Tividale Football Club
Season Review Part One
20th May to 25th August 2018
Normally at the beginning of every season you have a good idea of where you will be the following season. So at the end of the 2017-2018 season our first season back in the West Midland Regional League (WMRL) Premier and finishing second to a brilliant Wolverhampton Sporting side, we were ready to have another go at it.
But on the 20th May we were sent the details of the 2018-2019 league allocations and as expected we were still in the WMRL Premier. But somehow Ilkeston Town from the Midland Football League (MFL) Division One had been promoted to the MFL Premier and not us. This after finishing second as did we but with an inferior Point per Game (PPG) a system that the FA use to separate teams from different leagues at the same level.
We were then informed that any extra promotion places would be considered from Midland Football League Division 1 rather than the WMRL Premier. In that case had we been aware of this at the end of the 2016-2017 season we would have challenged being placed in WMRL Premier and requested to be placed in MFL1. As it was there was nothing to suggest that these two feeder leagues to the MFL Premier would be treated differently. We also feel that all clubs deserve the right to know the full promotion and relegation criteria before a ball is kicked at the start of the season in order to prevent such vagaries. So, we felt we had no choice but to appeal the decision to the FA at Wembley Stadium
In the end our appeal failed as “these were the rules” but at least some good came out of it as from the 2018-2019 season. All Step 6 leagues would be equal and decided on PPG.
It was a pleasant change to go into June and pre-season with a settled management team and the majority of the squad signing up for the new season. These included Ryan Cheshire, Lewis Handley, Tom Hurdman, Bradley Welding, Chris Hill, Freddie Watts, Karl Gardner, Liam Smith, Matt Hunt, Ben Birch, Dan Bryson, Curtis Cocking, Darragh Bustin, Elliott Hartley, Harvey Walker, Liam Wilkinson, Lee Smith, Jake Brigdale, TJ Munthali, Tyree Clarke, Dan Smith, Demetri Brown. We also had new signings of Connor Nimmo, Rion Francis-Mills and Chris Thomas. On the other hand, we had lost Joe Lawley and Nathan Jones had decided to join Lye Town and Team Dudley respectively.
We also had a new addition to the Boot room coming in as First Team coach, Steve Barrow. Steve had previously managed Sporting Khalsa Ladies Sporting Khalsa Women’s manager, Brocton FC U21’s manager and Wellington Amateurs manager Steve Barrow has joined us as a first team coach. He also was a UEFA B Licence accredited coach and has coached at all levels of non-league football up to step 3.
Our first pre-season run out was away at Leicestershire MFL Premier side Quorn. When the game was arranged nobody could have predicted the hysteria that the England team in the 2018 World Cup would produce. It so happened on the same day Saturday the 7th July, England were playing Sweden in the Quarter Final at 3pm and so we agreed on an 11 am kick off. This ensured we were all back in the club for the big game and we came away with an impressive 3-1 win.
We then hammered Cadbury’s on a red-hot Saturday 14th July at Thorns Stadium 6-1 and followed that up against Tipton Town on the following Wednesday and we ended up winning 9-3 in a bit of a goal fest.
Then we entertained Bromyard at home on the 26th July and ran out 5-1 winners. Before going into the last week before the start of the season with a 3-1 win over another MFL Premier side Stourport Swifts on the 28th July and rounding off our pre-season with a 7-1 win over Gornal Athletic. It was not just good news on the field. Off the field both The Maverick and ISO Spaces had agreed to extend their shirt sponsorship for another season.
So, onto the 4th August and our first league game of the new WMRL Premier season away against Smethwick Rangers and we carried on our pre-season form in style, thrashing our host’s 5-0 on a difficult High Ercal pitch. Brad Welding set us on our way with the opening goal and they were followed by goals from Demetri Brown 2, Dan Smith and Tyree Clarke.
The following Saturday was FA Cup weekend and we were drawn away at Sporting Khalsa in the Extra Preliminary Round and despite hitting the woodwork on four occasions. It was our hosts who went through 2-1. We then faced one of our title rivals Wolverhampton Casuals on the following Wednesday, 15th August. Casuals had made the opening day headlines with a remarkable 9-0 demolition of Wellington and the game may have seen a different result if Casuals striker Keiron Miller had not been given what most spectators thought was a very harsh red card early in the first half. In the end despite a spirited performance from Casuals, second half goals from Curtis and Brown made it 2 league wins out of 2. Liam Smith had decided to move elsewhere for more football action and he signed for Team Dudley. Liam had been a vital part of our squad in Dave’s first season but he struggled with injuries last season and we wished him all the best for the future. TJ Munthali also moved on to for the same reason as Liam.
Next game was away at Bilston Town the following weekend and they were emphatic in a 7-1 win. This after Bilston had given Tividale a wake-up call going ahead after 5 minutes. A Bustin hattrick, Brown 2 and Francis-Mills 2 were the Tividale scorers.
Tividale then had 2 local derbies at home over the Bank Holiday period. First up was Cradley Town, who although had not had the greatest of starts, you just never know what may happen in a local derby. In the end Brown, Bustin and Dan Smith ensured a 3-0 win.
We then faced Black Country Rangers the team sitting on top of the league with a perfect 5 out of 5 win’s start in the league on Bank Holiday Monday
Tividale Football Club
Season Review Part Two – Tomorrow