Monday, 25 April 2016
The season is nearing it's end and it seems to be the same for Droitwich Spa's promotion bid from the 2nd Division of the Midland Football League. They have to win today's home match against close rivals Chelmsley Town as they are now 6 points behind them in 3rd place and Chelmsley have a game in hand too, while Alvis Sporting Club are nearly out of sight in first place.
The weather is good today, cool but mainly sunny. I have arrived in Droitwich and have a wander around the town centre, taking photos of the old buildings and the nearby canal before going to have lunch.
(Looking down to the High Street by St. Andrew's Church)
I then take a leisurely walk down to the canal to walk along the tow path which takes me down to the Briar Mill area, where the King George Playing Fields are, the home of Droitwich Spa FC .
By the pitch, is the Droitwich Leisure Centre, where the changing rooms, toilets, bar and small club shop are housed. I buy myself a club badge and a programme and while waiting around outside, come across a guy who recognises me. I met him about this time last year at the Birmingham County Junior Cup Final. He has come from Leicester and Droitwich is a new ground for him.
I make my way down the nearest side of the pitch, which is lined by trees and will be out of the sunshine (better for photography). The teams come out with Droitwich in their usual red and black but Chelmsley are in a change strip of green and white.
Droitwich are the first to go close when their No.9 and top scorer, James Lemon, bursts at speed down the left. He crosses the ball across the goal (as shown below) but there is no one in the right place to open the scoring.
The match is being played at a frantic place with no one looking to put their foot on the ball and spray the ball around.
( Chelmsley's Chris Lloyd and Droitwich's Luke Molloy run for the ball )
Droitwich are slightly the better team in the first 45 minutes but nearly go behind in injury time but their full back Andy Crowther, clears the ball off the line from a corner.
There have been no clear cut chances in the first period and I wonder if there will be any goals at all today?
Chelmsley Town are much more of a threat in the second half and their top scorer, Chris Lloyd, cleverly volleys first time but over the bar with the Droitwich keeper, Wayne Oliver stranded.
After 69 minutes, the visitors take the lead. From a corner their No.4, James Sawyer, jumps above Oliver to head in from close range (as shown below).
11 minutes later and the Chelmsley No.9 has a shot saved after some good build up play instigated by Chris Lloyd (who has been the best player today).
The Leicester ground hopper,who has been checking football scores on his smart phone then lets me know that Hinckley AFC have ended up with just 7 men in their match against Coventry Copsewood in Division One and then it's abandoned after the referee is attacked by a Hinckley player .There will be some repercussions from that match for sure!
Hard as Droitwich try to get back in to the game, Chelmsley manage to keep them at bay for a deserved win.
Droitwich Spa now have a very busy period of 6 games in the next 15 days, including 2 Cup Finals! This includes the Worcestershire Junior Cup Final next Saturday against Worcester Raiders. So there's still plenty to play for by the Saltmen.
Chelmsley Town will be looking for any unlikely slip ups from unbeaten leaders, Alvis Sporting to take the title. I am wondering if they will be able to erect floodlights at their ground in Marston Green or will they ground share with nearby Coleshill Town to get promoted?
Match entrance fee: Free
Match attendance: Approx 50
Match prgramme: £1
Match entertainment 6/10
Wednesday, 6 April 2016
It now feels like Spring today. It has been raining this morning but when I make my way to Foregate Street rail station in Worcester , the sun is starting to shine through. My destination is Redditch in north Worcestershire, where league leaders Redditch United are playing in a table topping local derby at home to fourth placed Leamington from Warwickshire.
I had visited the Valley Stadium near the end of last season when Redditch just missed out on the play-off places but this time round have been more successful and they have been unbeaten at home after losing their first match of this campaign.
I arrive at the ground 20 minutes before kick-off and it looks like there is going to be a big crowd watching today, as there is a fairly long queue at the turnstiles.
When the teams march out, Redditch are in their usual red shirts, black shorts and socks while the visitors are in their away strip of all blue.
There are plenty of photographers here and I can count 4 round the pitch.
The Leamington forward, Jack Edwards has the first chance after 10 minutes but shot over after being played in by Danny Dubidat.
The Brakes keeper, Tony Breeden made good saves from Simeon Maye and the dangerous Redditch playmaker, Ashley Sammons.
Leamington do show they still carry a threat when their tricky winger, Sam Austin has a free kick saved by Jose Veiga.
The first half has seen the home side mainly on top but with neither side looking like they can score the first goal so far.
I reckon there are about 200 to 250 Leamington fans here today, with a section of them on the far side of the pitch shown above.
Play in the second half is spoilt somewhat by the referee who does not let the game flow and gives out a lot of yellow cards, which is puzzling as it's not a dirty game. This annoys the spectators and bemuses the players.
The last 15 minutes are the most eventful of the match. George Carline sees his acrobatic scissors kick go just wide for Redditch. Then Leamington's Callum Gittings is sent off after receiving a second yellow for dissent.
Leamington are still striving to get a possible 3 points and they go very close when substitute, Ben Mackey, sees his header come back off an upright while Redditch's No.9, Sam Merson, sees his effort just go over the bar right near the end.
Leamington have a tough away trip to Weymouth coming up this Tuesday. Both teams drop down a place after wins by Poole Town and Hungerford Town who move up to 1st and 4th positions respectively and there are only 5 points separating the top 5 teams.
Match attendance: 742
Match entertainment: 6.5/10
Match entrance fee: £10
Match programme: £2