Meredith V Christ The King Cup Final

At the 3rd time of asking, Meredith Road won this seasons Coventry Church League Cup Final and erased the bad memories of the previous 2 years.  The runners up this time were Christ the King who, against all odds, beat Hope in the quarters then CLM in the semi final.
Played at Coventrians ground, the basis for Merediths victory lay in the fast start they made in the game.  After 10 mins a long throw was hurled into the CTK box and the ball flicked off Ashley Bulpitt at the near post, evaded the keeper and rolled in at the far post.
5 mins later the lead was doubled. A weak kick out from the keeper was intercepted and put straight back to Bulpitt who had his back to goal.  Instinctively he hooked the ball towards goal, with the keeper still out of position, and it bounced into an empty net.
After this bad start it would have been easy for CTK to crumble, but to their credit they dug in and attempted to make sure the deficit did not increase. Bulpitt though, missed a great chance for a hat trick when, after a team mates knockdown, he lifted the ball over the bar from 6 yards.  Half time came with no further addition to the scoring.
The 2nd half became a cagey affair with scoring chances being at a premium. CTK clearly had to give it a go but, in the process, risked leaving themselves open to the counter attack.  They also came up against a robust Meredith defence who gave their keeper plenty of protection and limited CTK to half chances.  The best chance to add to the scoring fell to Meredith when an unmarked player blazed the ball over the bar with only for the keeper to beat.
Time ran out and Meredith became cup winners for the first time since 2008 and were understandably delighted.  CTK played their part in making it a competitive final and will overall be pleased with their first season in the league.
Thanks to Ken Foster who refereed and to Rob Eaton and Andy Aston who assisted him.
Thanks also to John and Jane at Coventrians for kindly hosting the game and for providing lunch and bar facilities for the players and match officials.
Regards
Les

End Of Season Tournament and Recognition.

Played at the Powerleague, 11 teams took part in this years 7 a side event.  Prior to it beginning, awards were given to the various teams and individuals for their particular achievements.  They were as follows.
Division 1 Champions AFC Hope
Division 2 Champions CLM
Division 1 Golden Boot Martin Gormley AFC Hope and Jack Kovacs Athletico Mosaic 
Division 2 Golden Boot Kirk Richens Coventrians
Fairplay Queens Road Wanderers
The winner of Leicester Cup, AFC Hope and Coventry Cup, Meredith Road had received their trophies and medals on the day of their respective finals.
Thanks and recognition was also given to Mark Sephton, the League Chairman, who has decided to step down after 3 seasons in charge.  He was presented with a card signed by the managers plus a gift card.
The tournament began, with 1 group of 6 and another of 5, with the top 2 from each going into the semi final.  Qualifying from Group A were BEC and St John Fisher and from Group B were Coventrians and AFC Hope.  
The winners of these 2 games were SJF and Hope.  A very competitive final ended with having to have a penalty shoot out.  Each side missed 1 of their first 5 penalties which led to sudden death.  Hope scored, but SJF missed which meant a hat trick of trophies for them.
Regards
Les

AFC Hope 4 Coventrians Holy Family 3 Cov/Leicester Cup Final by Les Wright

In an exciting final, AFC Hope beat Coventrians 4-3. Hosted by Coventrians, the final started badly with the early loss of a player, replaced by Josh Pointon. This turned out to have a silver lining, as Pointon was at the far post from a right wing cross and placed a shot into the top of the net with his first touch of the game.
Hope did not let up and after 15 minutes they doubled their lead when Coventrians failed to clear their lines from a corner and Alex Thompson volleyed in.
Things went from bad to worse for Coventrians when they went 3 down after 25 minutes.  Andy Wilson-King received the ball  on the left hand side and was not closed down. He decided to unleash a bullet shot from about 25 yards that flew past the keeper.
For the rest of the half, Coventrians attempted to get a foothold in the game and went in at half time with no further damage.  John and the rest of his staff had the hard task of  lifting his players for the 2nd half.
Whatever was said had a positive effect.  A long kick from the keeper was nodded down by a Coventrians forward.  Lewis Chester was advanced enough to pick up the 2nd ball, played a neat 1-2 with his forward and put it past the keepers left hand into the corner of the net.
The game ebbed and flowed, with both sides having chances.  With about 15 minutes remaining, Coventrians lost possession on the halfway line.  A quick through ball evaded the defence and Gary Yates produced a composed finish to play the ball over the keeper and into an empty net.
Despite the setback, Coventrians did not lie down.  A few minutes later it was pulled back to 4-2  when a long throw towards the Hope area was pounced on by Robbie Wilden to put it past the keeper and gave renewed hope.
With 5 minutes remaining, a patient passage of play saw a through all played to Lewis Chester who unleashed a 1st time shot that flew in at the keepers near post and reduced the margin to 4-3.
Hope then had to play out a nervy last few minutes, but managed to frustrate Coventrians efforts at getting an equaliser and were much relieved to hear the final whistle.
Much credit to both sides for giving great entertainment. Thanks goes to James and Jack Strumildo and Kyle Green for officiating. Appreciation also to John and Jane Connolly for allowing use of the facilities at Coventrians and provided players and officials with lunch.

CLM 2 SJF 2 Cup Game Reporter Paul Stringer


#thisisworship

Saturday 10th December saw a welcome return to cup action for CLM FC as they looked to build on their electric start to the teams inaugural season. Returning to their home turf of Caludon Castle they would be hosting League 1 opposition St. John Fisher. Heading into the game there would only be one question on everyone’s lips, could CLM keep their unbeaten run intact….
Entering into this match, CLM were still without the influential Dave ‘Roland Nilsson’ Jones, Luke ‘The Baby Face’ Williams & our very own footballing Angel, Gabriel…however this would once again provide the CLM squad with an opportunity to step up, with Steve ‘The Don’ Ward, amongst others, making a welcome first appearance of the season in the match day squad.
Devotions were lead by Captain Marvel, aka Kieran, aka KJ, who provided a timely prompt to all when asking the squad what it might look like if we ‘Choose to lack nothing’.  Could we, would we be willing to put it all out their for the King & what that might look like in a personal and sporting capacity. What followed, a rendition of Christ Alone, Cornerstone, served to remind the squad, myself included of why we do what we do & that in fact football can also be our worship to Him.
As both teams made there way out to the pitch they were greeted by a sparse, but enthusiastic crowd (8), made up largely of subs and partners, clearly strong armed into ‘joining in the fun’.  With the wind howling like Mariah Carey on her Christmas album (don’t pretend you haven’t heard it / don’t have a favourite song) & the previous nights deluge aiding the ground staffs efforts to provide a slick playing surface, pre-match checks were swiftly completed by the referee, pleasantries exchanged by both Captains & it would be CLM to kick off, into the wind from left to right towards the School end of the ground.
To describe the first twenty minutes as end to end, full of goal mouth activity and fast, frantic, one touch football (think Netherlands of the 70’s, Barcelona under Pep etc)….would be wonderful.  Unfortunately It would also be nonsense. Complete fabrication, some would even say ‘fake news’.
The weather & pitch combo was clearly causing both teams to stick rather than twist, resulting in an increased use of ‘percentage balls’ being played into the channels, rather than the silky tiki-taka football the CLM fans had come to expect.
In keeping with the pattern of the first twenty minutes the first goal would come from a percentage ball from St. John Fisher (STJF) played down CLM’s right channel, resulting in a shot fizzing across the CLM keeper who got down well to parry, only to see the on rushing STJF number 15 on hand to slot in the rebound and make it CLM 0 – 1 STJF.
By this stage of the game the wind really was howling, goalkicks were being taken and going out for corners & as fast as CLM could clear the ball from danger a combination of mother nature & STJF were returning it with twice the force. The double team of KJ & Ian plus a healthy sprinkling of sheer luck the only things preventing STJF from pulling further ahead.
As the half continued CLM started to enjoy more possession, although a combination of the wind, poor first touches and a couple of ‘robust’ challenges prevented too many clear cut opportunities.  Meanwhile STJF certainly had their opportunities, a free kick on the edge of CLM box resulting in an effort that looked closer to grazing the low cloud cover rather than the CLM crossbar. As STJF continued to push bodies forward & with CLM unable to win the ball back & make inroads of their own, the STJF number 6 looked to play a number of cross field balls into the CLM area, where fortunately a combination of KJ and Rich snuffed out further danger.
With possession being a rare commodity for CLM, step forward Andy Steven.  Showing some silky touches and a range of passes, he started to drive the team forward, having a shot from 20yds saved by the STJF GK & shortly after playing a deft ball around the corner to Darius that the STJF GK did well to come out and smother at the midfielders feet.
However for all of CLM’s renewed possession it would be STJF who would have the final clear cut chance of the half, a lovely through ball dissecting the CLM back line to leave Rich to come out, narrow the angle and make a great save, deflecting the ball up and over the bar, when the STJF forward looked odds on to score.
All this meant that the teams headed in for half-time oranges (& jaffa cakes for CLM), with the score CLM 0 – 1 STJF.
As the second half got under way the wind seemed to have died down a little.  CLM were forced into one change, James Ward making way for the young Martin Jakubec.
From the onset of the half CLM looked to get on the ball more and carved out a few early half chances to give the loyal & very cold supporters hope for the next 45mins!
The opening moments of the second half consisted of large amounts of CLM possession & untaken CLM chances, with STJF still looking dangerous on the counter attack.
As CLM continued to surge forward looking for the equaliser they were met with some strong but fair & resolute STJF challenges, until Shaun looked to break down the CLM left & was unceremoniously put on the turf, the referee who had so far kept the game flowing, was again perfectly placed to award the free kick.
Whilst the resulting free-kick came to nothing it wouldn’t be much longer until Shaun would once more break free and provide a teasing cross to the back stick where young Jakubec couldn’t quite get over the ball & headed over when only 6yds out.
With 20 minutes to go CLM shuffled the deck. Steve ‘The Don’ Ward coming on for the injured Darius Gichini, slotting in at centre back, allowing Ian ‘The Salmon’ Corden to push further forward into midfield.
It wouldn’t be long before Ian would win the ball in a full blooded tackle in the middle of the field & play the ball out wide to Shaun, who, having twisted and turned the STJF back line inside out pulled the ball back to Dan Hart, who took a touch, turned his marker & rifled into the back of the net from 8yds out. Another fine finish for the dangerous young front man.
CLM, sensing that this could be there time to go & grab a winner continued to pile forward & looked to break dangerously until Shaun was once more hacked down. On this occasion the referee awarding the free kick & a yellow card to the STJF number 6.
Once more CLM were unable to make the most of the free kick & STJF sensing a break was on, smartly moved forward down the CLM left, the STJF number 8 having the presence & skill to cut inside onto his left foot & fire a shot into roof of the CLM net from 10yds out.
CLM were momentarily stunned. Having fought hard to get back into the contest they seemed to be on the floor receiving the 10 count.
However, cometh the hour, cometh the man. Its not often I could compare Tyson Fury & KJ, however the second STJF goal seemed to illicit the same reaction in KJ as the count of 5 did with Fury. Eyes popping open ready to go one more time! With only minutes remaining CLM won a throw in, deep in STJF territory.  Step forward Captain Marvel, who arrowed a long throw into the box which the STJF GK couldn’t quite hold, his touch taking it into the goal & resulting in a deserved equaliser, all be it an unfortunate own goal for STJF.
Before the final whistle CLM would have one last chance as Shaun was played clean through, only to be foiled by the onrushing STJF GK, making an amends for his earlier aberration.
Shortly after, the referee blew for full-time. The end of a EXTREMELY cold game for players, supporters & match reporters alike! On reflection, given the chances created in the second half CLM may feel they could have edged it. In truth, the draw was probably the fair result. The wind, particularly in the first half dictated much of the rhythm of the game, which on the whole was played in a very fair & competitive manner.
CLM look to be assured of safe passage to the knockout stages and could still win the group with a victory over Division 1 table toppers, Hope.  For STJF, one more point should see them progress.
Man of the match is almost a repeat every week. This guy not only holds the team together & holds them to account off the pitch, but he does it ON the pitch too. Captain Marvel, aka KJ, aka Kieran Joseph… take a bow, take a bow son. Immense performance.
#thisisworship
Reporter: Paul Stringer

Arypt 1 Athletico Mosaic 4 Group C Match 2

Despite the score line and the craziness of the wind there was enough positives to indicate a shift in Arypt’s team spirit. With three new debutants taking to the field over the course of 90 minutes it is believed that over the next few week’s, Arypt’s first win of the season is not too far away.

The wind was always going to be a challenge for both sides, losing the coin toss resulted in Arypt playing into the wind against the two time league winning champions.

After a competitive 20 minutes, Mosaic broke the deadlock with a break away goal and soon followed that up with a wonder strike from Angelo. It was always going to be an uphill challenge but Arypt didn’t gave or lose their spirit despite going into the break 3-0 down.

The second half was a much tighter affair, a couple of substitutions in the second half including player manager Joey Coughlan added fresh impetus and quality, Once Mosaic went 4-0 up in the second half, Arypt enjoyed a purple spell where debutant Tom Beasley slotted into the net after the Mosaic goalkeeper parried Reubens initial effort.

Arypt continued to press in search of more goals and the way the game ended has left many feeling more optimistic. A settled squad with some additional new faces with a little bit of quality will make a massive difference. Next up is Elim a week on Saturday.

Christ The King 7 Arypt 2 League 2 Match report MS

In a miserable morning of torrential rain, Arypt went in hunt for their first victory of the current campaign. With Christ The King new to the league and taking a few games to find their feet after a 3-1 victory over Elim they seemed buoyed by their recent performances and carried this into the game. A mix of youth and old heads resulted in a well balanced team going head to head with Arypt in the early exchanges. It was a tight close affair but once Christ The King edged ahead, it was an uphill battle. The game was played in the right spirit and it was a former Arypt player ( Hugh ) who took all the plaudits scoring 4 of CTK goals.

James Bennett had given Arypt a much deserved equaliser in the first half, carefully placing his shot into the top left corner of the net after great wing play from Robert Spillaine.

Deep into the second half player Manager Joe Coughlan caused some panic in the box and the Christ The King captain headed it past his own keeper.

The 7-2 scoreline was not a true reflection of the closeness to this game. Arypt will need to lick their wounds as they have all season and go looking for a win against double league winning champions Athletico Mosaic.

AFC Hope 7 Wanderers 0 Cup Game Group A CF

Hot on the heels of a 3-0 beating by Hope AFC the previous week, the Wanderers were afforded a quick opportunity for revenge in the Cup. However, the omens appeared to be bad from the outset as a host of injuries and family commitments ravaged the squad to the point that one member of the starting X1 was strapping his boots on as the referee got the game underway.
Although dominating the early proceedings, Hope almost fell behind early when some lax defensive play almost let the Wanderers in. Having survived that scare, Hope began to press home the advantage. A mixture of wasteful finishing, some last-ditch defending and some fantastic saves from the Wanderer’s keeper helped keep the score to 2-0 at the break. With the wind at their backs in the second half, spirits were high in the camp that “one goal could turn it around”.
However, that maths simply didn’t add up, and the 2nd half continued in a similar vein. After 60 minutes, another Wanderers injury led to player-manager Mayes taking to the field with all the enthusiasm of a 15 year-old boy heading to an English language lesson on a Friday afternoon. Despite some gallant defending alongside player coach and Director of Football Dave Leach, the chances continued to come Hope’s way and much as they tried to miss them, 5 more managed to be miscued into the net.
If only a couple of chances that Wanderers created at 4-0 had managed to go in, the result may have been different. It would have been 7-2. As it was, it finished with a slightly disappointing 7-0 defeat.
Still, focus on the league this year, eh? And at least the weather was nice.

Elim 2 Arypt 0 Group C game 1 Match report

After 2 back to back league defeat’s for ARYPT, the distraction of the cup was a welcome relief, after a hard fought first half the teams went in all square at the break. Both teams had chances to take the lead but for some good goal keeping and wayward finishing from both sides the goal mouth lived a charmed life.

The second half saw very much of the same, a cross from the left from Elim’s winger landed right between the Arypt Goalkeeper and 2 defenders and in not taking responsibility and clearing the danger it left Dean Smith Elim’s striker to fire into the net.

Arypt rallied and huffed and puffed but ran out of energy and in their fight to find an equaliser found themselves 2-0 down when an out-swinging corner was swept in from Elim’s captain.

Three defeats in 3 games is a bitter pill to swallow. It’s only in defeat do we learn and grow, Arypt’s spirit and togetherness is there for all to see, with some improvements in fitness and with a little more quality, Arypt’s first win of the season won’t be too far away.

CLM 3 Holy Trinity 0 Group A Cup Game 1 PS

CLM vs Holy Trinity Match Report

A Sunny Saturday morning greeted both teams as CLM entertained Holy Trinity in there first cup game of the 18/19 season. The game would be played at CLMs home fortress (Caludon Castle).
Early signs were good, as both teams looked relaxed in their warm ups, as did the referee who was looking particularly fresh, having just returned from a summer cruise!

The opening 15-20 minutes of the game proved to be a cagey affair, with Holy Trinity’s number 8 giving an early indication of what could be on the cards, playing some lovely weighted passes. However CLM were matching pass for pass & a quick through ball by Ian to Dan required the Trinity GK to come racing out to smother at the number 9’s feet.

Clear cut chances were few and far between.  The best of which came when Captain Kieran’s free kick from the Trinity left, was fired straight into the arms of the Trinity GK.

CLM winger Bola was proving a good outlet & showed why he may be one to watch this season as he perfectly plucked a high ball out of the air as CLM continued to press forward.

The midfield battle was still instense, CLM looking for the wide men & Trinity’s magical number 8 dictating play in the middle of the park.  It wasn’t long before Trinity surged forward & just as they looked to shoot, a sliding tackle from a covering CLM defender took the ball away to safety – resulting in the first corner of the game, of which Trinity might look back on & feel they should have scored – a free header put over from 6yds, a warning to CLM that they would have to up their game.

Shortly after, Trinity’s number 8 who was again at the centre of all their good play, slotted a delightful through ball over the top, which required the ever young Rich, to come rushing out to sweep & clear the danger.

This seemed to kick CLM into gear, a ball down the line found the dangerous looking Bola, who unfortunately sent his shot high & wide from a tight angle.

It wasn’t long before Trinity responded with a chance of their own, the tricky number 8 weaving his magic once more to beat two CLM defenders before shooting wide.

It was a miss that would prove costly, as CLMs Dan held the ball up well & laid it back to Shaun on the Trinity left, who played it into the middle of the penalty area where the muscle bound Bola, deftly cut in from the right to beat his marker to the ball and calmly slot in from 6yds past the stationery Trinity GK.

CLM’s Dan and Shaun continued to cause the Trinity back-line problems with their hold up play & pace, however it was clear Trinity’s Captain was clearly up for the battle, enjoying a close matched contest with Dan, which was turning into quite the sub-plot of the first half, a first half that was to end with another chance for Trinity from the boot of their number 8, as he continued to be a thorn in CLMs side.  This time gliding past a defender on the left of the box to send an effort wide of the far post,  ensuring the teams went into the half-time huddles with the score CLM 1 – 0 Holy Trinity.

The second half got under way after a rallying call from CLM management at half time, exalting the team to continue to do the same as the first half & to not fall off the pace!

However, the words didn’t seem to sink in straight away…..CLM were caught napping from the restart as Trinity’s number 8 cut through from the right hand side to the edge of the penalty box where he opted to fire across goal and wide of the far post. A let off. Once more a warning for CLM.

A response was needed.  Shortly afterwards Matt played a lovely free  kick in from the Trinity left which saw Ian, scorer of two fine headed goals last week, place his free header just past the post. Would it be a chance CLM would regret not taking…..

CLM were starting to command the midfield & brilliant play from Captain, Hero, Shower Cap wearing Kieran, stepping out from the back line, resulted in a cross from Shaun coming in from the left to Dan, who expertly laid it back into the path of Ian, who slightly off balance, sent his curling effort wide of the far post.

CLM sub: Bola “The Muscle”  coming off to be replaced by Jordan

However, CLM weren’t having it all their own way & 3mins later Trinity’s dangerous number 8 was proving to be as elusive as ever, playing in their number 17, who’s shot from 25yds didn’t trouble Rich in the CLM goal.

Unfortunately the game was interrupted for a considerable time following a clash of heads, resulting in injury to Trinity’s number 3.  Fortunately the Trinity GK & CLMs resident GP (Kachi) were on hand to clean up & take care of the injury. But it was clear the number 3 couldn’t continue and Trinity made there only possible substitution as number 12 came on to replace him.

Understandably It would take a few mins for the game to settle back into its previous rhythm, but when it did an in-swinging free kick, taken by Matt, just inside Trinity’s half, resulted in the Salmon like Ian, once again rising highest, unfortunately glancing his header just wide of the keepers left post. Momentum was building, the 10 strong CLM support could sense another goal was coming & with Jasper on hand to capture the moment, Matt played an expertly weighted through ball to the willing runner Gabi, who looked to be clean through, but one on one with the GK sent his effort just wide of the upright.

Another goal was needed to make the game safe. CLM management deciding a change in personnel could make the difference, made their second substitution, Martin replacing the dangerous and ever willing runner Shaun.

Shortly after the substitution, Kieran would find himself in unfamiliar territory on the left wing, playing a great ball into the box where Dans effort flew just over the bar.

However the young striker still had time to make his mark on the game & shortly after it was his dangerous cross from the left which was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Trinity number 17.

The second goal seemed to waken Trinity up once more, as their tall number 9 found himself 20yds out, with time to shoot, he looked up and took aim to the GK’s top left corner, where the ever agile Rich, belied his years as he pulled off a “worldie” / “camera” save, (delete where applicable depending on your love of GK’s) tipping the ball over the bar, when the referee was already turning to blow the whistle to signify a Trinity goal. Trinity continued to pressure, with their number 9 threatening to break clear once more, alas Captain Kieran, as he did all day, swooped into smother the chance.

CLM made their final substitution as Kachi (he of GP fame) came on for the dangerous Dan.

2mins later it was 3-0 to CLM.  Gabi intercepting the ball on the halfway line, running through the middle, beating two defenders to slot underneath the exposed GK. surely the game was now wrapped up. Surely Jasper had managed to record such a great strike? (unfortunately for Jasper only one of those statements would prove to be true).

Entering the last 2mins of normal time, Kieran once more provided a perfect delivery from a free kick, just inside the Trinity half, where Ian’s flick was met by the gazelle like figure of Kachi, who’s header, powered downward from  6yds out was expertly tipped round the post by the Trinity number 1.

Into injury time & CLM would have one more chance, a long throw from the right finding Matt, who’s header flashed just wide.

Final whistle: CLM 3 – 0 Holy Trinity

A competitive game played in an atmosphere of great respect for opponents and the referee alike. A worthy win for CLM who make it two from two since they entered the league and cup.
Stand out performers Trinity’s 8 & 5,  Kieran, Nathan, Matt & Dan for CLM.  However, MoM this week goes to the ever youthful Dave Jones who didn’t put a foot out of place at Full Back all game & who’s play can only be likened to a vintage Roland Nilsson.