Tividale Football Club
Season Review Part Three
5th January 2016 to 30th March 2016
The year started with a 1-1 draw against a much improved Dudley Town and a 1-0 win away at Hereford lads Club. This was not a game for the faint hearted both on and off the pitch. as Lad’s Club make it as hostile as possible. But we prevailed and came away with a vital three points. We also learned that Tyree was likely to be out for the season.
We appeared at the BCFA hearing the Monday before the Hereford game and their decision was although we did everything we could, unfortunately non notification of Dan’s booking in time can not be used as an excuse and so the decision was a fine for Tividale but no further action regarding Dan as he had already served his ban.
By the end of the week we had received confirmation from the WMRL that neither Dan or us as a club we would receive no further financial punishment. But we would be expelled from the league cup. A decision although to the letter of the law was correct we thought that considering the length of time since the original offence was harsh and unjust. But our only option now was to appeal to the FA.
This was not great preparation for the home game against by now our closest rivals Haughmond and we went into the game with the thought that a win would possibly give the casing pack to much to do. Well that never happened as we were outplayed by Haughmond and lost 4-0 in a game we were lucky to get nil. The result did not help with Dan Smith getting two yellow cards for two innocuous challenges. This brought Haughmond within 12 points of us with 4 games in hand. Before the followings weeks training session we got the players together and explained the Dan Smith situation and asked them what they thought as a group they wanted to do. To a man they wanted to exhaust every avenue and so an appeal to the FA was sent.
Back to the league action and next up was a visit to Shawbury who were now playing in Ludlow and we scraped through with a 4-3 win, while Haughmond hammered Cradley 7-0 to cut the goal difference also.
We then moved into February and an unusual part of the season. Due to us not having any games lost to the weather other teams were playing catch up and we had a spell were after the Shawbury game we never played a league game again until Malvern Town at home three weeks later. We did beat Brocton 3-2 too move into the Semi Final of The JW Hunt Cup. But again due to the weather Haughmond only played one game in that time also crushing Shawbury 8-0. We actually drew 1-1 with Malvern after our winter break but the Haughmond juggernaut kept on coming beating Smethwick 3-1. In the middle of February Freddie Watts was ruled out for the rest of the season with a meniscus tear in his knee. The following week we beat a much improved Pershore 2-1 in a really good game and gained three points that may have been the difference at the end of the season. Our rivals put 6 past Shawbury in the reverse fixture. We then beat Coton Green in the semi final of the Floodlit Cup and that weekend Pegasus 4-0 in straight forward fashion. While Haughmond had a tricky game against Wolves Casuals, but they came through with a 2-1 win to keep the pressure on. Jake Brigdale by this time had also moved on.
The second weekend in March was the worst weekend of our season. On Saturday 9th March we travelled to Hereford to face Wellington in what we felt was our last real tough away fixture (we had Black Country Rangers to play at Gornal Athletic, but the wheels had fell of their title challenge spectacularly due to a mass exodus of players). Against Wellington we were not great but did not play as badly as the score line suggested but they were clinical and smashed us 5-1, ended awfully with the boss sent to the stands. It was a long journey home from Wellington with staff and players questioning themselves the only glimmer of good news was that Haughmond did not play so at least they could not cut the lead. But the facts were they would now lead if they won their games in hand.
If we thought that was bad everything was put into perspective the following morning Sunday 10th March, with the news that one of the original pioneers of football in Tividale and an ardent supporter over the last 10 years Harry Shaw had passed away early in the morning. Harry’s death after possibly our worst day of the season at the age of 94 put everything into perspective. He was a wonderful man who had found his new Tividale family. The week ended with notification from the FA that our hearing was to be held on Thursday 21st March, Exactly 4 months after we played the game. We then beat Shifnal 6-0 at The Beeches. But Haughmond lost 4-1 at home to Malvern Town. But they got back on track beating Bilston Town 2-0 on the Wednesday night. The following day our appeal was herd at Wembley Stadium. In an unusual turn of events The FA found that although we may have felt the WMRL decision harsh they had stuck to the rules. But the WMRL should have held their disciplinary after the BCFA did and added to that they also felt that the original hearing in front of a panel of two. They thought we had not had a fair hearing and their decision was to have us reinstated and the league cup game be replayed.
Back to the weekends league action and in typical “Chuckle Brothers” style, (to me to you) we handed the initiative back to Haughmond drawing with Dudley Sports 1-1, while Haughmond went to Lads Club and won 1-0. They then beat Shifnal 4-1 in midweek but the end of March was probably the final twist in the title race. Haughmond could only draw their final game in hand at the form side Pershore Town.
Season Review Part Four – Tomorrow at 6pm