Black Country Rangers 5 Ettingshall PF 0

Tuesday 27th April 2010
Black Country Rangers 5 Ettingshall Park Farm 0
West Midlands League Division 2
At: The Beeches, Packwood Road
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Admission: £2; Programme: none
Attendance: 25 (headcount)
Weather: sunny spells
Duration: first-half: 46:18; second-half: 47:24

On what was a nostalgic trip for me to The Beeches, home of Tividale FC, groundsharers Black Country Rangers made full use of their game in hand to move three points clear at the top of the West Midlands League Division 2. They eased to a 5-0 victory over Ettingshall Park Farm, who will finish the season at the foot of the table. My previous visit to the ground was 22 years ago in April 1988 when Tividale lost 3-0 at home to Oldbury United. Rangers now visit second-placed Wem on Saturday with both sides having three games left.

Black Country Rangers (red/red/red): 1. Luke Tilt, 2. Doug Gould, 3. Adam Harris, 4. Richard Bailey (capt), 5. Danny Whitehouse, 6. Danny Smith, 7. Elliot Skelding, 8. Todd Warner, 9. Joshua McKenzie, 10. Jamie Hurdman, 11. Jason Chilton. Subs: 12. Scott Stevenson (for Bailey, 55), 14. Lee Cartwright (for Gould, 55), 15. Martyn Guest (for Warner, 67), 16. Russell Garner (not used).

Ettingshall Park Farm (white / navy blue / navy blue): 1. Aaron Morris, 2. Simon Wynne, 3. Richard Lewis, 4. Amil Salman, 5. Shaun Davies, 6. Matthew Clayworth, 7. Lee Hayward (capt), 8. Ben Pitt, 9. Steve Hill, 10. Leon Davis, 11. Gavin Caw. Subs: 12. Daniel Moulton (for Davies, 35), 14. Phil Brown (for Caw, 61), 15. Ian Boden (not used).

1-0 Todd Warner (12)
2-0 Richard Bailey (23)
3-0 Scott Stevenson (60)
4-0 Joshua McKenzie (72)
5-0 Martyn Guest (80)

Black Country: none
Ettingshall: none

Silsden 2 Winsford United 1

Saturday 24th April 2010
Silsden 2 Winsford United 1
Vodkat League Premier Division
At: Cougar Park
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: £5; Programme: £1 (44 pages)
Attendance: 120
Weather: sunny
Duration: first-half: 47:14; second-half: 48:10

Silsden AFC brought the curtain down on their 6½ spell at Cougar Park with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Winsford United in the Vodkat League Premier Division. After a goalless first half, Andy Kinsey put the visitors ahead within two minutes of the restart and they held the lead until Scott Henson headed in a 78th minute equaliser. In a fitting end to their 170th and final competitive game at the home of Keighley RLFC, Silsden grabbed an 86th-minute winner though it did come courtesy of an own goal from the unfortunate Steve Capper.

Because I didn’t trust the M6 – 10 minute delay indicated between junctions 15 and 16 – I left the motorway at the earliest opportunity and took an interesting route via Congleton, Alderley Edge, around the M60 through Stockport, past Chadderton’s ground before travelling through Rochdale, Littleborough, Hebden Bridge and Oxenhope.

Finally arriving in Keighley around 2-15 pm, I found the ground entrance on Royd Ings Road after a bit on panic over not finding it on the main A650.

The ground was an impressive Rugby League venue with large stand, containing bench seating down the right-hand touchline with a covered terrace, named the North Stand, behind the near goal. Down the left-hand touchline and behind the far goal were substantial uncovered terraces named the East Terrace and South Terrace.

Though the first-ever Silsden AFC was founded in 1904, the present-day side results from the reforming of a Saturday side in 1996. Progressing through the Craven and District League and West Ridling County Amateur League, the club joined the North-West Counties League in 2004. They gained promotion to Division 1, now titled Premier Division, at the first attempt and the current 2009/10 season is their fifth consecutive in the top division.

Teams were announced over the tannoy and the announcer pointed out that two Silsden players – Martin Foulger and Michael Rosser – had indeed started the first game at Cougar Park back in March 2003, a 2-2 against Bay Athletic in the West Riding County Amateur League.

Both sides went into the game in the lower half of the table with Silsden (40 points from 38 games) in 16th position. However, Winsford (19th position with 33 points from 36 games) still had relegation troubles though with games in hand to pick a few more points to secure their Premier Division status for next season.

Winsford got the game underway attacking the South Terrace end in the first half. Chances were scare during the opening 20 minutes. Then Jordan Barker turned on the edge of the Winsford area and hit a fierce left-foot shot which Jason Astbury tipped over.

Just after the half-hour mark. Lewis Barker hit a rising 25-yard shot which didn’t miss the target by much. One supporter shouted “yes” as the ball headed towards goal, expecting the back of the net to bulge.

Silsden skipper Chris Simpson went even closer to breaking the deadlock in the 44th minute when he thumped a volley against the bar.

After one supporter sang ‘Happy Birthday’ for someone in the crowd called ‘Matthew’, Winsford took the lead just 65 seconds after the resumption. Andy Kinsey, who I remember playing for Newcastle Town last season, fired an angled shot across goal into the far top-right corner of the net. I revealed the time on my Golden Goal ticket. Alas I had ‘34’ and not the required ‘46’.

Raffle tickets were sold during the first half with two prizes on offer. The winning numbers were 700 and 707 – agonisingly close to my 713 ticket.

Back to the action and Silsden’s quest for an equaliser. Astbury produced a couple of decent saves, first to parry a well-struck 25-yard shot from Simpson and then to keep out another shot from Daniel Riley.

Micahel Rosser, who had played in Silsden’s first game at Cougar Park, had the honour of being the last substitute to come on.

Eventually Silsden levelled things up in the 78th minute. Barker delivered a right-wing corner and Scott Hanson rose to head home from 6 yards out.

I felt a fitting finalĂ© would be a Silsden winner and that was the way things turned out in the 86th minute. Makeshift Winsford defender Steven Capper deflected Rosser’s left-wing cross into his own net under pressure from Riley. “Second goal for Silsden scored by OG,” came the announcement on the tannoy.

The victory turned out to be Silsden 100th in the North-West Counties League.

With the Cougar Park era over, Silsden can now look forward to playing home first-team games back in their own village at an upgraded Keighley Road ground.

Hampton 1 Feckenham 0

Tuesday 20th April 2010
Hampton 1 Feckenham 0
Midland Combination Division 2
At: Field Lane
Kick-off: 6-30 pm
Admission: none; Programme: none
Attendance: 35 (headcount)
Weather: sunny, strong cold wind
Duration: first-half: 45:24; second-half: 48:25

In my third consecutive game involving Feckenham, title favourites Hampton kept up the pressure on the Midland Combination Division 2 leaders by emerging from a tense game with a narrow home 1-0 victory. Scott Morrison scored with winner with a spectacular strike in the 72nd minute on a sunny-but-cold evening at the Hampton Sports Club, located a couple of miles south of Birmingham Airport on Field Lane. Hampton now trail leaders Kenilworth Town K. H. by just 11 points with five games in hand.

Hampton (red/black/red): 1. Ali Lewis, 2. Luke Donaghy, 3. Steve Brittain, 4. John Collins, 5. Liam Mansell (capt), 6. Scott Mansell, 7. Phil Morris, 8. Steven Parish, 9. Scott Morrison, 10. Gareth Parfitt, 11. Jamie Williams. Subs: 12. Thomas Boswell (for Parish, 61), 14. Nickie Hanlon (for Morris, 78), 15. Chris Chamberlain, 16. Luke Hollingsworth, 17. Ryan Miller.

Feckenham (green and white stripes / white / white): 1. Wayne Bradshaw, 2. Nigel Adams, 3. Ashley Bunn, 4. Gavin Barrett, 5. Steve Taylor, 6. David Edwards, 7. James Burke (capt), 8. Adam Hill, 9. Tony Wakefield, 10. Karl Surman, 11. Danny Janes. Subs: 12. Craig Frampton (for Hill, 84), 14. Ben White (for Surman, 83), 15. Ian Heppinstall (not used), 16. Chris Edwards (not used), 17. Matthew Cooke (for Wakefield, 68)

Referee: P. Sudbury.
Assistants: P. Lycett and S. Chalkley.

1-0 Scott Morrison (72)

Hampton: Steven Parish (YC, 39), John Collins (YC, 90)
Feckenham: Tony Wakefild (YC, 21), David Edwards (YC, 90)

AFC Smethwick 5 Feckenham 1

Saturday 17th April 2010
AFC Smethwick 5 Feckenham 1
Midland Combination Division 2
At: Holly Lane, Erdington, Birmingham
Admission: none; Programme: none
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 11 (headcount)
Weather: hot and sunny
Duration: first-half: 49:02; second-half: 49:19

After Feckenham took the points on Thursday, AFC Smethwick came out convincing winners in today’s return Midland Combination Division 2 fixture at their Holly Lane ground in Erdington. On a hot and sunny afternoon, Feckenham again gained an early lead but AFC Smethwick bounced back to net five unanswered goals. With hurling being played on a neighbouring pitch over the other side of the fence, it was good to watch the football in the company of Mike Greaves, Andy Dakin and another north-west-based traveller with his dog and son.

AFC Smethwick (green and white hoops / white / white): 1. Parminder Singh, 2. Jughoham Gill, 3. Kieran Lail, 4. Manfrit Sahota (capt), 5. Darshan Ram, 6. Jaspal Singh, 7. Kam Sandhu, 8. Ricky Sandhu, 9. Ashley Edwards, 10. Bobbwinder Nahal, 11. Randeep Bhogul. Subs: 12. Nick Singh (not used), 13. Nathan Gill (not used), 14. Rajwant Sangha (not used), 16. Sandip Leeba (not used).

Feckenham (red/red/red): 1. Trevor Whittington, 2. Nigel Adams, 3. Ashley Bunn, 4. Chris Edwards, 5. Danny Janes, 6. David Edwards, 7. James Burke (capt), 8. Adam Hill, 9. Karl Surman, 10. Tony Wakefield, 11. Craig Frampton. Subs: 12. Ian Heppinstall (for Frampton, 60), 14. Ben White (for Burke, 65), 15. Gavin Barrett (not used), 16. Matthew Cooke (for David Edwards, 79).

Referee: K. Williscroft.
Assistants: G. Wilkes and L. Cheeseman.

0-1 Karl Surman (5)
1-1 Ashley Edwards (25)
2-1 Ricky Sandhu (49)
3-1 Manfrit Sahota (54)
4-1 Manfrit Sahota (66)
5-1 Bobbwinder Nahal (90)

AFC Smethwick: none
Feckenham: Ian Heppinstall (YC, 90+3)

Feckenham 2 AFC Smethwick 0

Thursday 15th April 2010
Feckenham 2 AFC Smethwick 0
Midland Combination Division 2
At: Mill Lane
Admission: none; Programme: £1
Kick-off: 6-20 pm (delayed until 6-35 pm)
Attendance: 23 (headcount)
Weather: cloudy, dry
Duration: first-half: 46:35; second-half: 45:00

Feckenham scored a goal in each half against AFC Smethwick to keep their faint hopes of winning Midland Combination Division 2 alive. The visitors played the first 21 minutes with 10 men, before the late-arriving goalkeeper took the field, and Feckenham took an early lead during this time. The points were secured with a 70th minute second goal and the game finished in very gloomy light due to a late kick-off. My delayed journey and difficulty in finding the ground entrance meant no pre-match photos of what was a picturesque village near Redditch. Also, it was good to watch the game in the company for Facebook friend Laurence and a couple of other fellow football travellers. The teams meet again in two days time on Saturday in the return fixture.

Feckenham (green and white stripes / black / green): 1. Wayne Bradshaw, 2. Ashley Bunn, 3. Craig Frampton, 4. Nigel Adams, 5. Chris Edwards, 6. David Edwards, 7. James Burke (capt), 8. Adam Hill, 9. Luke James, 10. Karl Surman, 11. Danny Janes. Subs: 12. Nick Rumbold (not used), 14. Tony Wakefield (for James, 60), 15. Ian Heppinstall (for Bunn, 78), 16. Gavin Barrett (not used), 17. Ben White (for Surman, 78).

AFC Smethwick (blue/blue/blue): 1. Sandip Bains, 2. Rajwant Sangha, 3. Jughoham Gill, 4. Manfrit Sahota (capt), 5. Bobbwinder Nahal, 6. Jaspal Singh, 7. Kam Sidhu, 8. Daninder Sangha, 9. Sandip Leeba, 10. Ricky Sandhu, 11. Darshan Ram. Subs: 14. Kieran Lail (not used), 15. Nathan Gill (for Leeba, 79).

Referee: B Taylor.
Assistants: G Blackmore and D Amor.

1-0 Adam Hill (6)
2-0 David Edwards (70)

Feckenham: Luke James (YC, 50)
AFC Smethwick: Rajwant Sangha (YC, 53), Manfrit Sahota (YC, 76)

Axminster Town 1 Exeter Civil Service 2

Saturday 10th April 2010
Axminster Town 1 Exeter Civil Service 2
Carlsberg South West Peninsula League Division 1 East
At: Sector Lane
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: £3 including 32 page programme
Attendance: 35 (headcount)
Weather: sunny
Duration: first-half: 47:35; second-half: 51:36

On the first Spring-like Saturday of the year, Axminster’s miserable current run of form continued with a fifth straight defeat. All the goals were scored during the opening 14 minutes with visitors Exeter Civil Service taking an early two-goal lead before the home side pulled a goal back from a penalty.

Axminster Town (black and amber stripes / black / amber): 1. Chris Higgs, 2. Mike Hancock, 3. Andy Gage, 4. Leo McGuire, 15. Leigh Beer, 6. Danny Galloway (capt), 7. Ollie Highet, 8. Alex Wheatley, 9. Mark Hancock, 10. Tom Vincent, 11. Scott Burrough. Subs: 12. Ben Vine (for Highet, 34), 16. Richard Challis (for Burrough, 70).

Exeter Civil Service (purple/white/white): 1. Liam Jones, 2. Stuart Francis, 3. Chris Clarke, 4. Steve May, 5. Lee Atkins, 6. Brett Wright, 7. David Wilkes (capt), 8. Johnny Holding, 9. Darren Bingham, 10. Adam Jason-Ryan, 11. Sam Brunt. Subs: 12. Matt Byrne (for May, 74), 14. Nick Coles (not used), 15. Scott Marshall (not used), 16. Neil Saunders (for Holding, 88), 17. Kevin Smith (not used).

Referee: Ioan Ignat.
Club linesmen: Stuart Dickson and Andy Jane.

0-1 Steve May (4)
0-2 Johnny Holding (8)
1-2 Alex Wheatley (14 pen)

Axminster: Alex Wheatley (YC, 59)
Exeter CS: Lee Atkins (YC, 33), Johnny Holding (YC, 78), Darren Bingham (YC, 89)

Continental Star 0 Heather St Johns 4

Thursday 8th April 2010
Continental Star 0 Heather St Johns 4
Midland Combination Premier Division
At: Dales Lane
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Admission: £5 including 16 page programme
Attendance: 37
Weather: mild, dry, cooling breeze
Duration: first-half: 46:35; second-half: 46:56

Heather St Johns eased to the victory they required to move one-point clear of Castle Vale at the top of the Midland Combination Premier League table with six games remaining. They scored three of their four goals during the first half of the game played at Rushall Olympic’s Dales Lane ground which Continental Star share.

Continental Star (yellow / blue / navy blue): 1. Daniel Baynham, 2. Daniel Moses, 3. Chinua Tempe, 4. Tony Green, 5. Nathanial Gray, 6. Sean Burrell, 7. Aaron Moses, 8. Joshua O’Garro (capt), 9. Azi O’Garro, 10. James Reid, 11. Antony Barker. Subs: 12. Jordon Willock (for Gray, 34), 14. Julian Salman (for Barker, 73), 15, Allondo Davis (for Tempe, 16), 16. Franklyn Hazell (not used), 17. Damen Green (not used).

Heather St Johns (white/white/white): 1. Tom Gutteridge, 2. Ryan Evans, 3. Mitchell Jordan, 4. Jonathan Mills, 5. Ryan Jarvis (capt), 6. Ashley Spencer, 7. Andy Spencer, 8. Lee Taylorson, 9. Matt Moore, 10. Mitch Piggon, 11. Chris Waldrum. Subs: 12. Jack Robinson (not used), 13. Jamie Brassington (not used), 14. Danny Quinn (for Waldrum, 61), 15. Ryan Pearce (for Taylorson, 69), 16. James Fisher (for Andy Spencer, 79).

Referee: Richard Gould.
Assistants: Dale Evans and Bryam Heath.

0-1 Mitch Piggon (24)
0-2 Andy Spencer (28)
0-3 Chris Waldrum (43)
0-4 Andy Spencer (53)

Continental Star: Reid (YC, 85)
Heather: none

Tooting & Mitcham Utd 2 Carshalton Athletic 2

Monday 5th April 2010
Tooting & Mitcham United 2 Carshalton Athletic 2
Ryman League Premier League
At: Imperial Fields, Bishopsford Road, Mitcham
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: £10; Programme: £2 (52 pages)
Weather: cloudy, sunny spells
Attendance: 528
Duration: first-half: 46:05; second-half: 49:06

On paper, the 17-mile trip from Laleham to Mitcham was doable even in traffic though lengthy queues on the road between Kempton Park and Hampton Court made me wonder if I’d make it in time for kick-off. In the end, I parked up in a neighbouring sidestreet and entered Imperials Fields with around 10 minutes to spare. The game and ground made the trip worthwhile!

In a classic game of two halves, relegation-threatened Carshalton took a two-goal lead before the interval, only for Tooting’s leading scorer Paul Vines to net twice after the break to earn his side a point.

The stadium, opened in 2002 on the site of a former Crystal Palace training ground, was impressive with a large 612-seat stand and substantial terracing behind each goal. I'll claim a 'new ground' even though I saw Palace's Youth Team play on the former training ground in February 1991. If memory serves me correct, the current stadium has a different 'footprint' to the old training pitch.

Tooting & Mitcham United (black and white stripes / black / red): 1. Dave King, 2. Dean Hamlin, 3. Andrew Howell, 4. Michael Nelson, 5. Joe Vines (capt), 6. Matt York, 7. Allan McLeod, 8. Colin Hartburn, 9. Paul Vines, 10. Simon Parker, 11. Jason Henry. Subs: 12. Sam Clayton (for Parker, 82), 14. Mike Heverin (not used), 15. Tom Graves (not used), 16. Jason Pinnock (not used), 17. Adam Fletcher (not used).

Carshalton Athletic (maroon / maroon / sky blue): 1. Nick Hamann, 2. David Ray (capt), 3. Rob Watkins, 4. Karl Murray, 5. Lewis Gonsalves, 6. Adrian Toppin, 7. Barry Stevens, 8. Tommy Williams, 9. Byron Harrison, 10. Richard Jolly, 11. Ricardo Joseph. Subs: 12. Palayo Gomez (for Harrison, 79), 15. Rashid Kamara (not used), 16. Justyn Roberts (not used), 17. Luke Badari (not used).

Referee: Graham Kane.
Assistants: Shaun Fletcher and Simon Griffiths.

0-1 Richard Jolly (6)
0-2 David Ray (30)
1-2 Paul Vines (55)
2-2 Paul Vines (85)

Tooting: Michael Nelson (YC, 18), Dave Hamlin (YC, 66), Allan McLeod (YC, 74)
Carshalton: Richard Jolly (YC, 66)

Staines Lammas 4 CB Hounslow United 1

Monday 5th April 2010
Staines Lammas 4 CB Hounslow United 1
Combined Counties League Division 1
At: Laleham Recreation Ground, The Broadway, Laleham, Middlesex
Kick-off: 11-30 am
Admission: £5 including 56 page programme
Attendance: 25 (headcount)
Weather: sunny spells, blustery wind
Duration: first-half: 45:24; second-half: 48:08

After dropping the family off at Hillingdon tube station for their day in Central London, I made my way round the M25 to the village of Laleham, a mile or so south-east of Staines. This was the first leg of a Bank Holiday ‘double’ and, coincidently, one of the few remaining home league games for the Staines Lammas first team at the Laleham Recreation Ground before a groundshare at Ashford Town (Middlesex) FC commences next season.

Going into the game in second position, one point behind leaders Worcester Park, Lammas found the opponents CB Hounslow United, uneven pitch and wind all difficult to cope with, particularly during a scrappy first half. They gained a single goal advantage before half-time and upped their performance after the break to gain with a 4-1 victory.

Staines Lammas (blue/blue/blue): 1. Dan Fox, 2.Jamie Redrup, 3. Adam Ridley, 4. Ben Whatford, 5. Lawrence Munns (capt), 6. Chris Bullen, 7. Ben Jacob, 8. Chris Baker, 9. Jamie Smithers, 10. James Stanford, 11. Ryan Copeland. Subs: 12. Lee Henson (for Copeland, 65), 14. Robbie Sitch (for Bullen, 73), 17. Calem Eaves (for Stanford, 84).

CB Hounslow United (mustard/black/black): 1. Andy Smith, 2. Mark Peters, 3. Darren Putman, 4. Andrew Stirling, 5. Ryan Joseph, 6. Wayne Phillips, 7. Karl Powell, 8. Gary Franklin (capt), 9. Andrew Whitham, 10. Jerome Edwards, 11. Mesi Olabi. Subs: 12. Carl Phillips (for Whitham), 14. Rob Mack (for Olabi, 68), 15. Nathan Rose (for Stirling, 56).

Referee: Colin Readett.
Assistants: Geoff Knock and Ahmad Rafique.

1-0 James Stanford (35)
2-0 Adam Ridley (56)
3-0 Ben Whatford (67)
3-1 Gary Franklin (83 pen)
4-1 Robbie Sitch (85)

Staines: Dan Fox (YC, 83)
CB: Mark Peters (YC, 34), Ryan Joseph (YC, 56), Wayne Phillips (YC, 81)

Rothwell Corinthians 2 Stotfold 5

Saturday 3rd April 2010
Rothwell Corinthians 2 Stotfold 5
Hereward United Counties League Premier Division
At: Seargeant's Lawn, Desborough Road
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: £4 including 20-page programme
Attendance: 35 (headcount)
Weather: sunny spells, showers towards the end
Duration: first-half: 47:32; second-half: 51:19

Having beaten Rothwell Corinthians 7-2 at home last Saturday, Stotfold recorded a ‘double’ with another substantial victory against the Premier Division’s bottom club. Corries actually took an early lead but Stotfold hit back hold a 3-1 advantage at the interval. Two further goals put the visitors out of sight and Rothwell netted a late consolation goal.

Rothwell Corinthians (red/black/red): 1. Paul McKay, 2. Tom Johnson, 3. Anthony Farrell, 4. Lee Deakin, 5. Nikolay Shterev, 6. Russell Escritt, 7. Ben Johnson (capt), 8. Eris Okoeguale, 9. Bobby Drain, 10. Sam Johnson, 11. Dean Murray. Subs: 12. Paul Cox (not used), 14. Ryan Cottingham (for Murray, 70), 15. Michael Harman (for Farrell, 78), 16. Chawa Chinkhumba (for Sam Johnson, 74), 21gk. Callum Leach (not used).

Stotfold (blue and white hoops / blue / blue): 1. Steve Young, 2. Andy Carter, 3. Ryan Ellis, 4. Mark Bryant (capt), 5. Michael Payne, 6. Shane Brown, 7. Louis Taylor, 8. Stuart Lochhead, 9. George Brinkman, 10. Josh Bickerstaff, 11. Paul Garrett. Subs: 12. James Peters (for Garret, 74), 14. Joe Philbin (for Carter, 59).

Referee: M. Gospel.
Assistants: J. Crook and D. Hanna.

1-0 Anthony Farrell (6)
1-1 Paul Garrett (10)
1-2 Paul Garrett (17)
1-3 George Brinkman (22)
1-4 Louis Taylor (47)
1-5 Stuart Lochhead (61)
2-5 Chawa Chinkhumba (90)

Rothwell: Bobby Drain (YC, 50), Tom Johnson (YC, 55), coach (sent from dugout, 62), Michael Harman (YC, 65)
Stotfold: Michael Payne (YC, 16)