Tividale Football Club
Season Review Part Four
6th April 2019 to 4th April 2019
So we went into April and the equation was easy. We both had three games to play and we were a point ahead. So if we won our last 3 games we would be champions. First up were games against teams in the bottom 5. We beat Wem 1-0 with a Matt Hunt header, while Haughmond beat bottom side Pegasus 5-0. The following Wednesday we beat Dudley Town in the league cup replay in what was a cracker winning 3-0 on penalties after it finishing 2-2 after extra time. As we expected we beat a completely different Black Country Rangers 4-0. We had 9 start this game that started the game in August. (Lewis Handley was in goal as Ryan Cheshire was on holiday and Brad was on the bench in the first game). Black Country Rangers had none. Haughmond beat Wellington 2-0.
So it was down to the last game of the season. Simple we win or better Haughmond’s result and we win the league. But first we had a League Cup quarter final against Dudley Sports, who had been waiting patiently for 5 months. And did they take out their frustration on us. We did not help with possibly the worse 20 minutes of football in the first half since Dave King arrived at the club. Leaving us 4-1 down at half time and with a mountain to climb. It was a mountain we couldn’t scale going out 4-1. So after all those appeals and 5 months of waiting we went out of the league cup like a damp squib.
The ramifications of that defeat did not end there. All of a sudden the fears and self questioning started to rear their ugly heads. “If we get battered by Dudley Sports, what’s going to happen against AFC Bridgnorth who on paper were a much better side” We also had both our goalkeepers Lewis Handley and Ryan Cheshire unavailable.
Well so it came to that final game of the season. Beat Bridgnorth and we would be champions. Anything else and we would be looking at Dudley Town to do us a favour against Haughmond. On a sunny Easter Saturday, we had our biggest crowd of the season 228 paying and about 100 kids cheering us on and we did not disappoint. You felt that the visitors were in no mood to upset the party atmosphere as they turned up about 40 minutes before the kick off and could only name two substitutes.
We had called up ex Tividale junior goalkeeper Niall Maher prior to deadline day. With a lot of nervous tension around the ground. A goal after just 3 minutes was just what was required and Brown provided it outpacing the Bridgnorth defence, rounded the keeper and slides the ball home. We cannot say what the tension would have been like without that early goal. But hey who cares because by half time courtesy of social media the league shield was at The Beeches due to a outstanding first half performance and a 6-0 lead. The second half was party time as we cruised to a 9-0 win and the title. By the way Dudley Town did beat Haughmond which gaves us the title by 4 points.
With the league sorted we faced Atherstone Town in the final of the Floodlit Cup at Sutton Coldfield Town and on that cursed synthetic surface. After going 2-0 down within 30 minutes. We produced a magical last 15 minutes of the half to lead 3-2 at the break. On the balance of play Atherstone deserved their second half equaliser and with no additions to the score in extra time penalties it was. It was Atherstone who held their nerve and won the shoot out 4-2. But Darragh was awarded man of the match and John Cotton was awarded for his 30 odd years of service to Tividale FC.
Our last match of the season was a JW Hunt Cup semi final against Sporting Khalsa in what we felt was just a game too far. It had been a week since the Atherstone final and 10 days since the great day at The Beeches and the players never really rose to the occasion and Khalsa deservedly won 2-1 and they also went on to win the final at The Molineux.
Finally in summary the management and players had one goal and anything else would be a bonus. Especially after finishing runners up last season and the heartbreak of seeing another club be promoted from second place in their league with an inferior PPG and we achieved it. Promotion to the Midland Football League Premier Division. At this point we must congratulate Haughmond who were also promoted as one of the top second placed teams on PPG. Something that would never have happened without the rule change by the FA.
With the season actually ending in April, May brought the presentation. In a packed out club house, awards were handed out to Darragh Bustin who won the Player’s Player and Supporters Player of the year. The skipper Dan Bryson was voted Manger’s Player, Matt Hunt – Sponsors Player, Brad Welding – Young Player and Demetri Brown – Top Goal scorer. Travelling Fan’s Dedication award went to Harvey Walker and John Cotton won the first ever Harry Shaw award to go along with the award he received from the BCFA.
At the league presentation night we not only received the league shield but we were awarded programme of the year for the second year running.
Well on a final note. A lot has changed to the local non league landscape in this 2019-2020 pre season and we are sure a lot more is to come. As a club who have unfortunately been on the wrong end of it, all we can say is do as we did. Wish them all well, move on and rebuild.
At the moment we are fortunate to have this squad of young players who have a togetherness that not many teams possess and added to that, a brilliant set of officials, volunteers and backroom staff but we are a club who never know what is around the corner and so we have to be ready for it.
We cannot thank enough all our sponsors and with the continued support of you the unbelievable folk of Tividale we will hopefully be in good stead for years to come.