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Thrills & Spills Keep On Coming

Bromsgrove & District Football League

Last Updated: Apr 22, 2015 10:01am
Abbey, Redditch
By Simon Burgess
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Into the middle of April and the thrills and spills keep on coming in the BDFL! This week’s action saw two cup finals played, one an outside cup one, another championship confirmed and another one still even more confusing to work out after Week 37’s results!

Hard to know where to start but we’ll start with the news Sporting Grapevine have been confirmed as Division 1 title winners this without a ball being kicked, after their only other pursuers Victoria Barnt Green Reserves failed to beat Stoke Sporting (going down 3-1), which left Grapevine as the top of the mountain. Congratulations to Keith Righton the rookie manager and also to club ambassador Rory Milbourne who fought hard to keep the club going in the summer and has now got his reward – Life will undoubtedly be tougher in the Premier next season but they are fully entitled to have a dib at it, with the title following on from winning the Division 1 cup final. Another team to do the league and cup ‘double’ are AFC Northfield Reserves who won Sunday afternoon’s Rose Bowl, after a 3-1 win against Laburnum at Redditch United, a venue we had to divert too after not being able to be accommodated at Bromsgrove Sporting FC due to other finals taking place. The first half of the match was dominated by AFC Northfield Reserves who put significant pressure on Laburnum from the start and were rewarded with a sweet strike from well-regarded utility player Ashan Thomas who coolly finished from the edge of the area past a helpless Paul Cooke. In the second half, Laburnum picked up the pace and got back into the game through a deserved equaliser from Dan Kings. At this point it looked like a penalty shootout would be needed to split the teams but AFCN Reserves O’Dane Campbell had other ideas as his clean strike gave Northfield the lead once again. The win was sealed after referee Ryan Macilravey awarded a penalty, which captain Darren Bull wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity of scoring from. Well done to Jason Harris and his team for proving they are the best team in Division 3 this season and Division 2 now awaits!
The other final we had an interest in was the WFA Premier Cup Final where Hare and Hounds aimed to bring the trophy home to the BDFL for the first time, but despite a fine footballing performance from the Hounds, Black Horse’s unquestionable nous and experience got them home by a narrow 3-2 scoreline. Hounds took the game to Black from the off and were unquestionably the better side in possession, although against the run of play, Black took the lead half way through the first period when a corner was headed home as Hounds keeper Andrew Wardle hesitated and the Black player had a free header. A second followed soon after, similar set piece frailties proving Hounds downfall yet again and it did appear to be a worry that Black were being let in so easily. Fortunately Hounds kept their composure, despite David Glaze’s rash lunge leading to the first caution of the game by Arbiter Brookes and got back into the game when Lee Dunkley curled a superb 20 yard free kick over the wall leaving the Black keeper motionless. Into the second half and with Hounds kicking down the slope, the momentum still continued with the underdogs, an equaliser coming after fine right wing play led to Glaze nudging the ball over the line from close range. To be fair to Black, they got themselves re-energised and had a spell in the game where they dominated and a cool finish across Wardle’s body was enough for them to be celebrating at the end of the match. We are proud of what Hounds have achieved this season and congratulate them for flying the flag in the competition this season – Well done to Mark Hickey and team. Hounds are now left to focus on Sunday’s title decider in the Prem when they face VBG Fairfield where a win will seal them the title and a draw or defeat will leave them anxiously awaiting the fate of other results (assuming VBGF do not slip up against Alvechurch on Thursday night).
Talking of VBG Fairfield, their 6-0 win at Golden Lion Athletic helped their goal difference in the Premier title race. They opened the scoring when Ryan Molesworth finished off a Matthew Collins centre. With it only being 1-0 at the break, Wayne Davis asked his troops to step up the gas in the second half against the bottom side without a league win all season and Richard Bishop heeded his words with a calm composed finished for number two. Ellis Blakemore got the third before Bishop doubled up for goal number four when he was left in acres of space inside the penalty box to despatch a left foot strike into the onion bag. Blakemore got the fifth and his second, when he out foxed the GLA backline to make it into the penalty area before having his initial shot blocked, but he was on cue when the ball was recycled to score from close range. A rare goal for Joe Mayo late on, a 20 yard thunderbolt into the bottom corner from a free kick, sealed the win as VBGF enter a crucial make or break week in their season.
The aforementioned 3-1 win for Stoke Sporting over Vic Barnt Green Reserves was celebrated wildly on the sidelines by the watching Grapes players and the Stoke men who did the business in this game were Dave Penn, Jon Snell and James Browning, with the final goal being a goal of route one origins if ever there was such a description; Richard Lewis with the visitors goal. Studley Railway meanwhile were understrength for their return trip to Spa Athletic and it showed as they succumbed to a 6-1 defeat, their heaviest defeat of the season. Perry Reynolds opened the scoring for Spa from a set play, before Studley equalised through Stewart Roland having had an earlier effort disallowed. Once Spa got their noses in front mid-way through the second period and Studley changed goalkeeper, the floodgates opened somewhat and Kev Owens went onto register a hat-trick (two of which we think were penalties) with Chevez Phillips and Dave Riodam netting for good measure. As ever, games between these two were played in good spirits for which we thank both clubs.
Onto Division 2 and promotion chasers Chaddesley Corbett had to fight back from Jason Gibbons scoring a first half goal as they saw off Awkies Allstars 2-1 to cement their second placing in the table. It was only when Micky Mitchell equalised after a cross from youngster Rocco Mitchell did Chadds have any real belief they could win; And they got the precious winner when Ryan Moore set up Viking Beard (Dan Mcrozkowski) to score from close range after a shot had thundered against the bar. Sporting Rednal meanwhile refuse to give up top spot and their 2-1 home win over Bromsgrove United really does keep things interesting at the top. Dan Caveney and Lloyd Newman netting in this game and all eyes are really now on BGIS, who have 7 league games to play and can trump everybody if they win them all, but with more cup final appearances scheduled into their fixture regime, the question will be whether their legs can hold up? Division 2 is one to watch closely in the coming weeks!
Talking of the Division 2 bigboys, BGIS moved into another cup final as they won 4-3 away at Premier Division side Belbroughton Athletic in the WA Harris semi-final, coming from 3-1 down in the process after what can only be described as an inspirational team talk by Mark McCleary at the break. Four second half goals from Dom Strevens did the business and BGIS will face Hare and Hounds in the final after the Hounds won at Awkies Allstars in midweek in the other semi, Richard Dugmore’s solitary goal being enough after Awkies had given the Hounds the fright of their lives! In the other midweek game, BGIS started knocking off their fixture backlog with an 8-1 away league win at AFC Millfields; Dom Strevens got four in this one (so eight in three days!), whilst Colin Tandy was also bang on with his hat-trick.
Next Sunday sees more exciting games, not least the title showdown in the Prem between VBG Fairfield and Hare and Hounds (subject to VBGF not losing to Alvechurch on Thursday night which would really throw a spanner their works). Chaddesley Corbett and Bromsgrove United will be looking to close the gap on gameless Sporting Rednal in Division 2, whilst BGIS go into battle in the Kidderminster Hospital Cup with their hearts set on an astonishing sixth final appearance which would happen if they got to the final of this one. We’ll be back next Sunday, definitely next Sunday, with all the news so stay peeled!

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