This Week’s MFL Newsletter

League News

Southam United Manager Ian Ray has stepped down from his role with immediate effect with yesterday’s events at Warwick being the final straw.

Chairman Charles Hill said “Clearly the season has not gone the way we had hoped and despite all of Ian’s hard work, and that of his staff, the cumulative effect of being continually let down by players combined with increasing pressures of work and bringing up his young family, meant that Ian had told me 10 days ago of his intention to resign after the forthcoming Copsewood game. However, being let down again yesterday at Racing Club resulting in the team having to play the second half with only 8 players, with the inevitable outcome as far as the result was concerned, he felt it would be best to step down immediately.”

“I am grateful to Ian for his efforts as Manager and know that he can still play a role in the wider Club as we look to deliver our vision for football in Southam in the future.”

Player/coach Alex Baird, who is currently recovering from a serious knee injury sustained at Littleton a few weeks ago, has been put in temporary charge for Saints next match away at Coventry Copsewood on Monday 2nd January.

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Travels of the Press Officer

Monday 26th December

Premier Division (39)

AFC Wulfrunians 2 Brocton 3

A Boxing Day early kick-off was a real bonus with the family due to descend later in the day. With both sides struggling to score goals and at the wrong end of the table, a dour game might have been anticipated – thankfully the opposite was the case. Wulfs were first to show when Demetri Brown headed wide in the 3rd minute. A mistake by Harry Flowers in the Brocton defence let in Jake Webb but his shot was well saved by Aiden Stone. The home side took the lead in spectacular fashion in the 5th minute. A clearance from the Brocton defence was met on the volley by Mitch McDonald some 25 yards from goal and the ball flew into the roof of the net. Brocton should have been level within a minute when Charles Weston-Hayles created space but blasted his shot wide. Kyle Brady had a shot on target for Wulfs but Stone made a comfortable save. In the 20th minute, a weak shot from Brady was deflected wide for a corner. From the dead ball, Joe Colley dragged his shot wide. Brady had another half chance in the 23rd minute but his volley was wide of the mark. In the 31st minute, Wulfs finishing was summed up when Brown turned his defender however his shot almost hit the corner flag. A minute later, Webb did the same, great control, awful finish. Wulfs were made to pay when Brocton equalised in the 34th minute. Edwards controlled the ball, took it inside and beat the onrushing Liam Stanton with a fine finish. Five minutes before the interval. Brocton were saved by their keeper. A free-kick from McDonald was flicked on by Brown and Stone made a fantastic save. From the resulting corner, Brady’s volley was goalbound but Stone made an even better save finger-tipping the ball over the bar. In stoppage time, Brocton went close when Dave Ablewhite met a David Berks free-kick with his head but Stanton saved well.

The second half with both sides looking for the advantage. Brocton went close ibn the 56th minute when Dan Lomas’ shot was deflected over his won crossbar by Brown. Weston-Hayles was off target for Brocton before Weeb fizzed the ball just over the bar at the other end. Webb created a great opening for himself but was again wayward with his finishing. Brocton went close in the 66th minute. Berks hit a free-kick into the wall and the rebound fell to Adam Robinson 30 yards out and his first-time effort shaved the crossbar. Wulfs were awarded a penalty in the72nd minute when Webb jinked into the area to be tripped by Flowers. Brady stepped up and converted the spot-kick to put Wulfs into the lead. The bottom side did not let their heads drop and they grabbed an equaliser two minutes from time. The ball was played across the area from the right and missed by the Wulfs defence. It fell to substitute Charlie Sneddon who got enough on his shot for it to beat Stanton. Worse was to follow for the home side two minutes into injury time. Weston-Hayles, a threat throughout, shot from inside the penalty area. His effort was saved by Stanton but it rebounded off Tom Ray and into his own net to give Brocton their 2nd win of the season.

Tuesday 27th December

Premier Division (40)

Westfields 3 Stourport Swifts 3

Westfields have 6 games in hand on leaders Alvechurch however visitors Stourport Swifts won 6-3 on the road last time out and will not be easy pickings. That prediction looks woefully inaccurate as Westfields take the lead after just 40 seconds, Richard greaves unmarked in the area, heading home a cross from Chris Ham. Nick Harrhy wasted a good chance for Westfields in the 5th minute, off target with a shot. Westfields were playing some superb football and from one flowing move, Swifts did well to clear the ball away from Ben Miller. It was 16 minutes before Stourport made an impression in the Westfields half, Jim Hanson’ shot being blocked for a corner. Stourport grabbed an equaliser in the 20th minute. A long ball from Matthew Fulloway was missed by Phil Glover and when Kieron Blackburn raced off his line and also missed the ball, Joe Phillips took the gift and slid the ball home. The goal sparked the visitors who began to look a real threat. A cross from Phillips was headed clear to Ben Priest whose shot was straight at Blackburn. Swifts were unlucky in the 29th minute when Aaron Lloyd’s knockdown was volleyed goalwards by Priest but Glover threw himself in the way to block brilliantly. In the 35th minute, Miller forced a fine save from Dominic Richards. Swifts took the lead in the 38th minute. The ball was played in from the left to Phillips in acres of space. Phillips picked his spot and Blackburn made an excellent stop but the ball ran loose and Jack Bailey tucked it home. Two minutes later Craig Jones forced another fine save from Richards while Greaves shot just wide as the home side went into the interval a goal down.

The second half started at a high tempo with both sides playing some excellent football for the Bank Holiday crowd. In the 53rd minute, a scramble in the Swifts boxed was somehow hacked clear. Two minutes later, the home side were back on level terms. A free-kick from Jones to the far post hit the unfortunate Phillips and went into his own net. Back came Swifts and Bailey was just off target with another good effort. Greaves had an excellent opportunity for Westfields but his lob lacked power and Richards saved. The end to end nature of the contest continued with Alex Perry running at the Westfields defence and shooting wide of the target. Swifts were close to regaining the lead in the 64th minute when Hanson’s shot took a deflection and Blackburn watched it drop just wide of the upright. In the 67th minute, the home side took the lead. A free-kick was awarded to the right of the D and Jones stepped up and dispatched it into the far corner. In the 75th minute, Hanson forced an excellent save from Blackburn with the keeper turning the ball just past the post. With three minutes remaining, Stourport got the equaliser they deserved. Fulloway crossed from the byline and substitute Matthew Pinder was on hand to scramble the ball home.

An excellent afternoon’s entertainment for the neutral and a fair result over the 90 minutes.

Review

Premier Division

For a few hours on Boxing Day, Lye Town took over the top spot as they beat Tividale 2-1 in the early kick-off thanks to a last-minute winner from Scott Gennard. Alvechurch regained top spot by tea time following a 3-0 win at Lye Meadow over in-form Highgate United. Sporting Khalsa stay in contention as they beat Shawbury United 1-0 in Wem thanks to a late goal from David Meese. There was a bumper Boxing Day gate of 702 at Sphinx Drive to witness the Coventry derby. Visitors Coventry United took all 3 points beating host Coventry Sphinx 2-1 with Ben Mackey getting the winner. At the bottom, there was a huge win for Brocton, 3-2 at AFC Wulfrunians with the winner coming deep into stoppage time. Walsall Wood are showing improved form under Harry Harris and a 2-1 win at home to St Andrews moved them up to 9th. Loughborough University took a first-minute lead at Rocester but the Romans came back to drew 1-1. A goal apiece in the first half saw Long Eaton United and Heanor Town share the spoils at Grange Park. There was a tight local derby at Farley Way as Quorn and Shepshed Dynamo battled out a goalless draw,

Westfields and Stourport Swifts served up a thriller at Allpay Park on Tuesday afternoon. A goal in the 87th minute from Matthew Pinder gave Swifts a deserved point in a 3-3 draw. Coleshill Town moved to within two points of Westfields in 3rd with a 4-1 win over Boldmere St Michaels at pack Meadow.

Division 1

Unbeaten Bromsgrove Sporting are top of the pile after their early morning 7-2 win at Studley. Jason Cowley scored three times in front of an excellent Beehive crowd of 362. In the Hinckley derby, it was Hinckley AFC that ran out victors beating Leicester Road 2-0 in front of 348 at St Johns Park. 3rd placed Atherstone Town bounced back to form with a 5-0 win over Coventry Copsewood, Alex Naughton adding 4 more goals to his impressive tally. Racing Club Warwick remain in 5th place following a stunning 15-0 win over bottom club Southam United who started the game with 10 men. Jamie Smith scored five times and there were doubles for Wade Malley, Jake Brown and Martin Slevin as the Racers ran riot. Lichfield City kept in close contention with a 3-1 win at home to Bolehall Swifts, Dan Griffiths scoring twice. Heather St Johns are just behind Lichfield in the table following a 2-0 win at Nuneaton Griff with both goals from Ryan Nesbitt. Stafford Town are up to 18th with a 3-1 win in the Staffordshire derby at Uttoxeter Town. A goal in the 4th minute of stoppage time from Nicholas Allen gave Cadbury Athletic a 2-2 draw at home to Chelmsley Town.

Heath Hayes beat Pelsall Villa 5-0 at The Coppice Colliery Ground with three of the goals coming from graduates from their Under 21 side. Both Oliver Hayward and Brad Rolston scored twice for Heath Hayes. Littleton moved to within 8 points of the leaders with a comprehensive 6-0 win at Pershore Town with Kyonn Evans helping himself to a hat-trick.

Division 2

A Macauley Finch goal gave Droitwich Spa all three points in their local derby at Fairfield Villa. Alvis Sporting Club are 6 points clear and have games in hand following a 2-0 home win over Leamington Hibernian. Redditch Borough are up to 4th following a 4-0 win at Feckenham. Barnt Green Spartak have well and truly halted their slide with a second win on the trot, 2-1 at home to Hampton. A goal from Jamie Griffiths gave Bloxwich Town all three points at Paget Rangers who slip to 7th in the table. Coton Green are up to 11th following a 2-1 win at Sutton United. Bottom club Continental Star remain in 16th place but they edged closer with a 1-1 draw at Smithswood Firs. Knowle and Earlswood Town shared the points in a 1-1 draw at The Robins Nest.

Division 3

NKF Burbage are 12 points clear as they beat bottom club AFC Solihull 6-0 at Kirkby Road, Charlie Adcock scoring twice. FC Stratford were the day’s big winners putting ten goals past Inkberrow without reply. Inkberrow had two players sent off inside 13 minutes and Stratford put them to the sword with Jay Tilbury scoring 4 and Freddy Murphy 2. Barton United were also in fine goalscoring form as they beat visitors Castle Vale Town 8-0. The visitors turned up short handed and Barton took full advantage with Peter Martin bagging a hat-trick. 2nd place Montpellier eased to a 2-0 win at Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons to keep the pressure on the leaders. Moors Academy closed the gap on the top four with a 3-2 win at Northfield Town. 3rd placed Shipston Excelsior were surprisingly beaten at home by 11th placed Coventrians, 3-2 the final score with Thomas Cuppelditch with a brace for Coventrians. Alcester Town continue their resurgence with a 2-1 win at Enville Athletic.  

Leading Goalscorers (all competitions)

Premier Division

Shay Brennan St Andrews 24

Richard Greaves Westfields 23

Josh March Alvechurch 22

Nathan Hodge Shawbury United 20

Jack Till Lye Town 18

David Meese Sporting Khalsa 18

Craig Jones Westfields 18

Kieran Debrouwer Heanor Town 17

Andrew Bridge Loughborough University 16

Lei Brown Highgate United 14

Marco Adaggio Highgate United 14

Ben Billingham Lye Town 14

Elliot Putman St Andrews 13

Dan Polan Westfields 12

Nathan Dale Quorn 12

Drew Aiton Walsall Wood 12

Callum Riddell Rocester 11

Charles Knowles Shawbury United 11

Sam Hollis St Andrews 11

Kevin Hemagou Long Eaton United 11

McCauley Manning Highgate United 11

Reece Shilvock Stourport Swifts, Alvechurch 11

Dean Rathbone Coleshill Town 11

Karl Ashton Rocester 10

Elliott Reeves Heanor Town 10

Division 1

Ryan Seal Hinckley AFC 34

Alex Naughton Atherstone Town 31

Wade Malley Racing Club Warwick 17

Matthew Stenson Leicester Road 16

Connoll Farrell Studley, Coventry Copsewood 16

Paul Sullivan Hinckley AFC 16

Kyle Turner Atherstone Town, Bolehall Swifts 16

Matt Brennan Nuneaton Griff 15

Tom Bates Nuneaton Griff 15

Joe Obi Bolehall Swifts 14

Joel Ambalu Heather St Johns 14

Daniel Carter Littleton 14

Jason Cowley Bromsgrove Sporting 14

Gareth Evans Pershore Town, Studley 14

Sam Agar Hinckley AFC 13

Ben Lund Lichfield City 13

Luke Lewis Uttoxeter Town 13

Sean Brain Bromsgrove Sporting, Littleton 13

Jamie Smith Racing Club Warwick 13

Jamie Clarke Pershore Town 12

Jordan Francis Bolehall Swifts 11

Jake Holt Leicester Road 11

Joe Hartshorne Heath Hayes 11

Chris Lloyd Bromsgrove Sporting 11

Darryl Thomas Leicester Road 10

Gary Turner Chelmsley Town 10

David Akinuli Coventry Copsewood 10

Division 2

Daniel Carter Paget Rangers 27

Thomas Craine Knowle 18

Connor Collins Fairfield Villa 16

Jak Albutt Redditch Borough 15

Nick Seabourne Droitwich Spa 14

Mark Bellingham Paget Rangers 13

Pedro Douglas Continental Star 12

James Lemon Droitwich Spa 12

Dildale Linton Alvis Sporting Club 12

Andrew Millan Coton Green 11

Liam Fullerton Redditch Borough 11

Joseph Wright Leamington Hibernian 10

George Ford Sutton United 10

Dan Pidgeon Alvis Sporting Club 10

Division 3

Stuart Hendrie Montpellier 22

Daniel Priest Northfield Town 16

Montel Okoro Moors Academy 12

Dale Wigmore Coventrians 12

Jay Tilbury FC Stratford 12

Tom Smith NKF Burbage 11

Peter Martin Barton United 11

Jess Adcock NKF Burbage 9

Lewis Fathers Shipston Excelsior 9

Alex Coultas NKF Burbage 9

Charlie Adcock NKF Burbage 9

Preview

Premier Division

New Year’s Eve

Westfields entertain Coventry United on Friday evening which will be a test of both sides promotion credentials. Elsewhere on Friday, Rocester welcome Boldmere St Michaels to Hillsfield with both sides at the wrong end of the table. Leaders Alvechurch are at home to Quorn with a chance to increase their lead at the top to 4 points. There is a cracking local derby in store at Castlecroft as AFC Wulfrunians entertain 5th placed Sporting Khalsa. Bottom club Brocton picked up their 2nd win of the season on Boxing Day and they travel to Highgate United hoping to make it three to close the gap at the bottom. 2nd bottom Tividale are on a run of 5 defeats in the last 6 and they travel to 7th placed Heanor Town. Stourport Swifts have picked up 8 points in their last 5 games to ease out of the bottom three and they welcome a revitalised Walsall Wood to Walshes Meadow. 11th meets 12th at Sphinx Drive as Coventry Sphinx entertain Shepshed Dynamo. Long Eaton United are just 5 points ahead of the relegation zone and they welcome Loughborough University to Grange park.

Bank Holiday Monday

A full fixture list on Monday and Tuesday for the Premier Division

Boldmere St Michaels vs Highgate United

Brocton vs Lye Town

Coventry United vs Coleshill Town

Quorn vs Rocester

St Andrews vs long Eaton united

Shawbury United vs Westfields

Shepshed Dynamo vs Heanor Town

Sporting Khalsa vs Stourport Swifts

Tividale vs Alvechurch

Walsall Wood vs AFC Wulfrunians

Loughborough University vs Coventry Sphinx (Tuesday)

Division 1

New Year’s Eve

Leaders Bromsgrove Sporting welcome 5th place Racing Club Warwick to The Victoria Ground with the two sides having scored 22 goals between them on Boxing Day. 2nd place Leicester Road are at home to Chelmsley Town looking to get back to winning ways. 3rd place Atherstone Town travel to Staffordshire to face mid-table Uttoxeter Town. It’s landlords versus tenants at St Johns Park with Heather St Johns hosting 4th placed Hinckley AFC. Lichfield City are just 6 points off the top of the table and they travel the short distance to face lowly Pelsall Villa. Stafford Town have climbed out of the bottom two and they can improve their position further, should they win at a faltering Nuneaton Griff. 2nd bottom Studley welcome draw specialists Cadbury Athletic to the Beehive. Pershore Town entertain Coventry Copsewood with both sides looking for points to move further away from the drop zone.

Bank Holiday Monday

Atherstone Town vs Nuneaton Griff

Bolehall Swifts vs Heather St Johns

Bromsgrove Sporting vs Pershore Town

Chelmsley Town vs Pelsall Villa

Coventry Copsewood vs Southam United

Hinckley AFC vs Heath Hayes

Lichfield City vs Leicester Road

Littleton vs Cadbury Athletic

Racing Club Warwick vs Studley

Stafford Town vs Uttoxeter Town

Division 2

Leaders Alvis Sporting Club entertain Hampton with a superb record of no losses and only 9 league goals conceded this term. 2nd placed Droitwich Spa travel to Earlswood Town who are unbeaten in their last 5 league games. 3rd placed Fairfield Villa, level on points with Droitwich, travel to bottom club Continental Star. 4th meets 5th at The Valley Stadium where in-form Redditch Borough entertain Knowle. Two sides with contrasting recent fortunes meet at The Trevor Brown Memorial Ground with Paget Rangers, having lost their last two league games hosting Barnt Green Spartak, winning their last two. Feckenham, on the back of two heavy home defeats, welcome Coton Green to The Entaco. 2nd bottom Leamington Hibernian, just two points off the bottom, travel to mid-table Sutton United. Expect a tight game at The Glades with Smithswood Firs hosting Bloxwich Town.

Bank Holiday Monday

Barnt Green Spartak vs Smithswood Firs

Bloxwich Town vs Sutton United

Continental Star vs Paget Rangers

Coton Green vs Knowle

Droitwich Spa vs Alvis Sporting Club

Fairfield Villa vs Redditch Borough

Hampton vs Earlswood Town

Leamington Hibernian vs Feckenham

Division 3

No games on Saturday for Division 3 but a full fixture list on Monday. Leaders NKF Burbage travel to 5th placed Moors Academy in what should be a fascinating match-up. Montpellier are 12 points behind the leaders with 2 games in hand and they cannot afford to slip up as they host Enville Athletic. Bottom club AFC Solihull host FC Stratford with the visitors in good goalscoring form. Two sides who were on the wrong end of 18 goals on Boxing Day meet with Inkberrow hosting Castle Vale Town. Coventrians shocked Shipston Excelsior on Boxing Day and will hope to do it again as they meet at Holbrooks Park. Barton United had a big win on Boxing Day and will want to back that up when they host Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons. 4th placed Northfield Town are right in the promotion mix and will be tested this week with a trip to 6th placed Alcester Town.

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