As I was not able to visit any games on Saturday, I decided to dip my toes in to Sunday League football for the first time. My destination is the Langland Stadium home of Malvern Town, where Malvern Victoria from the Worcester Sunday League, Division 2 play. Their opponents today in the Southam Cup competition are Brewers Athletic, who are carrying all before them in Division 3 of the same league. Their league record so far, 16 games played and 16 won!
Because I have not attended a Worcester Sunday game before, I don't know much at all about the 2 teams today.
I take the train to Great Malvern in hazy sunshine. After breakfast at the local Caffe Nero I walk down to the Langland Stadium. I like Malvern as it's very scenic with the hills nearby and the great architecture in the main part of the town itself.
I arrive just a few minutes before kick-off, which is at 10:30am and there looks to be a crowd of around 30 spectators today. Luckily, I hear one of the goalkeepers shouting, 'Come on the Brewers!', so can work out that Brewers Athletic are playing in the old gold & black shirts while Malvern Victoria are in florescent light yellow & green shirts, which at first I had mistakenly taken to be tracksuit tops.
The game starts and it turns out to be an open end to end one. This is great for a neutral spectator like me. Although there are several chances for both teams, neither can take them.
I can see that Brewers Athletic have the large presence of Chris Cornes playing for them in midfield. He is a very experienced player who has had spells at most of the bigger Non-League clubs in the area, like Evesham Utd, Worcester City etc. He is also wearing a shirt with the eye catching squad number of 99!
( Chris Cornes, keeping possession )
At one point the referee stops the game to have a word with the Brewers Athletic No.5 (shown below, 2nd from the left) who has been getting stroppy at times with some of the Malvern players.
The referee has been having a good game as he lets the play flow as much as possible, which is always good to see.
His actions have the desired effect and the player concerned concentrates on his play. Indeed, after 43 minutes he scores the first goal of the game!
Athletic had twice gone close to scoring in the previous 5 minutes, hitting the bar and post on those occasions.
It's a relief that someone has scored and soon the whistle is blown for half-time. The players don't get much of a rest though as both teams come back on the pitch just 5 minutes later.
After another five minutes of play, Brewers Athletic score another goal, this time courtesy of their No.11 (shown below on the left.) I think he looks a bit like John Terry in this photo.
Brewers Athletic are awarded a penalty later on when Malvern's goalkeeper brings down one of their forwards in a one on one situation.
However the player who was brought down, takes the penalty kick but crashes his shot against the bar (as shown below).
They do manage to see out the rest of the game without any further goals being scored. Although Malvern Victoria did have plenty of the play at times, Brewers Athletic seemed to be the more dangerous attacking team. Also the Brewers had the influence of Cornes in midfield and their goalie had a good game too.
They should prove to be a force in the 2nd Division next season when they get promoted and they will now be playing Northside, also from the 2nd Division in the final of this cup, with a date to be yet confirmed. I find out later that it will take place on the 4th May at the ground of Pershore Town at 6pm.
Malvern Town should have an artificial surface put in place in the summer, which will benefit them and Malvern Victoria too if they are playing here again next season, as the playing surface today was difficult for both teams, being hard and bumpy.