Postponed games re arranged

Last week’s postponed matches v. Lye Town and Haughmond have been re arranged for the following dates:

Tuesday 10th March  Sporting Khalsa   kick off 7.45pm

Tuesday 17th March   Lye Town   kick off 7.45pm

Tuesday 24th March   Haughmond   kick off 7.45pm

Midland Football League Newsletter

From Gary Hazlehurst  27th February

 Premier Division Review

The game between 3rd and 1st was abandoned with four minutes remaining at St Johns Park with Coventry United leading Heather St John’s 2-1. Both sides had been reduced to ten men early in the first half.

Sporting Khalsa closed the gap at the top with a 2-0 win over Newark Flowserve at The Aspray Arena. In a full blooded match between two of the promotion contenders, second half goals from Sean Williams and Liam Armstrong earned Khalsa the three points. 5th placed Romulus were held to a 1-1 draw at Castle Vale by improving Coventry Sphinx, both goals in the opening half hour.

6th placed Stourport Swifts were held to a 1-1 draw by relegation threatened Lye Town, the result moving Lye 4 points clear of the bottom. Arron Brown scored twice as Highgate United beat Gresley 4-1 at The Coppice. 

Buildbase FA Vase Quarter Final

Atherstone Town (MFL1 6th) vs Consett AFC (Northern League 1 4th)

Atherstone Town fly the flag for the MFL in the last eight of the FA Vase. The Adders welcome high flying Northern league Consett to the Mark Webster Community Stadium. The Adders have reached the last eight with successive wins over Step 5 clubs, Worcester City after a replay in the last round and away to Northern League leaders Stockton before that. It is the result against Stockton that had people sitting up and taking notice of the only Step 6 side remaining in the competition. Consett beat Deal to get here but their league form has dropped off with only one point from their last three games. Last Saturday they were beaten at home by Stockton in a top of the table clash that attracted a crowd of over 500. Dale Pearson is the man to watch with 30 goals from 33 games. If the Adders can out their recent troubles behind them, there is no reason why they can’t get through to a two-legged semi-final.

Premier Division Preview

 Leaders Coventry United travel to the CKW Stadium to face mid-table AFC Wulfrunians. Wulfs are without a win in five and lost 4-3 at The Butts Park Arena earlier in the season where a Kyle Carey stoppage time goal won it for the home side. United have won their last five which has seen them take over at the top of the table.

Sporting Khalsa moved into 2nd last weekend and they travel to the Ryona Engineering Supplies Stadium to face in-form Coventry Sphinx. Sphinx are unbeaten in six with four draws and two victories. Khalsa have won their last six and beat Sphinx 5-0 at The Aspray Arena in August with Dan Westwood bagging a hat-trick. 5th meets 3rd at Castle Vale Stadium in another game which could have a huge bearing on promotion. Romulus have drawn three of their last four which sees them seven points adrift of the leaders. Newark Flowserve are also going through a sticky patch with seven points gained from their last six fixtures.  Romulus won the reverse fixture 2-0 and this one should be close.

4th placed Heather St John’s are six points behind the leaders with a game in hand and they host relegation threatened Lye Town. Heather lost last time out and will be keen to get back to winning ways. Lye stopped the rot last weekend earning a long awaited point at home to Stourport Swifts. When the two sides met at The Sports Ground, Heather took the points with a 3-2 win.

Stourport Swifts are 6th but need a nigh on perfect run in to get into the top two. They travel to The Coppice to face 10th placed Highgate United. The Gate are unbeaten in nine at home and won last weekend following a run of four straight defeats. Swifts have drawn their last four and have just one defeat in the last twelve. Swifts won the reverse fixture 2-0.

7th placed Boldmere St Michaels are in a similar position to Stourport and need to win pretty much all of their remaining games to gate-crash the top two. They welcome Haughmond to The Trevor Brown Memorial Ground with the Shropshire side in 15th place. The Mikes beat Haughmond 4-2 when they met two weeks ago, and this should be just as entertaining.  Walsall Wood have five games in hand on the leaders and still harbour hopes of end of season promotion. They travel to Townsend Meadow to face Racing Club Warwick. The Racers have lost their last three, all of them against sides going for promotion. Wood have been on a poor run, but they did win their last league game with new manager Darren Byfield back in charge.

Selston remain at the foot of the table with a four point gap to the sides above them. They have four and five games in hand on Gresley and Lye Town and will be confident that they can maintain their Step 5 status. This weekend they travel to mid-table Worcester City. City have one win in their last six games, and they won the reverse fixture 4-1. Selston have amassed four points from their last four games to close the gap at the foot of the table.

Gresley saw manager David McDermott depart this week with Gary Norton taking temporary charge. They travel to The Beeches to face Tividale who are two places and nine points better off. Tividale beat Selston last time out to give themselves a buffer. Gresley have won one of their last nine and were beaten heavily last weekend. Tividale won 3-1 at The Moat back in August and this could be a very nervy affair.

Two sides who were in the mix at the top of the table in the autumn meet at Grange Park with Long Eaton United entertaining South Normanton Athletic.   Long Eaton have lost their last two, this after winning the previous two including a victory at Newark Flowserve. The Shiners have lost one in seven, the defeat in their previous game at Coventry United. This is the fourth meeting of the season between the sides with one win apiece and a draw.

 

 Non League Pyramid sees major re vamp

  There will be significant changes in the non-league structure at the end of the coming season with new leagues at Step 5 and Step 6 reducing to 17 leagues. The Midland Football League submitted a credible application to be allocated an additional Step 5 and Step 6 division. Unfortunately, that application was unsuccessful, and the MFL will continue to run one Step 5 and one Step 6 division next season. Two of the traditional feeder leagues, West Midlands Regional League and East Midlands Counties League have lost their Step 6 status, and this implies that the make-up of the top two MFL divisions next season will be very different. 

 Step 5 Promotion

With a new Step 4 being introduced, extra teams are needed at Step 4. The first way the FA are doing this is to do away with automatic relegation from the seven Step 4 leagues. 

The Clubs finishing in last place in each of the seven divisions at Step 4 at the end of the Regular Season will take part in Step 4/5 Play Off matches against a Step 5 Club. A total of 24 Clubs will be automatically promoted to Step 4. These Clubs will be: 

 LEAGUE    POSITION 

Combined Counties League  Champion Club 

Eastern Counties League  Champion Club 

Essex Senior League   Champion Club 

Hellenic League   Champion Club 

Midland League   Champion Club 

North West Counties League  Champion Club, 2nd and 3rd placed Clubs 

Northern League   Champion Club, 2nd and 3rd placed Clubs 

Northern Counties East League  Champion Club, 2nd and 3rd placed Clubs 

Southern Counties East League  Champion Club 

Spartan South Midlands League Champion Club 

Southern Combination    Champion Club 

United Counties League  Champion Club 

Wessex League    Champion Club 

Western League   Champion Club 

 In addition to the above, the remaining second placed Clubs will be ranked on points per game (then goal difference, then goals scored if required) with the four highest placed Clubs also receiving automatic promotion

 The remaining seven second placed Clubs will take part in the Step 4/5 Play Off matches on a single match basis at the ground of the Step 4 Club they are drawn against. Where possible, the draw for the Play Off matches will be regionalised. The winners of these Step 4/5 Play Off matches will be allocated to Step 4. 

 The Clubs to be promoted from Step 5 will be allocated to the most geographically appropriate division at Step 4. 

 A Club promoted to Step 4 shall comply with the Licencing System provision as set out in Appendix 1 to the Standardised Rules. If we take the league tables on a points per game basis, the 11 runners up are currently as follows: -

Western League   Plymouth Parkway 2.60

Hellenic     Binfield   2.45

Essex Senior    Hashtag United  2.435

Wessex League    Alresford Town  2.186

Southern Combination   Eastbourne Town 2.167

United Counties   Holbeach United 2.137

Spartan South Midlands   Tring Athletic  2.107

Southern Counties East   Corinthian  2.09

Eastern Counties   Wroxham  2.09

MFL     Coventry United 2.074

Combined Counties League  Spelthorne Sports 1.926

The sides highlighted would all gain automatic promotion with the remaining seven in a one off play off against The Step 4 bottom sides (away from home). They are currently Romford, East Grinstead Town, Northwood, Wisbech Town, Pickering Town, Wantage Town and Barnstaple Town.

I have no idea whether this is drawn out of a hat or is based on geographic location.

Step 5 Relegation

With so many teams getting promoted, and with two new Step 5 leagues being created, extra teams are needed for next season in Step 5. As a result, the number of relegation spots has reduced to one for this season. However, there is the possibility that the MFL will not relegate anyone this season.

The side finishing bottom in each of the fourteen Step 5 divisions will be ranked on a PPG basis. The two sides with the best PPG will be reprieved, the other 12 will be relegated.

If we take the league tables on a points per game basis, the 14 lowest ranked sides are currently as follows: -

Eastern Counties   Gorleston   0.708

Northern    Thornaby   0.667

North West Counties   Litherland REMYCA  0.667

MFL     Selston    0.523

Combined Counties League  CB Hounslow United  0.517

Northern Counties East   Athersley Recreation  0.48

Spartan South Midlands   London Colney   0.48

Western League   Odd Down   0.40

Hellenic     Holmer Green   0.375

Southern Combination   Loxwood   0.375

Wessex League    Amesbury Town  0.32

Essex Senior    Sawbridgeworth Town  0.307

United Counties   Pinchbeck United  0.25

Southern Counties East   Greenwich Borough  0.00 (folded)

 Gorleston would be reprieved while Thornaby and Litherland REMYCA have identical records. The PPG are so tight and a couple of wins either way could change the complexion completely.

Step 6 promotion

Despite relegation from Step 5 being reduced, a lot of extra teams are needed for next season in Step 5. Therefore, the top FOUR teams from each Step 6 division will be promoted at the end of the season. The only exception is in the two South West Peninsula divisions which will promote two sides from each of their divisions.

Obviously, this will have a major impact on our Premier Division next season.

In the Premier Division we currently have 20 teams. We will lose at least one team who will be promoted to Step 4. With the West Midlands Regional League and the East Midlands Counties league, 12 clubs will be promoted from what are our traditional feeders. Obviously, they can’t all take their place in our Premier Division

This is why it is important to remember that you get actually get promoted / relegated from a Step to Step perspective, not from a league to league perspective.

Step 6 relegation

At the end of the Regular Playing Season the Clubs in the bottom two positions of each of the twenty Step 6 divisions will be liable to relegation. 

 All Step 7 Clubs seeking promotion to Step 6 must make application using the prescribed form direct to The Association, copied to their existing League, by 31st December in the relevant year. 

 In order to be considered for promotion Clubs must finish in 1st position in their Step 7 league. If the Club finishing in 1st position does not wish to be promoted or fails to meet the entry criteria, then the club finishing in 2nd position will be eligible for promotion. If the club in 2nd position does not seek promotion or fails to meet the entry criteria, then clubs down to 5th position may be considered for promotion provided that they meet the appropriate entry criteria. Clubs finishing below 5th position may not be considered for promotion and, for this season only, more than one club may be considered from each League. Each application must be accompanied by the agreed application fee, as determined by the Committee, which is non-refundable. 

 No more than 40 Clubs will be promoted from Step 7. If more than 40 Clubs are eligible for promotion, they will be chosen based on a points per match basis. Where the eligible Clubs count does not reach 40 in number, reprieves of Step 6 Clubs shall come into effect on a points per match basis.

I hope this helps. It is not clear and, for the second season running, will be based on points per game rather than points gained on the park. While we appreciate the strength in depth of the MFL, when PPG is used, it is at a detriment to a strong competition such as ours.   

 For details of the FA official documentation please go to https://resources.thefa.com/images/ftimages/data/league2829940/79098.pdf

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 Stourport Swifts Sunday

Kidderminster Premier League as at 23rd February        
    P W D L F A Pts
1 Namaste Tigers 14 10 1 3 37 18 31
2 Green Man Inn 10 10 0 0 35 10 30
3 Stourbridge Athletic 17 10 0 7 46 36 30
4 Areley Kings 17 8 2 7 25 23 26
5 Wombourne Pool Bar 15 7 4 4 37 28 25
6 Windmills End 15 6 3 6 38 33 21
7 Stourport Swifts 16 6 2 8 43 39 20
8 Pure Sport Foundation 15 6 2 7 34 31 20
9 Netherton 11 3 2 6 19 25 11
10 Netherton Colts Seniors 12 2 4 6 24 34 10
11 Club Inter 14 0 0 14 15 77 0
                 
 

 Stourport Swifts U21’s

Midland League Western U21's  as at  22nd February      
    P W D L F A Pts
1 Kidderminster Harriers 17 14 0 3 66 20 42
2 Rushall Olympic  17 12 2 3 55 28 38
3 Halesowen Town 15 11 2 2 42 21 35
4 Droitwich Spa BG 17 10 1 6 43 29 31
5 Stourport Swifts 19 7 3 9 33 39 24
6 Sutton Coldfield Town 18 7 2 9 30 39 23
7 Boldmere St Michaels 18 7 0 11 29 38 21
8 AFC Birmingham Youth Dev. 16 7 0 9 35 50 21
9 Lichfield City 19 4 4 11 26 56 16
10 Chasetown 14 5 0 9 23 26 15
11 Worcester City 17 5 3 9 28 41 15*
12 Brocton 17 3 3 11 19 42 9*
                 
                 
  * 3 points deducted              

 

 Stourport Swifts Under 18’s

Midland Floodlit League-Southern Division as at 17th February  
    P W D L F A Pts
1 Stratford Town Juniors 13 10 3 0 50 17 33
2 Stourport Swifts 11 9 2 0 68 12 29
3 Kidderminster Harriers Juniors 10 7 2 1 44 18 23
4 Lye Town 10 7 1 2 38 16 22
5 Boldmere St. Michaels 12 6 2 4 51 28 20
6 Malvern Town 14 5 0 9 37 55 15
7 Alvechurch Juniors 14 2 3 10 26 57 9
8 Pershore Town 11 2 2 7 20 26 8
9 Gornal Athletic 11 2 0 9 7 70 6
10 Bromyard Town 11 1 1 9 7 49 4