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Sporting Khalsa 2 - 3 AFC Wulfrunians

Midlands Football League Results

Last Updated: Jan 1, 2016 10:06pm
Stratford-upon-Avon, Stratford-on-Avon
By Gary Hazlehurst
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Sporting Khalsa 2 AFC Wulfrunians 3

There is nothing like a Boxing Day derby to blow away the Christmas Day and has these sides had met in the FA Cup earlier in the season and played out a 5 goal thriller, a lot was expected at the Aspray Arena. With the pitch a little sticky following days of rain, it was no surprise that both sides struggled to play any flowing football early on. Wulfs’ forwards were a constant threat to the Khalsa back line and James Pemberton had to react quickly, racing off his line to thwart Ricky Anslow. The home side should have taken the lead in the 20th minute. A free-kick from Craig Bannister was punched into the air by Danny Tipton who proceeded to palm the ball into the path of Mensah Kinch but this time, Tipton made a comfortable save. Matthew Martin was next to test Tipton but again the Wulfs keeper was up to the task. Kinch went closest to breaking the deadlock but his shot rattled the crossbar. Craig Gregg wasted a great chance for Wulfs just after the break, shooting wide when clean through. Wulfs opened the scoring in the 52nd minute. Jamie King latched on to an excellent through ball from Ravinder Aulak and fired into the corner past Pemberton. The lead lasted a minute, a mistake at the back letting in Marvin Nisbett who beat Tipton and then tapped home. A minute later, Nisbett hit the post and saw the follow-up saved by Tipton. Bannister then wasted an opportunity for Khalsa as they pressed for a second goal. At the other end, Kyle Brady volleyed wide when well placed but in the 69th minute, Brady made no mistake tapping in a cross from Anslow. Gregg forced a fine save from Pemberton as Wulfs looked to extend their lead. Substitute Michael Nelson hit the post again for Khalsa who could not force home the rebound. Wulfs made it three in the 82nd minute. A poor back pass by Tim Jackson played in Brady and although he was forced wide, the ball found its way to Anslow who made no mistake. Khalsa were back in it two minutes from time when Nisbett beat Tipton top the ball and tapped the ball home. In stoppage time, the visitors went the closest when Mark Ganderton’s shot was well saved. Wulfs saw out the clock to put a dent in Sporting Khalsa’s promotion hopes. A great second half and a game that could have gone either way. Over the 90 minutes, Wulfs were good value for their win and it sets them up for their home game against Hereford next week.

Monday, December 28th

Lichfield City 3 Stafford Town 1

A Bank Holiday Monday opportunity to watch one of the leading sides in Division 1 at home in a Staffordshire derby. My previous visit to the Cathedral City of Lichfield had been in pre-season when I saw them beat Evo Stik South leaders Stafford Rangers in a friendly. This time, it was Rangers neighbours, Stafford Town who were the visitors. Town put in a much-improved performance in the recent home defeat at the hands of Hinckley AFC and they need points to close the gap at the bottom of the table. It was the lowly visitors that started the brightest, Spencer Gunnell shooting over the bar inside the first minute. Town were appealing for a free-kick when Dan Jones appeared to be clipped as he ran through but the referee saw nothing wrong. Town should have opened the scoring in the 11th minute – an excellent cross from Gunnell was knocked back into the middle by Jones but somehow Craig Hulme missed his kick in front of goal. Gunnell created a chance for Jason Cunningham who failed to connect. Against the run of play. City took the lead when Dave Yonwin picked his spot after an excellent through ball. Lichfield should have had a penalty a couple of minutes later when Joe Haines was felled in the box but nothing was given. Town deservedly levelled proceedings through skipper Gunnell who finished well after a crisp passing moving involving Dan Nowell and Jones. Gunnell almost turned provider with another excellent ball across the face of the goal but there was no support from his teammates. Incredibly, Lichfield took the lead just before the break with a quality piece of control and finish from Tony Clarke. Two minutes into the second half, Lichfield increased their lead. A shot from Mike Taylor was well saved by Richard Stone but that man Clarke finished from a tight angle. Haines almost made it 4 in the 49th minute but Stone pulled off an excellent save. Hulme went close to reducing the deficit when his shot hit the crossbar. Clarke continued to strive for his hat-trick but a mixture of poor finishing and good defending kept the score down to three. A good three points for Lichfield City even though they weren’t at their best. On another day, Town could have taken something from the game but poor finishing cost them.

Review
Premier Division

Four games survived the weather on Boxing Day and Hereford hosted Westfields in front of a league record crowd of 4,381. The majority of supporters cheered the Bulls on to yet another victory with John Mills scoring all three in a 3-0 success. Sporting Khalsa missed the chance to close the gap on the top three going down 3-2 at home to AFC Wulfrunians. Coleshill Town bounced back to form with a 4-2 win at home to Stourport Swifts, the goals shared around. Resurgent Brocton won on the road again, 4-2 at Long Eaton United, veteran striker Paul McMahon with a brace. On Bank Holiday Monday, Hereford increased their lead at the top to 12 points in front of another bumper Edgar Street crowd. 2,910 turned out to see them beat Coventry Sphinx 6-1, John Mills and Pablo Haysham both scoring twice. Heanor Town moved level on points with Alvechurch following a 3-1 home win over Loughborough University. Boldmere St Michaels continued their recent good form with a 2-1 win at Lye Town. At the bottom, Dunkirk and Rocester shared 6 goals in a thriller at the Ron Steel Sports Ground, Kamran Frost scoring twice for Dunkirk.

Division 1

Bromsgrove Sporting closed the gap on leaders Coventry United to 4 points with a 3-1 home win over Studley in front of a fantastic crowd of 562. Leicester Road are third after an Amarvir Sandhu inspired win over Heather St Johns. Sandhu scored 4 as the home side ran out 5-1 winners. Lichfield City are 4th after a 3-1 win over bottom club Stafford Town, Tony Clarke with a brace. Nuneaton Griff are down to 5th following a 1-1 draw at Hinckley AFC. Pilkington XXX are just a point behind Nuneaton following a 2-0 win over Cadbury Athletic.

Division 3

Leamington Hibernian maintained their 4 point lead at the top with a 4-2 home win over Shipston Excelsior. Smithswood Firs lie in 2nd place following their 3-1 win over Burntwood Town at Mackadown Stadium. Barton United edged a close encounter with Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons to stay 3rd. Big winners of the weekend were FC Stratford as they beat Badsey Rangers 6-3 with Ashley Wilkes scoring a hat-trick. Northfield Town are up to 5th after a 3-2 away win at struggling Enville Athletic. Those results and a 2-0 defeat at Inkberrow saw Redditch Borough slip 3 places to 6th. Alcester Town continue to be the side to watch as they beat Coventrians 4-1 with Matt Layton getting two more. 

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