‘beach’ also had dandelions and a considerable) and calling the others to join us.  Luckily, for once, COVID restrictions helped and we were ready for only a slightly delayed kick off.  After all that we settled into an enjoyable and competitive game (our Cup group seems likely to produce tight encounters between well-matched teams).  We chose to go up the hill first half and despite conceding an early goal, following Kev’s misplaced pass had the better of it.

Both are full backs played really well today: Matt defensively and Brad offensively.  We had a purple patch in the first half attacking at will with Jake Jay Jay and Jack, fizzing balls across their box.   Ben Fowler worked hard just behind them and Hayden was everywhere.  The response to lots of balls into their box was lots of good defending particularly by their centre backs, also and a terrific save by their goalkeeper when Shola hit a 25 yard screamer through a crowd of players: these normally go in.  Just before half time we made our pressure pay.  Firstly Jack attacked down the right and we had a good shout for a penalty but two minutes later their full back was not warned of Jack’s rapid approach and over he went.  Jake stroked in the penalty we went in at half time feeling confident: on top with the slope in our favour  second half.

In fact at the turn around City came into their own and they then had their own purple patch attacking up the hill well.  We huffed and puffed and tried to work out why we weren’t using the slope to our advantage!  City’s dominance culminated in a headed goal just after Hayden had been replaced by Ben Smith. Ben was a terrific bundle of energy as we then decided it was time to wake up, spending the final third of the game largely in their half throwing the kitchen sink at it. Ben and been joined by the brilliant Tom Cartin who was skilful and everywhere.  If I was able to be completely objective (which I’m not) I would describe this as a classic away win, because having attacked enterprisingly when they had the ball, City then defended resolutely and at times heroically.  Two or three vicious goal-bound efforts were blocked by lads putting their bodies on the line for their team.  The closest we got was when Shola got in chasing a bouncing ball, a nightmare for their centre back, but the keeper and then the defender made brilliant blocks.

Disappointing for us as we clearly think we should have got something from the game.  Full marks to City for making sure we didn’t.  And thanks to everyone for making sure the morning was not a complete disaster

The second Match report was received today from St Andrews’ Netherton and the ‘Champions Elect’ made light work of Charlemont Star running our 5-1 winners. Here is the report sent in by Dave Challoner:

Charlemont Star 1 vs 5 St Andrews’ Netherton

St Andrew’s Netherton’s charge towards the West Midlands Christian Football League title gained further momentum with a thumping 5-1 win at Charlemont Star on Saturday.
Warren Grant bagged a brace, Lee Hughes added his second goal in as many appearances, skipper Chris Hunter scored a screamer and forward Shawn Devonport’s impressive performance was rewarded with being the final name on the scoresheet.
The visitors made the perfect start in Sandwell, going ahead after less than 15 minutes. Charlemont’s goalkeeper fumbled a powerful strike from the edge of the area and Grant was on hand to tap in from close range.
And it was two moments later when fellow forward Hughes found time and space on the left hand side of the penalty area, before slotting into the far corner with his right foot.
Dave Challoner and Matthew Wright’s table-toppers had to wait until early in the second 45 for their third of the morning. A pin-point left-wing corner from Hunter was emphatically nodded high into the net from Irishman Grant to further strengthen St Andrew’s’ grip on the game.
The pick of all five goals was undoubtedly the fourth; a humdinger from Hunter from the best part of 30 yards out. The captain ran on to a perfect tee-up by Ben Davies and lashed home into the top corner, proving class is permanent and age is merely the number of years the midfielder has graced the football world with his presence.
Sloppy defending allowed the home side a route back into the game towards the end, but the four-goal lead was restored just minutes later when Devonport’s powerful left-footed finish from inside the box after an expert first touch thundered beyond the ‘keeper to make it seven wins from seven.

I did say earlier that 2 Clubs could match St Andrews on 24 points with the other Club being Clarendon, a Club who have previously chased teams down to win the title. No report on their 3-2 win over Chawn Hill Church but this is a good win for them to keep them in the hunt.

Moving on to Division 2 and no Match reports received for any of these matches.

Monyhull Church move past the half way stage of the season with another convincing win to maintain their 100 per cent record. A 4-1 win over Christ Church Coseley probably ends any lingering hopes that they may have had about a Title push.

Selly Oak Methodist are the closest challengers to Monyhull and whilst there is still a bit of a gap, their 4-0 win over Brierley Hill A.O.G does keep the pressure on. For Brierley Hill it’s now getting to the point where you begin to wonder if they will go all season without a win.

Is 7 points too big a gap to make up half way through the season? Well, Dudley Lions look like they will be giving it a go and will be full of confidence as they have recently scored 10 goals in their last 2 games, notching 7 this week against Living Hope Church United with Dan Douse following up his brace from the previous week with a hat-trick this week.

The last match saw Delph Athletic and St Thomas’ Aldridge play out a 1-1 draw. The result doesn’t really do much for either side and if this was the Premiership the old quote of the players already being on the beach may have been used. But, this is grassroots football and I am sure both sets of lads will be putting the utmost effort in for the remainder of the season.

Prediction Challenge will updated tomorrow.

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