Thrilling Win for Sporting Grapevine

Bromsgrove & District Football League Round Up

Last Updated: Mar 9, 2015 02:53pm
Abbey, Redditch
By Simon Burgess
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After yet another rain scare proved unfounded, the first BDFL cup final of the current season was successfully completed and it produced a thrilling victory for underdogs Sporting Grapevine in the Division 1 Cup Final, more of that shortly. Meanwhile in other highlights, the BGIS win machine churned out another victory as they progressed into yet another semi-final, this time the County Minor Cup with a 3-0 win over Awkies Allstars, who have now crashed out of 4 cups since the turn of the year and have just the WA Harris Cup left to play for. BGIS are not letting many goals in, indeed yesterday was their 10thclean un’ in 17 games, with highly rated keeper Aaron Collins yet again saving a penalty! Hare and Hounds and AFC Northfield Reserves, the leaders of the Prem and Division 3 respectively, also both won. 
In the cup final, we had a competitive well fought out match from start to finish, watched by a healthy 140 crowd which for an afternoon kick off matched our expectations. Kicking up the hill, Studley Railway got off to a fine start on 3 minutes, as a Chris Hands throw was headed home by Marc Jovanovic who looped a backwards header into the corner of the net. Grapes themselves had looked composed in the early stages and their endeavours were rewarded on 7 minutes with a stunning equaliser from Rory Milbourne who galloped some 30 yards, outpaced the ageing Studley backline and let rip with a 20 yard drive which flew into the top corner. In the 12th minute, Grapes nearly doubled the lead when James Gasson’s free kick from 20 yards was expertly turned around the post by Nick Cotton in the Studley goal. With Milbourne going close on 19 minutes after a mazy run, it was clear who had started the better and this showed when Railway’s Chris Hands became the first person to enter the referee’s notebook on 24 minutes as their frustrations mounted. 1-1 at the break. Into the second half, Studley nearly went ahead on 51 minutes when Jovanovic’s fine run and shot was saved by Ben Gardner. On 57 minutes, Grapevine went ahead with a stunning goal, when Rory Milbourne’s 35 yard plus effort from wide out on the touchline simply flew past Cotton, who could do little more than clutch fresh air as the ball rattled into the top stanchion, it will take a good goal to beat this effort in this season’s cup finals! Sean Trainor’s strike on 65 minutes for Studley was the next attempt at goal, comfortably held by Gardner. On 76, Grapes player Mike Wyatt tried a spectacular over head kick but didn’t really get the connection required, before the hard running Danny Fogarty nearly put the game beyond doubt on 85, but Cotton was equal to the shot.  With Grapes finishing strongly, it needed a wonderful goal line clearance from Matt Rowland on 89 to stop Jason D’Aguilar’s lob nestling in the net. With the Grapes management willing the referee to end the match, there was short-term heartbreak when Trainor popped up for Studley on 91 minutes with a close range finish to force a penalty shoot out.
With a large number of spectators choosing to watch the shoot out from behind the top goal, a good atmosphere prevailed and many fancied Studley to go on and win, given their shoot out record in recent weeks. Grapes however won the shoot out 3-1, to lift the Division 1 Cup, with penalties from David Marsh, James Gasson and Tom Devaney all being converted, only Jason D’Aguilar missing; For Studley, Stephen Dipple predictably converted before Rupert Antley, Nick Briggs and Sean Trainor were all foiled by inspirational saves from Ben Gardner, which set off a string of green shirts running towards Gardner, with Grapes manager Keith Righton sprinting like his legs had never taken him before, his grey suit standing out a mile amongst a pile of green and orange – Wonderful scenes and a wonderful success for a team who have come on tons this season. Studley didn’t play their best game, a fact quickly acknowledged by Clay Dyson, but their sportsmanship and behaviour was second to none and they were graceful losers, setting an example for all to follow in the coming weeks. Congratulations to both sides for getting the 2014/15 finals off to a thrilling beginning!
Domestically, the LMS Shield has now become very interesting given the two group games played out; Alvechurch Lions’s two goal victory over Spa Athletic, not only knocked Spa out of the competition on goal difference, but it instead allowed Sporting Grapevine to progress into the latter stages of the competition as group runners up.  Welsh wizard Dane Morgan and Anthony Miller were the Lions scorers. In Group B, Vic Barnt Green Reserves faced Vic first team, now under the VBGF brand and the Premier Division title holders could only manage a solo goal victory, with the goal coming in the last 5 minutes, which totally blows the outcome of the group wide open; Had VBGF won 5-0 they would have been guaranteed a quarter-final place, but now the issue is out of their hands with a Studley Railway victory next week over Vic Reserves meaning Studley and Bromsgrove Unionists both qualify at VBGF’s expenses, a trophy VBGF have held for three years. Even if VBGF do qualify, it can only be as group runners up, which means a quarter-final showdown with Hare and Hounds. If they are to retain the trophy, it will certainly have to be done the unorthodox and hard way.
Talking of Hare and Hounds, their 4-0 Premier Division victory over AFC Northfield was as comfortable as the scoreline suggests, although AFCN dug in extremely well and kept the score down to 2-0 until the last ten minutes of the match. Kyle Morrison, David Glaze, Josh Westwood and Richard Dugmore the goalscorers for Hounds. There was an exciting match at H.D.A Club as Thomas Brothers got the better of Golden Lion Athletic by the odd goal in nine, in what was a thrilling encounter with the home side coming from 2-0 down, although Thomas Brothers media outlets don’t think much of their performance! Richard Tyler’s hat-trick was surely a plus point though, with Rob Burkus and Tommy Williams also netting; For Golden Lion, the evergreen Stee Collett scored as did Kit Wozniak, Dan Everton and Karl Brown.
Rubery Athletic moved up to third place after they travelled to Belbroughton Athletic and came away with a 3-1 victory, Andy Court at the double and Danny Mayo with one; The strike partnership of Davies and Court is really starting to gel now (Davies assisting Court yet again) and expect more goals from these pair before the season is put.
Just the one match in Division One and this saw Stoke Sporting gain a narrow 1-0 win over North Colts United. Debutant Harvey Harris with the winner after Dave Penn unselfishly squared the ball to him. Stoke had to work hard defensively for their victory but they are invariably tough to score against when they take the lead at home and this was emphasised when James Browning saved a penalty. The end of season re-group for North Colts United seemingly can’t come quick enough.
In Division 2, Chaddesley Corbett are moving ominously close to the top of the table, indeed their 3-1 win over Sporting Rednal sees them move level with Rednal on goal difference. Nathan Steward rediscovered his goalscoring touch to bag a brace (one a fine bit of poaching) with Rocco Mitchell nabbing the other. For Rednal, an early class 25 yarder from left back Matthew Wilkes was as good as it got for them, with an injury to Darryl Foster at the heart of their defence and the AWOL JJ Evans proving costly absentees. AFC Millfields have had a torrid time this season, but are now thankfully coming out the other side and they gained their first win for some time with a narrow 2-1 victory in the Sidemoor Tenants v Landlords clash; Goals from the unpredictable midfielder Ben Craddock and Amin Jay Cummings doing the job.  Bromsgrove United, also in the title mix, had a 3-1 home victory over Hizza United Seconds for whom Jimmy MacDonald scored a quite simply brilliant 25 yarder. Bradley David Bullimore got a brace for the home side and Michael Grey one on his return after a needless suspension. The Division 2 title race is sure to go to the wire with many of the big players still to play each other.
In Division 3, Callowbrook Green became the first side to finish their BDFL season as they lost 5-2 at AFC Northfield Reserves with Sam Valente and Ashan Thomas both grabbing braces for the home side, as did Tom Mason for Callowbrook.  With the chasing pack having games in hand on Callowbrook, it is unlikely they will hold their pitch in the top three but it’s been a much improved season for Craig Woolridge’s team where they have showed some significant promise to build on for next year. The Beevers of Bromsgrove United Reserves are starting to get excited about their title hopes although it is very much AFC Northfield’s to lose. Bromsgrove had a fine 6-1 win over Belbroughton Reserves with lots of different scorers (Ryan Eves with two, Jonny Ingram, James ‘Paris’ Hylton, Jake Exley and Kyle Williams). Arrow Valley had a nice 2-0 win over Stoke Sporting Reserves with Aaron Price and Jay Russell the men on target, but they had to survive a first half barrage of pressure from SSR which culminated in them being denied by the woodwork and wonder saves from Matthew Bray in the home goal.
Next week we do not have a cup final, but have another exciting semi-final as Bromsgrove United play host to BGIS again, in the second of three semi-finals between the sides. This will be another decent game with both sides capable of scoring goals. We also have the aforementioned LMS Shield Group B decider and VBGF face an intriguing game against Sporting Rednal in the WA Harris Cup with loyalties split within the Wilkes family camp! With a load of other league fixtures too, we once again recommend you to take in a game somewhere if you are not playing yourself!


Studley Railway 2 (Jovanovic, Trainor), Sporting Grapevine 2 (Milbourne 2)
Sporting Grapevine win 3-1 on penalties

Awkies Allstars 0, BGIS 3

Alvechurch Lions 2, Spa Athletic 0
Vic Barnt Green Reserves 0, VBG Fairfield 1

Hare and Hounds 4 (Glaze, Morrison, R Dugmore, Westwood), AFC Northfield 0
Belbroughton Athletic 1, Rubery Athletic 3 (Court 2, Mayo)
Thomas Brothers 5, Golden Lion Athletic 4

Stoke Sporting 1 (Harris), North Colts United 0
AFC Millfields 2 (Craddock, Cummings), Golden Lion Athletic Reserves 1
Bromsgrove United 3 (Bullimore 2, Grey), Hizza United Seconds 1 (MacDonald)
Chaddesley Corbett 3 (Steward 2, Mitchell), Sporting Rednal 1 (Wilkes)

AFC Northfield Reserves 5 (Valente 2, Thomas 2, Odane), Callowbrook Green 2 (Mason 2)
Bromsgrove United Reserves 6 (Eves 2, Ingram, Hylton, Exley, Frost), Belbroughton Athletic Reserves 1
Arrow Valley 2 (Price, Russell), Stoke Sporting Reserves 0



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