Phoenix United 2 Bromsgrove Sporting 11

Saturday 21 April 2012
Phoenix United 2 Bromsgrove Sporting 11
Athium Midland Combination Division 1
At: Vale Stadium, Farnborough Road, Castle Vale, Birmingham
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission and programme: £3 (8 pages)
Attendance: 63
Weather: sunny spells and showers
Duration: first-half: 45:09; second-half: 46:07

Bromsgrove Sporting rewrote their own record book with a biggest victory since being founded in 2009 and Chris Conway became the club’s first player to score five goals in a game. After three Sporting goals during the opening 11 minutes including two penalties, it quickly became evident it would simply be a matter of ‘how many’. Sporting led 7-1 at half-time and 10-1 just before the hour mark, yet managed one further goal during the final half hour. Well-known and much-travelled former Rushden & Diamonds midfielder Justin Jackson scored one of Phoenix’s two goals. There were a couple of firsts for me with a ‘new scoreline’ for the second consecutive Saturday with this 2-11 and I’ve now seen four different teams play a home game at the Vale Stadium.

Like yesterday’s trip to Llay Welfare, I was looking for a game today with something at stake. While no longer able to win the division, Bromsgrove Sporting still needed to pick up a few more points to secure third spot and probable promotion to the Premier Division. Phoenix United had the incentive of moving off the foot of the table with a win; to do so they would have to score their first league goal in two months.

I’ve described the Vale Stadium before – previously visited for home games involving Paget Rangers, Castle Vale and Castle Vale JKS. Located near the Tyburn Roundabout and M6 junction 5, about five miles from Villa Park, it is dominated by a large stand containing around 300 amber or black seats (Paget’s colours).

Programmes were available at the turnstile from a very welcoming and cheerful lady and the eight-pager included a history of both clubs. Phoenix United were formed in 2002 and I was under the impression they were previously known as Thimblemill Rec. However, there was no mention of ‘Thimblemill’ who first joined the Midland Combination in 1989. So, a bit of further research is needed. Bromsgrove Sporting are a ‘phoenix’ club formed in 2009 during the demise of Bromsgrove Rovers.

Going into the game Bromsgrove (3rd with 58 points from 31 games) knew they couldn’t win the title but third place could be good enough to earn promotion should the Premier Division be expanded in numbers from the present seventeen clubs. They held a four-point advantage of fourth-placed Lichfield City who also had three games remaining.

Getting off the foot of the table was the aim of Phoenix United (18th position with 21 points from 31 games). However, they had lost six of their last seven games and hadn’t scored in any of those seven games. Second-bottom side were Droitwich Spa, one points better off with a far better goal difference having played two games more.

Phoenix hosted Bromsgrove back in November and won a Smedley Cooke Memorial Trophy First Round tie 9-8 on penalties after the tie finished 4-4 after extra time.

Phoenix (in all blue with red trim) got the game underway defending the railway/M6 end in the first half – attacking from right to left in relation to my seat in the stand.

Bromsgrove (in a change kit of all yellow with green numbers) scored twice goals during the seven minutes, both from the penalty spot. Dwight Linton brought down Carl Fellows in the third minute and former Phoenix striker Chris Conway confidently scored from the spot. The same defender felled Dan Wilkes four minutes later and this time Joe Brookes hammered the ball past Phoenix goalkeeper Sean Burrell.

The visitors found the net again in the 11th minute. Keith Draper junior found Carl Fellows on the right who hit a well-struck right-foot shot which slipped through the hands and thighs of Burrell and into the net. The game was over as a contest and it was just a question of how many goals Bromsgrove would score.

Bromsgrove goalkeeper Tom Savage was called into action on the quarter hour to gather up a low shot from striker Stefan Morrison, who I believe played for Stapenhill in the past.

Turk should have made it 4-0 when unmarked in from of goal six yards out but his shot flew over the bar (photo right).

By this time I’d vacated the stand and stood behind the goal Bromsgrove were attacking and I got a good view of the fourth goal in the 26th minute. Conway got into the area on the right and squared a pass for Dan Wilkes to sidefoot home.

The same combination were involved in the fifth goal just before the half-hour. Conway fed Wilkes whose powerful shot went in via the hand of Burrell.

A slip by Linton let in Brookes who forced a decent diving save out of Burrell at the expense of a corner.

The sixth goal same in the 33rd minute. Aaron Roberts burst into the area and fired low into the near left-corner as Alex Smith tackled. Conway should have made it seven almost immediately as he sent a rising shot flashing past the Phoenix goal.

The Bromsgrove goal was rarely threatened yet Phoenix reduced the deficit with a 35th-minute goal. Hesitancy at the back allowed former Rushden & Diamonds midfielder Justin Jackson to nip the ball past Savage and into an empty net. The goal was Phoenix’s first in over 11 hours of football since the 4-3 win over Knowle on Saturday 18th February.

The home side soon had another chance. Morrison fired a free-kick against the wall and Asher Blake shot wide from the rebound.

Bromsgrove scored a seventh goal as the interval approached. Fellows delivered a delicious cross from the right for Conway to head home from six yards out.

Linton was replaced by Ben Main at half-time but Morrison did not reappear so Phoenix played the whole of the second half with just ten men.

Conway completed his hat-trick within a minute of the restart. Wilkes fed Roberts who crossed low from the left for Conway to sidefoot home unchallenged at close range.

Someone shouted “I want to see it 14-1,” and that scoreline looked a distinct possibility when Conway scored his fourth goal and Bromsgrove’s ninth in the 55th minute. Turk chipped the ball into the area to the far right post when the red-hot striker fired an angled shot low into the opposite corner.

“Double figures and more lads,” and soon the tenth goal came two minutes later. Substitute Robbie Hendry got on the end of Nicky Martin’s crossed and fired past Burrell.

I felt certain I’d see a side score more than 14 goals in a game for the first time but Bromsgrove added just one more during the final half hour – I shouldn’t have been so greedy!

The referee must have had some sympathy for the home side when Burrell brought down Conway inside the area. He decided not to award a penalty which would have been followed by a red card for the goalkeeper.

Despite having already conceded ten goals, Burrell produced a couple of decent saves around the hour mark to twice deny Roberts a second goal. Conway narrowly missed the target with an acrobatic overhead kick.

In the 70th minute, Phoenix got forward. Blake beat two defenders and got in a low shot which Savage kept out with this boot. From the resulting corner delivered by Shane Tait, James Azamgarthi powered a header into the back of the net to make the score 2-10.

Burrell produced further saves to keep out shots from Conway and James Azamgarthi as hopes of a record win for me faded.

The thirteenth and final goal of the afternoon came in the 84th minute. Draper forced a save out of Burrell and Conway slotted home the rebound at close range.

Phoenix United (blue/blue/blue): 1. Sean Burrell, 2. James Azamgarthi, 3. Aldean Walters, 14. Dwight Linton, 5. Alex Smith, 6. Shaun Smith, 7. Aaron Brannon, 8. Justin Jackson (capt), 9. Asher Blake, 10. Stefan Morrison, 11. Shane Tait. Subs: 12. Daniel McIntosh (not used), 4. Ben Main (for Linton, ht).

Bromsgrove Sporting (yellow/yellow/yellow): 1. Tom Savage, 2. Carl Fellows, 3. Aaron Roberts, 4. Nicky Martin (capt), 5. Mike Thurbon, 6. Joe Brookes, 7. Keith Draper junior, 8. James Turk, 9. Chris Conway, 10. Dan Wilkes, 11. Kevin Banner. Subs: 12. Robbie Hendry (for Wilkes, 51), 14. Jonathon Rogers (for Thurbon, ht), 15. Peter Jenvey (not used), 16. Chris Bright (not used), 17. Keelan McNally (for Roberts, 64). Manager: Keith Draper senior.

Referee: K. Carroll (Acocks Green).
Assistants: B. Murray and C. Baugh.

0-1 Chris Conway (3 pen)
0-2 Joe Brookes (7 pen)
0-3 Carl Fellows (11)
0-4 Dan Wilkes (26)
0-5 Dan Wilkes (30)
0-6 Aaron Roberts (33)
1-6 Justin Jackson (35)
1-7 Chris Conway (43)
1-8 Chris Conway (46)
1-9 Chris Conway (55)
1-10 Robbie Hendry (57)
2-10 James Azamgarthi (70)
2-11 Chris Conway (84)