Black Country Rangers 4 Wolverhampton Casuals 3

Thursday 16th May 2013
The J. W. Hunt Cup Final finished 4-3 as it did 12 months ago and tonight, at Molineux, holders Black Country Rangers retained the trophy thanks to a 90th minute winner from substitute Jozef Jakob. Following a quiet first half in which Paul Oakley gave Rangers a slender lead, the game certainly came to life after the break with no fewer than six goals. Jordan Nadat doubled Rangers’ lead before Casuals roared back to edge in front with goals from Sean Williams and two from Carlo Franco. Cassies looked like prevailing on their first appearance in the final until Jakob first levelled the scores and then netted the dramatic late winner. Off the field, a healthy crowd in the Billy Wright Stand boosted the funds of the Beacon Centre for the Blind and we won the raffle!

Black Country Rangers 4 Wolverhampton Casuals 3
J. W. Hunt Cup Final
At: Molineux
Kick-off: 7-15 pm
Admission: £3/£1; Programme: £1 (20 pages)
Weather: cloudy, rain during the second half

After the excitement of the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday evening, tonight I bought my 2012/13 UK season to a close at another iconic stadium – Molineux. Facing each other at the home of Wolverhampton Wanderers in the final of the long-standing and much-respected J. W. Hunt Cup were two sides from the West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division in Black Country Rangers and Wolverhampton Casuals. Both finished the season in the top five so a close contest was anticipated even though the two league meeetings produced an aggregate score of 10-1 in favour of the Casuals.

With credit to the JW Hunt Cup website ( The JW Hunt Cup Charity football competition was formed in 1926 to raise funds for the sole benefit of the local blind. It is named in memory of John William Hunt, a local business man and benefactor. Mr Hunt, who died at the age of 81 in December 1925, founded the local Chillington Tool Company and was a supporter of local charities. The firm’s trademark was the ‘crocodile’ and the crocodile is incorporated into the trophy handles. It has been run every season since 1926/27 season including the War years. The inaugural winners were Short Heath United who beat Cannon Iron at Molineux in April 1927. Over £277,500 has been raised since! Season 2011/12 alone raised £6,000.

2013/13 competition

First Round
Wyrley Juniors 3 Penkridge Town1
Black Country Rangers 1 Wednesfield RBL 1
Chasetown 2 Wolverhampton Sporting 0
Trysull 2 Wednesfield 3
Wolverhampton Casuals 3 Stone Old Alleynians 2
Wellington Amateurs 3 Ettingshall Park Farm 0
AFC Smethwick 2 Tividale 1
Brocton 6 Penncroft 0
Warstones Wanderers 3 Stafford Town 4
Sporting Khalsa 4 Continental Star 0
Darlaston Town 0 Wolverhampton United 1
West Midlands Police 1 AFC Wombourne United 4
Heath Hayes 6 AFC Wulfrunians 0
Willenhall Town 3 Pendeford Santos 1
Wrens Nest 2 Pelsall Villa 3
Bilston Town 3 Red Star Alma 0

Second Round
AFC Wombourne 0 Sporting Khalsa 1
AFC Smethwick 1 Bilston Town 2
Black Country Rangers 3 Stafford Town 2
Pelsall 0 Chasetown 2
Brocton 1 Wolverhampton Casuals 5
Wyrley Juniors 1 Willenhall Town 8
Wednesfield 1 Wellington Amateurs 0
Heath Hayes 1 Wolverhampton United 0

Quarter Finals
Chasetown 4 Willenhall Town 3
Wolverhampton Casuals 2 Heath Hayes 1
Black Country Rangers 5 Wednesfield 0
Sporting Khalsa 1 Bilston Town 0

Semi Finals (Monday 13th May)
Black Country Rangers 4 Sporting Khalsa 3 (at AFC Wulfrunians)
Wolverhampton Casuals 1 Chasetown 1 (aet, pens 4-3, at Sporting Khalsa)

I was quite surprised to find that the last of my six previous visits to Molineux came over 22 years ago in March 1991 before the old North and South Bank terraces and Waterloo Road Stand were demolished. The Steve Bull Stand (back then called the John Ireland Stand) remains in situ with three new stands – the large new Stan Cullis Stand at the north end, Jack Harris Stand behind the south goal and main Billy Wright Stand.

Both Rangers (5th with 88 points from 40 games) and Cassies (3rd with 97 points from 42 games) had a decent league season in the West Midlands (Regional) League with top-five finishing positions. Cassies soundly won both league meetings and I saw the 5-0 victory at Brinsford Lane back in February which followed a 5-1 win at Tividale earlier in the season.

Wolverhampton Casuals (in a change kit of sky blue and white stripes) got the game underway attacking the Jack Harris Stand (old South Bank end) in the first half.

We didn’t have to wait long for a goal as Black Country Rangers took the lead in the 7th minute. Paul Oakley ran into the area down the left and slotted a right-foot shot through Todd Henderson’s legs from 8 yards out.

Casuals went close in the 21st minute. Tom Maydew got forward down the right into the Black County area and hit a low shot on target which a defender got back to clear.

Confusion at the back gifted a chance to Oakley who, in a challenge with Todd Henderson, headed just wide of the unguarded Casuals goal.

Just before the break, Mark Bellingham couldn’t quite get on the end of a deep cross from Craig Love. The Casuals captain them drove a well-struck 30-yard shot just wide of the left-hand post.

Good news at the interval as our blue ticket 206–210 was announced as the winner of the raffle!

The second half immediately came to life when Sam Wilkinson flew at a right-wing cross from Nadat and sent a diving header just wide of the far post.

Unlike the first half, chances started to be created far more frequently and Black Country doubled their lead in the 56th minute. Nadat ran down the right into the area and slotted a low shot between Henderson and the near post.

Casuals immediately bounced back with a goal a minute later. Sean Williams, on the left curled a looping shot which hit the far right-hand post and went in off defender Craig Gregg.

Henderson produced a decent save to top over a rising shot from Adam Swain before Casuals scored a 69th-minute equaliser. Angelo Franco delivered a left-wing corner to the near post which was forced over the line by Carlo Franco.

It got even better for Casuals five minutes later when they took the lead for the first time. Again from a corner, Luke Tudor sent perfect ball from the right which Carlo Franco headed into the far left-hand side of the net.

Black Country replaced Russell Garner with striker Jozef Jakob who certainly made a dramatic impact on the Final.

Jakob, who I remember playing for Stratford Town a few years ago, got Rangers back on level terms in the 82nd minute. A long throw from the left was flicked on and Jakob sidefooted home at close range.

With rain falling at its heaviest, Henderson produced another decent save with his boot to keep out a shot from Nadat but couldn’t do anything to prevent Black Country scored what proved to be the winner.

In the 90th minute, Gregg delivered a deep left-wing corner which hit the far post and rebounded kindly for Jakob to fire home.

There was still time for Casuals to mount a late attack. Sean Williams crossed deep from the right but Bellingham’s header was saved by Richard Kennerdy.

At full-time, Black Country’s Jordan Nadat was named Man of the Match.

Black Country Rangers (red/red/red): 1. Richard Kennerdy, 2. Adam Fincher, 3. Alex Hammond, 4. Russell Garner, 5. Aaron Lloyds, 6. Sam Wilkinson (capt), 7. Craig Gregg, 8. Jamie Hurdman, 9. Jordan Nadat, 10. Paul Oakley, 11. Adam Swain. Subs: 12. Lee Knight (not used), 14. Liam Hughes (not used), 15. Adam Harris (for Fincher, 63), 16. Douglas Gould (not used), 17. Jozef Jakob (for Garner, 79). Manager: Paul Garner.

Wolverhampton Casuals (sky blue and white stripes / navy blue / sky blue): 1. Todd Henderson, 2. Tom Maydew, 3. Luke Tudor, 4. Carlo Franco, 5. Daniel Lloyd, 6. George Williams, 7. Angelo Franco, 8. Craig Love (capt), 9. Mark Bellingham, 10. Matt Bailey, 11. Sean Williams. Subs: 12. Adrian Jones (not used), 14. Barry Evans (not used), 15. Ray Facey (not used), 16. Dan Pilgrim (for Love, 78), 17. Matt Dodd (for George Williams, 45). Manager: Carl Abbott.

Referee: Phil Magness.
Assistants: Neil Faunch and Adrian Hall
Fourth Official: Paddy Keane.

Attendance: 400 (estimate)

Duration: first-half: 45:36; second-half: 48:49

Man of the Match: Jordan Nadat (Black Country Rangers)

1-0 Paul Oakley (7)
2-0 Jordan Nadat (56)
2-1 Sean Williams (57)
2-2 Carlo Franco (69)
2-3 Carlo Franco (74)
3-3 Jozef Jakob (82)
4-3 Jozef Jakob (90)

Cards: none.