Pitch-side Preview: Rose & Crown v Red Lion

Pitch-side Preview: Rose & Crown v Red Lion
Monday 25th June 2012
Summer League
Kick-off: 7-30 pm at Boylestone

Summer League clubs return to action this evening for what would have been their 14th league game of the season, had the wet weather not caused so many postponements.

All being well, my featured match tonight will be the one at Boylestone where second-placed Rose & Crown entertain Red Lion.

Rose & Crown have had an interesting season and sit three points behind leaders Bradley. I say ‘interesting’ because their ten league games played so far have produced just 19 goals with 12 scored and seven conceded. However, Rose & Crown scored seven times during their latest cup game, a 7-2 victory over Kirk Langley in the League Cup First Round, last Thursday.

Red Lion gained a recent boost by picking up a deserved first league point of the season at home to Doveridge with Pat Newbould scoring in a 1-1 draw at Longford.

(up to an including Monday 18th June 2012)

Elsewhere, leaders Bradley travel to fourth-placed Brassington and will remain on top regardless of the outcome at Onslow Farm due to their superior goal difference. They hold a three-point lead over Rose & Crown. Brassington, who have played more league games than any of the other 13 Summer League clubs, topped the table earlier in the season.

Third-placed Coach Rangers host George & Dragon at Mayfield fresh from Thursday’s 27-1 cup win over The Bridge. John Scott’s side have games in hand over the top two. This game has been switched to Mayfield as Ashbourne Rec is wet.

It will be interesting to see how The Bridge bounces back this evening after that cup defeat when they face Biggin.

At the Polo Ground, Osmaston will be playing just their eighth league fixture of the season and have enough games in hand to make progress up the table into the top four. Wheel, with just one point from ten games, are the visitors.

Tonight’s two other games see fifth-placed Doveridge host ninth-placed FC Hulland and 12th-placed Weston entertain Kirk Langley who are two places higher in the table and three points better off.

Brassington v Bradley
Coach Rangers v George & Dragon
Doveridge v FC Hulland
Osmaston v Wheel
Rose & Crown v Red Lion
The Bridge v Biggin
Weston v Kirk Langley

Midland Alliance 2012-13

Following Monday's AGM, the following clubs will make up the Midland Football Alliance constitution for season 2012-13:

Alvechurch, Boldmere St. Michaels, Bridgnorth Town, Causeway United, Coleshill Town, Continental Star, Coventry Sphinx, Dunkirk, Ellesmere Rangers, Gornal Athletic, Heath Hayes, Heather St. John's, Highgate United, Kirby Muxloe, Loughborough University, Rocester, Stourport Swifts, Stratford Town, Studley, Tipton Town, Tividale, Westfields.

The changes from last season are that Champions Gresley FC have been promoted to the Evo-Stik League Northern Premier Division One South and both Atherstone Town and Willenhall Town have been relegated. Joining the league are Gornal Athletic (West Midlands League Champions), Continental Star (Midland Combination Champions) and Stourport Swifts (relegated from the Evo-Stik League Southern).

Loughborough University will begin the season at their new 3000 capacity stadium.

England Ladies 1 Holland Ladies 0

Sunday 17th June 2012
England Ladies 1 Holland Ladies 0
Euro 2013 Qualifying Group 6
At: Salford City Stadium
Kick-off: 5-15 pm (live on BBC)
Admission: £5; Programme: £3 (52 pages)
Weather: sunny spells
Attendance: 5505
Duration: first-half: 45:03; second-half: 48:36

England Ladies took control of Group Six with a narrow 1-0 victory over their Dutch rivals at Salford City Stadium. A moment of opportunism from Rachel Yankee midway through the second half proved to be the difference between the sides in a largely disappointing game, particularly during the first half.

Full report to follow...

1-0 Rachel Yankee (68)

Bradley 4 Coach Rangers 3

Saturday 16th June 2012
Bradley 4 Coach Rangers 3
Bill Redfern Memorial Cup Final
At: Osmaston Polo Ground
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
Admission: £2; Programme: none
Weather: rain, sometimes heavy
Attendance: 25 (headcount)
Duration (45): first-half: 45:04; second-half: 46:12

I felt very proud and honoured to present the trophies at the end of an exciting Bill Redfern Cup Final which holders Bradley won by the odd goal in seven. In the rain at Osmaston, Coach Rangers scored twice in three minutes around the quarter-hour mark through Callum Woolley and Mark Maznenko to open up what looked like a decisive lead. However, clinical finishing from James Rushby reduced the deficit shortly before the interval and Bradley equalised with an own goal not long after the restart. Karl Grocott put Bradley ahead for the first time but Carl Allen’s header got Coach back on level terms. It was Chris Rowe who scored what proved to be the winner for Bradley just before the hour mark who became the first side to retain this cup.

Summer League clubs contest four knock-out cups during the season (Peter Young, Bill Redfern, League and Wayne Tarbard) and this one honours Bill Redfern, one of the league’s founders who gave many years service before he passed away and played for Wyaston on very first night of fixtures in 1930.

I mentioned in my preview that Coach had lost the last two Bill Redfern finals on penalties and Bradley were looking to become the first side to retain the cup. In the league, Bradley topped the table though Coach would go top if they won all of their games in hand. So, it could be argued that tonight’s game could have been between the two sides at the top of the table had all fixtures been played.

The Omaston Polo Ground, which once hosted Central Midlands League football, is a familiar venue described in the past as the ‘“Wembley” for all Summer footballers’. The pitch was partly roped-off down each touchline with the elegant pavilion beyond the far end.

Considering all the rain that had fallen and dark clouds gathering to the west, it was somewhat pleasant for Coach Rangers (in yellow) to get the game underway, attacking the pavilion end in the first half.

Just before kick-off, I was joined by Dave ‘Veteran’ Woodings who provided good company during the first half before he returned to his car to watch the second half from a drier and more sensible position.

Both sides had a chance each during the opening quarter hour with James Rushby firing across the face of the Coach goal and Ian Godfrey curling a free-kick just over the Bradley bar.

The sunshine didn’t last and rain returned with vengence!

Callum Woolley has been a prolific scorer in this season’s Bill Redfern Cup and he found the net again in the 15th minute. Found by a deep from the left, he gave Bradley goalkeeper Alex Dowling no chance of keeping out a perfect header into the far side of the net.

It got even better for Coach two minutes later with a second goal. Mark Maznenko hooked a left-foot shot into the bottom-right corner just out of the reach of the diving Dowling. Brilliant for Coach and they looked set to win the Bill Redfern Cup at last.

At this point, with Coach on top, the lack of numbers of the back of some Bradley players wasn’t posing too much of a problem for me. Thankfully all the players had unique numbers on their shorts (hence the ‘x’ in the line-up below denoting a short number).

Coach continued to create chances and captain Jimmy Carter drove just over the bar. However, Coach goalkeeper Robert Redfern was called into action just before the half-hour to turn round a low shot from Karl Grocott at the expense of a corner.

In the 33rd minute, Dowling prevent Coach scoring a third goal by parrying a dipping volley from Woolley and a defender got in way of a Dan Frith’s follow-up shot from the rebound. The keeper also kept out another effort by Woolley a few minutes later.

Clinical finishing got Bradley back in the game in the 42nd minute. Unchallenged James Rushby sidefooted home a low cross from the right. On what was the first of several occasions, I was thankful for the nearby Bradley ‘bench’ for providing the name of the scorer.

Reflecting on the first half during the interval, I thought Coach deserved their lead and that Bradley hadn’t played well yet were only a goal behind.

Standing on the Bradley side of the ground to avoid having rain driving into my face and notebook, I overheard some of the team talk and the words said did the trick as the men in white levelled things up within five minutes of the restart. Maznenko and Grocott both went for a cross delivered from the left and the ball flew off the head of the defender into the net.

If losing their lead was bad enough for Coach, Bradley scored again four minutes later to edge ahead 3-2. Grocott hit a fantastic shot that flew into the net via the underside of the bar.

Coach weren’t finished and equalised in the 58th minute. Carl Allen got on the end of a right-wing cross and sent a downward header into the bottom left corner of Dowling’s net.

Amazingly, in this thrilling final, Bradley bounced back to regain the lead a minute later with what proved to be the winner. Richard Bailey’s initial shot was parried by Redfern and Chris Rowe slotted home from the rebound.

Coach threw men forward in search of an equaliser and twice almost got one around the 79th minute, as well as having both Sam Howard (pictured) and Carter booked. Dowling kept out a header from Woolley and, in the next attack, a Coach header was blocked on the line by a defender (sorry, no names because of the gloom). John Scott’s side then unsuccessfully appealed for a penalty after Maznenko went down inside the area.

During the closing stages, I was asked to present the trophies to the winners and runners-up – something that, as I said, made me feel proud and honoured. Thank you.

Bradley (white with blue and black diagonal stripe / white / white): 1. Alex Dowling, 6. Mike Twemlow, x7. Jay Twemlow, x9. Mark Sellers (capt), x10. Chris Rowe, 18. Richard Bailey, x8. Jez Oborn, 11. Tom Rushby, 16. Wayne Archer, 12. Karl Grocott, 10. James Rushby. Subs: 7. Steve Williams (for Grocott, 63), x. Nick Stubbs (not used).

Coach Rangers (yellow/black/black): 1. Robert Redfern, 16. Craig Richardson, 6. Paul Godfrey, 3. Carl Allen, 11. Sam Howard, 12. Jimmy Carter (capt), 7. Ian Godfrey, 14. Mark Maznenko, 8. Dan Frith, 9. Callum Woolley, 10. Sean Millward.

Referee: Chris Cope.
Assistants: Jim Conway and ???

1-0 Callum Woolley (15)
2-0 Mark Maznenko (17)
2-1 James Rushby (42)
2-2 Mark Maznenko (50 og)
3-2 Karl Grocott (54)
3-3 Carl Allen (58)
4-3 Chris Rowe (59)

Bradley: none
Coach: Sam Howard (YC, 76), Jimmy Carter (YC, 77)

Pitch-side preview: Bradley v Coach Rangers

Saturday 16th June 2012
Bill Redfern Memorial Cup Final
Kick-off: 7-30 pm at Osmaston

Bradley will be looking to win their third trophy of the current season and retain the Bill Redfern Memorial Cup when they take on Coach Rangers at Osmaston tomorrow (Saturday) evening in a repeat of last year’s final. Should they be successful, Bradley will become the first side to win back-to-back finals since the competition’s inception in 1995. Twelve months ago they won 5-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time (winning team pictured).

Opponents Coach Rangers, the current league champions, are contesting the final for the third season but left Osmaston empty-handed in both 2010 and 2011 after suffering the anguish of defeats on penalties to Holly Bush and then Bradley.

In the annual season-opening curtain-raiser, Bradley drew 0-0 with Coach to retain the Challenge Cup and two weeks ago defeated The Bridge 5-0 to win the Peter Young Memorial Cup. Will they win another trophy tomorrow?

Coach Rangers visited Bradley for a league game and returned with a 5-3 defeat. Though Bradley top the table, Coach have several games in hand on the leaders and recorded a 5-0 win at Kirk Langley last (Thursday) night. Bradley also won 5-0 last night against the Wheel Inn.

Bill Redfern Memorial Cup: Previous winners (runners-up)

1995 Bradley (Mayfield)
1996 Coach Rangers (Ostrich Rangers)
1997 Mayfield (Coach Rangers)
1998 Doveridge (Green Man)
1999 Alton (Wheel Inn)
2000 Osmaston (Wheel Inn)
2001 Cancelled due to Foot and Mouth
2002 Alton (Wheel Inn)
2003 Doveridge (Osmaston)
2004 Alton (Brassington)
2005 Bradley (White Swan)
2006 Alton (Osmaston)
2007 White Swan (Bradley)
2008 Osmaston (Coach Rangers)
2009 Doveridge (Holly Bush) - Match Report
2010 Holly Bush (Coach Rangers) - Match Report
2011 Bradley (Coach Rangers) - Match Report

Bradley reached the Final with a 6-2 win over The Bridge in the First Round which was followed up by a 4-1 home victory over Brassington to reach the semi-finals. Bradley then defeated Rose & Crown 3-0 in the semi-finals at Longford to book a trip to Osmaston.

Goals certainly flowed for Coach Rangers on the route to tomorrow’s final. Last month, I saw Callum Woolley score seven goals in a 10-1 First Round win at FC Hulland (pictured right), and the striker also bagged a brace during a 4-1 win at Kirk Langley in the Second Round. Coach’s semi-final also produced goals in a 5-1 victory over Osmaston at Mappleton.

Full results from the 2012 Bill Redfern Memorial Cup

First Round (17th May)
Weston 2 Kirk Langley 5
George & Dragon 0 Doveridge 4
The Bridge 2 Bradley 6
Rose & Crown 6 Wheel 3
Brassington 3 Biggin 1
FC Hulland 1 Coach Rangers 10
Byes for Osmaston and Red Lion

Second Round (28th May)
Kirk Langley 1 Coach Rangers 4
Bradley 4 Brassington 1
Rose & Crown 3 Doveridge 0
Red Lion 3 Osmaston 9

Semi-Finals (6th June)
Rose & Crown 0 Bradley 3
Played at Red Lion (Longford)
Osmaston 1 Coach Rangers 5
Played at Mappleton

So tomorrow evening, will Bradley achieve a Summer League first or can Coach end their luckless run in the Bill Redfern Final? Who says that the final won’t be settled by penalties again.

Red Lion 1 Doveridge 1

Tuesday 12th June 2012
Red Lion 1 Doveridge 1
Summer League
At: David Naylor Transport ground, Longford Lane
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
No admission or programme
Weather: cloudy, mild, dry
Attendance: 15 (headcount)
Duration (40): first-half: 40:00; second-half: 41:01

While the final of the Ian Gallimore six-a-side competition was taking place at Osmaston, along with the Penalty Prize final, two rearranged league games took place at the same time – this one between Red Lion and Doveridge, and another at Mappleton where The Bridge entertained George & Dragon.

Here at Longford Lane, both the goals came during the first half in a 1-1 draw. Josh Moore gave Doveridge the lead in the 17th minute but bottom-of-the-table Red Lion equalised six minutes later through Pat Newbould. Red Lion played the first seven minutes with nine men and the remainder of the game with ten men while Doveridge finished with ten men after Stuart Hall was sent off. The visitors dominated large periods of the game, only converting one of their numerous chances, and so allowed Red Lion to claim their first point of the season at the seventh attempt.

I’d only seen one previous game on this date, 12th June, and it was a novel occasion back in 1993, then billed as the ‘latest league game ever played in any previous season’. The Hellenic League ordered the Premier Division fixture between Moreton Town and Didcot Town to be replayed as the original game was abandoned. So, 19 years ago, a crowd of 280 (headcount) saw Moreton, who included Mark Lawrenson in their line-up, comfortably win 7-2.

Coming back up to date… After a gap of several years, the David Naylor Transport ground returned to the Summer League roster this season as the home of Red Lion FC (last year’s Ostrich FC) – hence my desire to head there tonight as it was the only current ground I’d not previously visited.

I was joined just before kick-off by both Dave ‘Veteran’ Woodings and Neil ‘Bob L Hatt’ Laughlin. Red Lion (in black and white stripes, black shorts and socks) got the game underway defending the Longford Lane end in the first half. Stuart Hall headed an early chance for Doveridge against the bar and Lion keeper James Earp blocked a follow-up shot from Ed White. Clem Mellor sent a free header over the bar as well.

Doveridge (yellow shirts; 5th in the table with 14 points from 9 games) took the lead in the 17th minute. Josh Moore hit a left-foot shot from 25 yards low into the far bottom-left corner of the net past the diving Earp.

Red Lion, who went into the game with a league record of ‘played six, lost six’ levelled things up in the 23rd minute during their first real attack. Pat Newbould poked home a shot inside the area.

The equaliser was certainly against the run of play as Doveridge continued to create chances right up to the half-time whistle. Kev Gadsby headed wide at the far post and, on the half-hour, Earp produced a superb reaction save to keep out James Robotham’s close-range shot. Mellor again headed over just before the interval.

It became ten versus ten in the 48th minute when Doveridge defender Stuart Hall was sent off with a yellow card followed by a straight red card in the space of 19 seconds.

Despite the setback, the visitors continued to enjoy possession and create chances but Red Lion almost took the lead on the hour when Lee Moulsdale hit the post.

Red Lion worked hard to stay level, especially when a defender got back to make a goalline clearance which kept out a header from White. Late in the game, Earp provided a diving save to turn round Moore’s low shot and Robotham powered a header over the bar from the resulting corner.

Red Lion (black and white stripes / black / black): 1. James Earp, 12. Tommy Smith, x. Matt West, 4. Lee Barlow, 15. James Stevenson, 2. Lee Moulsdale, 10. Anthony Blackburn, 8. Pat Newbould, x. Joe Bowley, x. Steve West.

Doveridge (yellow/blue/yellow): 1. Tom Oakes, 15. Pete Hoptroft, 12. Stuart Hope, 18. Clem Mellor, 8. Stuart Hall, 4. Danny Chadfield, 7. Charlie Hannible, 11. James Robotham, 7. Josh Moore, 11. Ed White, 17. Kev Gadsby. Subs: 12. Sam Chadfield (for Hope, 74).

0-1 Josh Moore (17)
1-1 Pat Newbould (23)

Cards: Red Lion: none
Doveridge: Stuart Hall (YC, 47), Stuart Hall (RC, 48), Josh Moore (YC, 67)