Front Row: Christopher Lloyd, Nicholas Ellis, Liam Norris, Stephen Sadler, Thomas Ells, Sam Sadler
Midland Football League Division Two (Runners-Up)
Coventry Evening Telegraph Cup (Runners-Up)
05/03/2016 Chelmsley Town 2 Droitwich Spa 1
The weather is promising,cold but with no rain likely to fall for a change.
This match has been on my radar and I have been encouraged to go as 1/ it will be a new ground for me 2/ Droitwich are a local team to me and have been doing well this season and 3/ the Communications Manager of Droitwich Spa, Ben Lloyd, has been in touch with me, as he has come across this Blog and has said he has enjoyed reading about my travels. He also said that it would be good if I could take photos for the club at this match.
I journey to Birmingham on the train and after a spot of shopping and some lunch, take the London Euston bound train from New Street station to get to Marston Green. When we are approaching the platform I can see the tower blocks of Chelmsley Wood in the near distance gleaming in the sunshine.
Although Marston Green is classed as a village, it does boast a population of 5,000 and is basically part of the commuter belt for Birmingham, Solihull and probably London. While making the 20 minute walk to the ground, I can see several houses that have a cottage like look and gives an impression of a village atmosphere. There is countryside close by as well and with the sunshine and daffodils in bloom by the roadside there is definitely a hint of Spring in the air.
I soon find the ground just to the left on the Coleshill Road, make my way through the small car park and turn right towards the club house, which is behind one end of the pitch.
This end has an entrance door, through the netting, (see above) through which the players go on to the pitch from the changing rooms.
I find several Droitwich supporters in the club house and chat to Ben Lloyd before heading out to view the proceedings. It looks like that at least half of the spectators are from Droitwich today. The club have experienced an upturn in fortunes this season under the guidance of joint managers, Wayne Oliver and (ex-Worcester City player) Mark Owen.There has been talk of promotion in the Worcester News and the possibility of ground sharing with another local club, as Droitwich don't have the right facilities in place if they do finish in the top two.
Chelmsley Town club have been going since 1927 and are just behind Droitwich in the table, in 3rd place, while Rostance Edwards sit in top spot. Droitwich have also been unbeaten in their last 21 matches!
The players troop on to the pitch, with Chelmsley in light blue shirts and black shorts and shirts. Droitwich Spa are in their away strip today of white shirts, red shorts and socks.
It's a game with not much quality football on show to be honest, competitive though with both sides not giving each other an inch, which you expect in a match of this nature.
Droitwich Spa go close after 23 minutes when a free-kick is dinked in and their No.9, James Lemon, is just wide with his effort.
Chelmsley go even closer on the half hour when they have a shot from the right that clips the cross bar.
It's still goalless at the interval and it's a difficult call to predict who the likely winners might be today.
At half time I go in to the club house for a much needed cup of tea. It's a pretty good facility for a club of this size and both the bar and tea bar are doing a good trade.
Also apart from the main pitch, there is another at the back of it and a smaller one on the right side of it. On the other side the ground is bordered by housing.
So the second-half gets under way and it's the home team who come to the fore.
After 56 minutes Chelmsley are awarded a penalty when they have a player brought down in the area. Their No.11 , Mitchell Thompson, duly dispatches a shot to the Droitwich's keepers left and they quickly proceed to press home their advantage in the very next minute.
Their No.9, the burly Kieron Fitzgerald, attacks down the left of the visitor's area, draws the tackle from the Droitwich captain , Mike Seeley (as shown below) and skips past on his right before bearing down on goal and squeezes in the ball through the narrow angle and in to the net, despite the keeper being in close proximity. Very good goal!
For a big guy, Fitzgerald is very nimble on his feet. So now the Saltmen have a mountain to climb to get back in this match.
Despite stepping up their efforts Chelmsley hold firm, well marshalled in defence by the silver haired Ross Casey.
Near the end of full time, Chelmsley nearly add to their tally when their top scorer, Chris Lloyd first blazes over the bar and then has another shot saved at the near post.
In injury time though, Droitwich's top scorer, James Lemon scores with a shot from the left but it's come too late to save their unbeaten record.
I think the best team has definitely won today but I am sure that Droitwich can play better than this. This win sees Chelmsley hop over Droitwich in to 2nd place. It's going to be an interesting last few weeks of the season, with Chelmsley, Droitwich, Rostance Edwards and Alvis Sporting all in the running to win the Division 2 title. Alvis have several games in hand and an unbeaten league record but have the pressure of playing at least twice every week before the finish.
Match entertainment: 5/10
Match attendance: 75
Match entrance fee: Free
Match programme: None available