This week we headed to North Birmingham to take in the Midlands Combination action between Castle Vale and Bartley Green. The two sides are at contrasting ends of the league table, Vale, despite not having won (or even scored) in their last three games currently sit forth, pushing for promotion whereas the Owls are fighting for survival down in sixteenth.
Despite the name Castle Vale are based two miles up the Chester Road (A452) in the leafy suburb of Boldmere, They share a ground with Midlands Alliance side Boldmere St. Michaels following their departure from Vale stadium.
We were fortunate to get to the Trevor Brown Memorial ground on time thanks to a rather rude bus driver in Ashby de la Zouch refusing to give us change for a £10 note Setting the travel arrangements back half an hour, Still I couldn't resist a snap of the beautiful St. Michaels Church near the ground during a frantic power walk from the train station.
|St. Michaels Church|
|The pre-match rituals|
The game got off to a far from remarkable start, Very scrappy football with many misplaced passes and poor tackles, I even witnessed a foul throw from a Bartley Green defender which I cannot ever remember seeing outside of schoolboy ranks.
Eventually the home side managed to get a grip on the struggling opposition and settled down, They almost took the lead in the 22nd minute when forward Ryan Nash fired wide from 25 yards, Nash came close again five minutes later after bursting through the defence but fired wide when one on one with Bartley keeper Mark Wolesley.
The spitfires had several opportunities to take a lead into half time, Danny O'Callaghan should have headed in from a corner into a gaping net but squandered the chance by heading wide of the near post, Nash also came close with a diving header and an overheadkick following a scramble, But despite all their pressure Vale were unable to pick the Owl's defence before the break, With their poor finishing today it is not hard to see why they haven't scored in three games.
Vale began the second half in a determined manner, Ryan Nash must have been wandering what exactly he has to do to put the ball in the net, His freekick struck the Bartley crossbar shortly after half time, The Spitfires finally made the breakthrough in the 48th minute, Midfielder Scott Parker's (Prehaps lost on his way to the Hawthorns for the West Brom-Spurs game?) shot took a wicket deflection off a defender to elude a despairing dive by Wolesey.
Following the goal Vale enjoyed near total dominance for the remainder of the second half, The pace of their attack caused Bartley many problems which they just didn't look equipped to deal with. Centerback Dean Crowley went close to doubling the lead on the hour mark but headed over, His defensive partner Richard Deavall also had a glorious opportunity when he suddenly found himself in an advanced position, He however powered over the bar. O'Callaghan came the closest to a second when he burst clean through on Wolesley, His shot looked to be going in but just clipped the diving keepers leg, The deflection was enough to take the ball up and over for a corner, The resulting ball was cleared off the line following a goalmouth scramble.
Bartley did have a few chances to steal a point against the run of play near the end but spurned all of them, Handing Vale a well deserved win.
Castle Vale F.C.
|The main stand is on the right of the field.|
|Panorama of the Trevor Brown Memorial stadium.|