Midland Football League Division One

Tuesday night saw both sides play their fourth game of this season’s Midland Football League Division One, having had contrasting experiences on Saturday. For Sports, it was a chance to put right their 3-2 reverse at the hands of Wednesfield, whilst for the visitors it was all about maintaining momentum after a thumping 5-1 victory over early strugglers Shawbury United.

Perhaps surprisingly, it took a good ten minutes for either side to get close to having a look at goal, and it was the hosts who had that chance. A long ball forward was slightly misjudged by the Hayes centre half, allowing the striker in behind, but his effort was scuffed wide of Callum Hayward’s goal. Even this early in the piece, it was quickly becoming obvious that the game was to be a scrappy, battling affair and that set pieces may well be the key. The first of the night’s goals would indeed come from a set piece, as the Heath Hayes right back’s long throw was flicked on, causing a scramble in the area, where it was poked home by Callum Ryan, with the ball trickling almost apologetically over the line. Not that they were bothered by the scrappy nature of the goal! Hayes’ veteran striker Nick Wellecome had established himself as the focal point for many of their attacks, and he had a great chance to get on the scoresheet when the ball fell to him centrally ten yards out but his side-footed effort was slightly too high, smashing the crossbar and denying him his fifth of the season, after a brace in both of their previous wins this campaign.

Sports were the first team back out onto the pitch, perhaps with a flea in their collective ears, and the early part of the second half saw an increase in their intensity, although it has to be said chances remained at a premium. Even after a couple of changes by the hosts, who were seeking a way back into the match, neither side were really able to gain the upper hand, which suited Heath Hayes after their first half goal. Just as you thought it would certainly finish 1-0, Hayes doubled their lead out of nowhere. A hopeful ball forward was overhit and should have been claimed comfortably by the Dudley Sports goalkeeper, but embarassingly for him, the ball slipped through his fingers. Not to be denied this time, the veteran Nick would “Wellecome” the gift, sliding home for his fifth of the season. If he scores an easier goal this year, I’d like to see it. In situations like this, you have to feel for the goalkeeper and hope that the howler doesn’t knock his confidence too much. The deflated hosts would finally register a shot on target in the eightieth minute, but the header from the corner was tame; straight at Hayward who could have thrown his cap on it.

The game wasn’t a classic, but for Heath Hayes, it’s a third win from four, taking them to third place in the embryonic MFL table, whilst Sports’ third defeat of the year sees them slip to thirteenth place ahead of their trip to Chelmsley Town. Heath Hayes take on Dudley Town on Saturday looking to consolidate their strong start to the season.

Dudley Sports:Bailey, Baker, Clarke, Finch, L.Gould, M.Gould, Ishola, Rossiter, Segree, Salter, Showell.
Subs: Bladen, Meegoe, Weaver. Unused: Latham, Morgan.

Heath Hayes: Agbor, Brauns, Forde, Hayward, Marshall, O’Doherty, Ryan, Sherwood, Wellecomme, Wright, Brown.

Subs: Giles, Leek, Moore. Unused: McLeod, Timms.

Referee: Mr S. Rowley

Attendance: 42

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