Lichfield City 4 FC Glades Sporting 1

Saturday 13th August 2011
Lichfield City 4 FC Glades Sporting 1
Athium Midland Combination Division 2
At: The City Ground, Brownsfield Road
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: none; Programme: £1 (12 pages)
Attendance: 60 (headcount)
Weather: dry, sunny spells
Duration: first-half: 46:31; second-half: 45:00

While there was a big match on in Stafford today, where FC United of Manchester were the visitors to Marston Road, as well as home games for Brocton and Riverway, I opted instead for a first visit to the Brownsfield Road home of Lichfield City FC.

The history on their website ( mentions that the club was formed during the 1970s as Beacon Rangers and changed name to Beacon Park, the name of the ground on which they played. From 29th June 1996, the club has been known as Lichfield City.

I think I’m correct in saying that the present Lichfield City has no connection with another club called Lichfield who were members of the West Midlands League between 1976 and 1994. I saw this club play a home game in 1990 at Shortbutts Lane located to the south-east of the city centre between the A51 and A5127.

Back to today and the Brownsfield Road ground was a railed-off pitch within a larger park with no cover though had an area of hardstanding in front of the impressive clubhouse. The ground was easy to find off Eastern Avenue.

Last Saturday, Mike Greaves (aka AncientWolf) visited Brownsfield Road and wrote on the Non-League Matters Forum: ‘I saw Lichfield City v Polesworth 6-2 in the Midland Combination League Cup on Saturday. A programme was issued as per league rules 12 pages £1 but I confirmed that they will be issuing for league games … and the editor is listed in the club officials page in the prog’. And copies of ‘City Talk’ were sold around the ground before kick-off.

Looking at the league table, 14th-placed Lichfield City (0-1 at Bromsgrove Sporting) and 15th-placed FC Glades Sports (0-2 at home to Shirley Town) both lost their one and only league game. However, as Mike mentioned, Lichfield defeated Polesworth last Saturday in the Les James Challenge Cup (sponsored by Endsleigh), which got their 2011/12 season off to a winning start. Interestingly in making reference to the Bromsgrove defeat, the Lichfield manager commented that people were saying this was a promotion clash.

Once the fair-play formalities were done (unusually substitutes participated in the handshakes as well), teams changed ends and Lichfield (wearing all blue) got the game underway defending the changing rooms end in the first half.

To be honest, the first half could have been described as being a ‘midfield stalemate’ or having ‘defends on top’. Few chances were created during the first half. One moment of magic, however, light up the first half to give visitors FC Glades Sporting (wearing all red) the lead in the 36th minute. Richard Homer found Lawrence O’Neill on the edge of the City area and he hit an unstoppable shot that flew between the keeper and right-hand post. One Lichfield player responded by urging his teammates to improve as he said: “It’s all about character boys, let’s raise it. It has got to be better”.

I really don’t know whether similar words were said in the Lichfield changing room during the interval. Whatever was said at half-time soon had a remarkable impact on the game.

FC Glades could have doubled their lead immediately after the restart when Stephen Barrett got clear and lifted a lob just over the bar.

Lichfield equalised in the 55th minute. Callum Howles delivered a deep cross from the left which was knocked back by Sean Williams for Ashley Bennett to force over the line at close range.

And the Blues took the lead two minutes later. Williams crossed from the right and Mark Rose headed home.

To complete an amazing turnaround, Lichfield scored a third goal in four minutes. This time Liam Holt fired home at close range to make it 3-1.

The home side continued to dominate and create chances with diving FC Glades’ keeper Chris Burkett turning a low shot from Josh Bambury round the left-hand post.

I watched most of the second half in the company of a hopping WBA season ticket holder whose name escapes me. Lichfield were awarded a penalty for handball which substitute Dan Mason (not to be confused with defender Dan W. Mason) converted from the spot despite Burkett getting his hand to the ball.

That shouldn’t have been the end of the scoring. FC Glades’ Stephen Barrett hesitated as he tried to round Craig Johnson allowing the Lichfield keeper to thwart what should have been a shot on goal. And in the 90th minute, Bennett exchanged passes with Bambury and fired just over the bar almost scoring what would have been a lovely goal.

0-1 Lawrence O’Neill (36)
1-1 Ashley Bennett (55)
2-1 Mark Rose (57)
3-1 Liam Holt (59)
4-1 Dan Mason (85 pen)