Sunday, 12 May 2013


I am making my way to the historic city of Lichfield today as I have decided to watch the Midland Combination, Presidents Cup Final which is being held at Brownsfield Road, home of Lichfield City FC. This is a cup competition for Combination 1st Division clubs. This gives me an excuse to have a look round Lichfield too as I have not been there for about 4 years.

The weather forecast is not a good one for today so I travel prepared for this, wearing my Berghaus waterproof jacket and portable brolly stowed away in the rucksack.

Unfortunately I don't give myself a lot of time to look around the city centre, after having my dinner it only gives me about 45 minutes before setting off for the football ground. Lichfield has got many listed buildings so if you are a fan of historical architecture, it's worth taking a look!

(This is a view of the Cathedral from the banks of the lake called 'Stowe Pool')

So I make my way past Stowe Pool with views of the Cathedral and St Chad's church and Stowe House at the other end. Then it's about another 10-15 minutes walk to the ground, which is a new one for me.

I pay the £5 entrance fee (programme included) and make my way to the far side of the ground as that is where the sun is shining from although there are some ominous dark clouds approaching.

I have a quick chat with a Villa supporter who has travelled from Tamworth via Villa Park today but he tells me the sad news that they lost 1-2 to Chelsea.

Kick-off time arrives and I am surprised that neither team has decided to play in their away kit as Cadbury Athletic play in purple and Phoenix United play in a mainly dark blue kit, which look a bit similar to each other.

Cadbury start off very well and have the giant's share of possession in the opening stages.


However, in only their second attack, Phoenix have a player brought down in the penalty area when attacking down the right and the referee has no qualms in awarding a penalty. The United No.7 duly dispatches this and Cadbury's are 0-1 down.

Cadbury's best chance comes late on with the Phoenix goalie making a fine block and from the rebound the next shot is blocked by a defender.

Phoenix United have been penned back in their own half for long periods in the first 45 minutes and I think to myself that Cadbury Athletic will  win this game if only they can score that first goal! During the first half I chatted a bit with the General Manager of Cadbury Athletic, Graham Thorn. He informs me that his team have failed to take a lot of their chances this season even though they have scored 100+ league goals.

He also tells me that plans are afoot to install floodlights at their Bournville ground although final planning permission is proving to be a problem.

For the first 15 minutes of the second half Phoenix press forward on the Cadbury goal trying to finish off their opponents.

Their attacks come to no avail however and one of their players gets booked for a robust challenge on a Cadbury defender. Play is stopped for several minutes while he gets treatment and the Cadbury goalkeeper is goading one of the Phoenix players. It takes two of his team mates to go over and calm him down before he causes any more trouble!

The weather is very variable today with brilliant sunshine interspersed with squally hail showers and about 3 times I have to take shelter in the nearest small stand.

Cadbury have the majority of play for the remainder of the match and their best chance falls to their No.7 who with only the goalkeeper to beat, steadies himself, takes aim and.....hits the right hand post!

Also a Phoenix player gets sent-off for a second yellow card but Cadbury's have blown it. Well into injury time, Phoenix break away and score a second goal!

               (The Phoenix United players celebrate the decisive goal)

A few minutes later the final whistle is blown and the players are presented with their medals and then Phoenix United are given the trophy and proudly display it for their fans.

I'm glad I came for this match, which has seen mostly free flowing attacking football from both teams. Phoenix have taken their chances well and rode their luck which you need in games like this. The attendance today was officially 66.

This will probably be my last match this season although I might go to watch Birmingham Ladies play in the summer, who play at Stratford Town's ground.

Friday, 10 May 2013


Today I decided to watch the Midland Combination, Div 2 title favourites, Barnt Green Spartak who play at Pilkington XXX's ground in Kings Norton. Albeit this was my 2nd choice after rejecting my initial choice of the Rugby Town v Biggleswade Town play-off final from the Southern League Central Division, purely on financial grounds. 

It's a sunny May Bank Holiday and I arrive at the ground 15 minutes before kick-off. I have a chat with the Spartak Chairman, Mr. Avtar Singh after paying my £2 entance fee and he tells me that he missed his team's recent away win at title rivals, Sutton United due to a trip to India.

Barnt Green are playing in their mainly all blue strip with orange and Leamington in their green and white. The crowd looks to be about 25-30.
When the game starts, Spartak dominate proceedings and the Hibernian defence is working overtime to keep them out.

               (Here Myron Semper attacks for Spartak down the right)

After going close on several occasions, the Spartak No.4, Lamar Simms scores a very well taken goal. I hear later on that he has only just come back from injury but he certainly didn't show any signs of rustiness!

Leamington somehow manage to finish the first half without conceding any more goals.

A Leamington fan tells me that his team are giving a game to some of their youth team and I wonder if they are facing a heavy defeat today, as they are being out-muscled by their more experienced opponents. 

When play resumes the home team keep up the pressure on the Hibernian defence and after approximately 20 minutes they take a 2-0 lead through Myron Semper.

Barnt Green though step off the gas and Leamington Hibs start fighting back.

(Leamington's No.9 reaches the ball before the keeper but hits it over the bar)

Soon they have pulled a goal back and now with renewed confidence have  Barnt Green on the back foot.

                   (These Hibernian players celebrate their first goal)

Ten minutes to go and Leamington score again! This set back stirs the Barnt Green players into action and they desperately try to get the winner.

They do so right at the death and it's that man Semper again being the scorer. So a tighter result than first anticipated and although Barnt Green remain the title favourites, they still have some tricky fixtures to negotiate, notably Alcester Town and Polesworth.

Another Barnt Green player I was impressed with was their No.3, Carlos Knight, younger brother of the League player, Zac Knight.