As the weather set in for the weekend across the West Midlands, Bridgnorth’s men were in action as they travelled both home and away to continue their league action.
Bridgnorth 1sts made the journey to Halesowen to face an Old Halesonian side who have picked up just 1 point in their last two outings. With midfielder Ben Milner still on the side lines, the Cricket Meadow side took a mixture of youth and experience to face the Black Country outfit. With experienced striker Pete Evans leading the line, the Old Hales side were in for a long afternoon. Evans asserted his dominance by giving the visitors the lead, only to be doubled by a spectacular finish from James Speke. The hosts did claw their way back into the game but with the scores level, it took a moment of magic from Tom Weston to ensure that 3 points would come back to Shropshire and ensure Bridgnorth are high in confidence for the week to come.
After an encouraging performance last week, the Men’s 2nds looked to pick up their first points at home to Belper. A series of defensive errors led to the visiting side taking the lead, however they were reduced permanently to ten men after umpire Edward Seymour showed his first career red card for an untimely shove on a Blues player. Using this advantage, the home side drew level with returning striker Charlie Eyke grabbing his first of the season. Unfortunately, the home side could not hold on and the defence were breached once more as Belper cruised into a 2-1 lead, which they held until the final whistle. Stand-in captain Ian Gregory commented: “We are still searching for our first points of the season, however our performances tell a very different story. It is only a matter of time until we get the results our performances deserve.”
The table topping 3rd XI suffered a rare grounding after their promotion chase suffered a setback with a 3-2 loss away at Bromsgrove. Steve Parnham and roaming defender Connor Glendinning nearly managed to salvage a point for the Blues on their travels, however a street wise Bromsgrove team did just enough to squeeze out a narrow victory. This loss sees the 3rds slip from their commanding position at the top of the table to 4th place, only one point behind the now league leaders- Finchfield.
No such trouble was had by the promotion chasing 4ths, as they brushed aside a mid-table Finchfield side who looked to make the best of their home advantage. However, the potent strike force which has propelled this side to the top of the league pounced again. Sam Baugh continued his goal scoring form with two well taken finishes past the hapless goalkeeper. Oliver Pygott grabbed his first 4th team goal to increase the advantage, only to be finished off by Connor Bennett which saw the visitors take a commanding lead. This wasn’t a true reflection of the game however, as Finchfield did grab a goal early in order to leave the game open for a comeback, however stalwart goalkeeper Les Evans ensured that Finchfield were restricted to a handful of chances, ensuring the game ended 4-1 in favour of the visitors.
Kicking off the home fixtures for the weekend, Bridgnorth 5ths played host to a depleted North Stafford side in the worst of the weather. A physical game from the first whistle, both sides looked to assert their dominance and through Julian Dwane’s composed midfield performance, the Blues took an early stranglehold. Ultimately ill-discipline would be the downfall of a stubborn North Stafford side with two separate green cards, reducing the visitors to 9 men. Despite this, they would be the ones to take the lead into half time with a neat finish thundering past returning goalkeeper Olly Smith. With the second half continuing in a similar vein, Bridgnorth found themselves under immense pressure. But for the heroics of youngsters Jack James and Ethan Perkins, the visitor’s lead could have been doubled. However, the Blues were helped by North Stafford’s lack of discipline as what would be the first red card of the weekend was shown after a volley of abuse was directed towards the home umpire. After this, the home side look the advantage with Stuart Ward grabbing his first of two goals, with the help of a wicked deflection that wrong footed the goalkeeper and trickled in. There was to be some luck in the final result too as Ward found himself unmarked in the circle in the last five minutes to finish off a well worked Bridgnorth move. A final result of 2-1 was most certainly worked for and may be slightly fortuitous.
Bridgnorth 6ths continued their storm towards the top of the table with a convincing 3-0 home victory over Lichfield 6ths. Strong performances all round would mean that the Blues would come away with all three points, bouncing back from their disappointing defeat at Old Wulfs last week. Ian Cole, Ben Cresswell and Peter Thompson gave the promotion chasers a significant advantage against a Lichfield side which offered very little in the way of threat towards the Bridgnorth goal.
As it stands, both Bridgnorth 5ths and 6ths are in the promotion hunt and will be bearing down on Bridgnorth 4ths who top the league table.
Finally, Bridgnorth 7ths were in Fathom action against a Cannock 6ths side which was the normal mixture of youth and experience, supplemented by players from the Cannock 5ths. It was the Blues who opened up the scoring with Ben Turner grabbing the opening goal from the right, quickly followed with a second from Ian Connolly – playing in his 55th season at the club. It was Turner and George Childs who were causing havoc down the right wing, with the opposition having no answer to the speed & stick skills that both players were exhibited. Magician Turner added a further two goals all from the right before Cannock took a consolation goal, only for Turner to open up the lead again with two more goals to make it 6-1 at the interval. The second half began much the like first and youngsters Charlie Callaghan and Harry Harthill began to form a partnership down the Bridgnorth left flank and Harthill went close on several occasions, while youngster Henry Jones at centre half was quickly becoming a revelation with his fearless tackling, speed and stick skills cutting out the dangerous Cannock centre forwards at will. In goal Rob Tait, who was substituting for Captain Tony Swales, stopped a number of Cannock attacks with his athletic prowess. The Blues continued to put pressure on the home defence and it was no surprise when Mark Turner got through to score, swiftly followed by Chris Burroughs at close range. The afternoon was not complete until George Childs finished his excellent performance throughout the game with a fine first senior goal for the club.
The Ladies section had their first of the season breaks as the Shropshire League looks to resume action this week.
It will be the Battle of Bridgnorth, as the Ladies 1sts face off against the 2nds (3.00pm) in a top of the table clash. Meanwhile, the Men’s 4ths look to extend their advantage at the top of the table against 4th place Bridgnorth 5ths side (4.30pm). Elsewhere, the Men’s 1sts look to turn their home form around when they host winless North Stafford (1.30pm), the 2nd XI travel to the East Midlands to face West Bridgford and the 3rds will hope to bounce back with a strong performance against North Stafford at home (12.00pm). In the final two games, the Men’s 6ths travel away to North Stafford 4ths, hoping that the club can get the double over them two weeks in a row. While North Stafford will make the commute to Bridgnorth again to face the 7th XI (2.15pm) which will be played on the grass outside the clubhouse.
All home games are played at Bridgnorth Leisure Centre Astro.