Darren Byfield Is Town’s New Boss

Ex- Redditch United boss Darren Byfield has been unveiled as the successor to Carl Adams  as Town’s new first team manager.

He enjoyed a distinguished playing career beginning at Aston Villa  and eventually clocking up over 400 Football League appearances for a number of clubs before dropping into Non League playing for AFC Telford United, Tamworth and Solihull Moors.

He moved into management at Redditch at the start of the 2016/17 season but left in December last year shortly before Town won 2-0 there on Boxing Day.

All Town supporters wish him a happy and successful time at the MoodChimp Stadium.

Town Youth Update

Nick Ballinger has decided to stand down as Town Youth coach after guiding his side to their stunning MFYL League Cup success last week  and ending their campaign with only one defeat in their last 15 games..

He is handing over to Darren Timms who has been alongside him in the dug-out throughout the past  season.

Frenetic Finale To Town Youth’s Season

Town Youth hardly had any time to fully savour their MFYL League Cup triumph on Monday as they still had three Premier Division South games fit in before the end of the week.

So two days later an understandably much changed line-up faced Worcester City at Littleton’s ground and played out a goal-less draw which was the same scoreline as the reverse fixture at the MoodChimp three weeks previously.

Then they had to deal with what must surely be a unique situation of having to play two games on the same evening.

For various reasons neither fixture between Town and Hereford had taken place during the season, and the MFYL decreed that as they were the only Premier Division South fixtures still outstanding they should both be played at the MoodChimp on Friday but with the games being reduced to half an hour each way.

So at 7.30 pm Town began their “home” match against the Bulls who promptly raced into a fifth minute lead. Harry Hartin equalised five minutes later and then fired Town ahead on 18 minutes with his 15th goal of the season in all competitions to confirm his position as the team’s leading scorer.

A Hereford own goal gave Town a 3-1 half time lead, but the Bulls hit back with a second goal early in the second half and as they piled on some late pressure finally made it 3-3 with the last kick of the game.

So to Town’s “away” match which kicked off at 8.55 pm which must be the latest kick off time of any Town match ever. Both sides made wholesale changes to their line-ups but there was certainly no end of season feel about it as the game was played at a generous pace and was pretty competitive throughout.

It was though destined to end goal-less with Tyrike Richards-Burke going closest for Town with a stinging drive which was beaten away by the Hereford keeper while George Kirby wasn’t far away with a couple of decent efforts.

But when the final whistle went soon after 10 pm Town Youth’s season was at last over, and the two draws on the night meant that they ended on a run of only one defeat in their last 15 games.

Overall it had been a season with plenty of highs such as putting 14 past Redditch United in a Premier Division South game, winning away at Leamington in the F A Youth Cup and of course triumphing over Stourbridge in the MFYL League Cup, while it was also notable for both Dylan Parker and Dan Purvin earning dream moves to Walsall and Mansfield Town respectively.

And with most of the current squad still eligible for youth team football next season the future looks just as bright when it all kicks off again in August..

Town Youth Triumph In League Cup Final

Town Youth      –     1     Couki 33                                                                                                                     Stourbridge     –      0

Youth cup winners

Nick Ballinger’s triumphant squad

 

Ben Couki’s bullet header in the 33rd minute propelled Town Youth to their second MFYL League Cup success in three seasons as they put in a performance bursting with character and commitment to outbattle Stourbridge in a nerve shredding Final at Evesham United’s Spiers and Hartwell Stadium on Monday evening.

The Glassboys were seeking a treble having after adding the Worcestershire County Youth Cup to the Premier Division South Championship following a run of only one defeat in their last thirteen matches.

Significantly though that solitary reverse came at the MoodChimp twelve days before when Town won the league match between the two sides 1-0, and it was the same scoreline here as coach Nick Ballinger once more got his tactics absolutely spot on with Stourbridge again finding that breaking down Town’s rock solid defence was to be beyond them.

But the Glassboys started off as if they meant business with Archie Donaldson making a smart save from Curtis Holmes followed by Jake Evans seeing his shot deflected behind and Alex Cameron having an on-target effort blocked all within the opening five minutes.

Soon after Couki was in the right place to clear a Jake Brigdale header off the line from a corner, and with no let up in the pressure Donaldson pulled off a stupendous save in the 15th minute diving full length to his right to push Brigdale’s well struck right footer round the post.

But Town gradually began to get into the game with Tom Rowe surging down the right to float over a cross-cum-shot which completely deceived the Stourbridge keeper Peter Hawk who was relieved to see the ball clip the top of the bar on its way behind.

Town were then dealt a blow on 27 minutes when striker George Dawson came off worst in a challenge with Matt Hancox and had to be helped off with George Kirby coming on up front instead, but having survived that early Stourbridge onslaught Town were now creating chances of their own.

Dan Atkins was inches away with a header from a Josh Aspinall-Smyth free kick on the half hour mark and barely a minute later Harry Hartin drove another free kick from a promising position straight into the Stoubridge wall.

And on 33 minutes Town scored what turned out to be the decider. Tyrike Richards-Burke cut in from the left to let fly with a shot which looked destined for the top corner until it was spectacularly tipped over by Hawk.

Hartin delivered the resulting corner into the six yard box where Couki and Evans went for it together and the ball rocketed off both of them into the back of the net with the goal eventually being credited to the Town skipper.

The Glassboys were visibly shaken at going behind and Hawk did well to save another decent Richards-Burke effort and then come out on top in a one-on-one with Kirby as half time was reached with Town growing in confidence after that difficult start.

And they had a great chance to double their advantage only two minutes into the second half when Kirby latched on to a through ball down the middle. To Stourbridge’s disbelief the offside flag stayed down but Kirby shot too close to Hawk and as the ball looped off the keeper James Timmins got back to clear it away to safety.

Almost immediately after only the woodwork kept Town’s lead intact when a thunderous strike from Evans crashed against the angle of post and bar, but as the Glassboys pressed forward in search of an equaliser Town began to have opportunities on the break.

Richards-Burke in particular was now Town’s main dangerman with his pace out wide firstly firing across goal with a shot from the left and then racing down the right to pick out Kirby with a cross to the far post only for Kirby’s header to fizz tantalisingly over.

Hayden Reeves went close for Stourbridge with a header from a corner and Donaldson showed his quality by holding a teasing Cad Carter cross under pressure from Brigdale, but as the minutes ticked away Stourbridge became increasingly frustrated and their attacks became even more desperate as Town’s defending became even more heroic.

With five minutes to go Evans blazed a free kick wastefully over and then had a shot deflected behind off Aspinall-Smyth, and with the tension mounting and Town supporters’ nails being increasingly chewed the Glassboys forced a succession of corners as the game headed into four minutes of added time.

Even Hawk came up for the last of these but Donaldson and his defenders somehow held out until the relief of the final whistle meant that the celebrations could begin.

And it was a double celebration for Tom Rowe who as named Man of the Match in recognition of his tireless running, passing, covering and tackling up and down Town’s right flank from the first minute to the last which typified Town’s overall display throughout.

Tom Rowe motm plus Harry Hartin

Man of the match Tom Rowe with Harry Hartin

 

Merit Awards were then presented to the two keepers Archie Donaldson and Peter Hawk, while it was also a double celebration for Jamie Ford who collected his second League Cup winners medal to go with the one he picked up as part of Clive Seeley’s 2016 winning team.

“A fabulous effort from everyone.” beamed a justifiably proud Nick Ballinger afterwards. “They have all worked so hard all season and had to do so again this evening against a very good Stourbridge side.

We had a game plan to keep it tight at the back and try to hit them on the break, and it worked to perfection.

And it’s still a young side as only Ben Couki and Jamie Ford will be ineligible for next season so the future is incredibly exciting so long as they keep putting the effort in like they did here.

But for now let’s enjoy this tremendous success which I believe was thoroughly deserved.”

STRATFORD : Archie Donaldson, Sacha Everard, Lewis Timms, Josh Aspinall-Smyth, Jamie Ford, Ben Couki (c), Tom Rowe, Dan Atkins, George Dawson, Harry Hartin, Tyrike Richards-Burke. Subs (All used under the Rolling Subs system) – James Pomeroy, Caine Elliott, George Kirby & Alfie Boylin.

Town Youth Cup Final Preview

Town Youth are looking forward to their biggest game of the season on Monday when they face Stourbridge in the MFYL League Cup Final at Evesham United’s Spiers and Hartwell Jubilee Stadium.

The Glassboys will arrive seeking a treble having already been crowned MFYL Premier Division South Champions and Worcestershire County Youth Cup winners, and could hardly have been in better from of late winning 12 of their last 13 matches in all competitions.

But that solitary defeat came at the MoodChimp ten days ago when a Tyrike Richards-Burke goal gave Town a 1-0 win, and that may well put a few nagging doubts into their minds.

And Nick Ballinger’s side’s current form is equally impressive with just one loss in their last 11 outings and their confidence boosted by that recent result against the Glassboys.

So it promises to be another close game, and it would be good to see as many Town fans over there as possible to give the lads the support they deserve

NB – The kick off time at Evesham is 7.30pm NOT the usual 7.45pm.

Town Youth 2 Rugby Town Juniors 2

Town Youth came from two down after half an hour to share the points with the Juniors in a fast and furious MFYL Premier Division South clash at the MoodChimp Stadium on Thursday evening.

Having seen their last chance of retaining their title which they had won last season disappear when they lost to the new champions Stourbridge on Bank Holiday Monday the Juniors knew that only a win here would guarantee them finishing as runners-up this time round, but Town’s storming second half performance ensured that they had to settle for a draw which meant that they would now only finish third at best.

The pace was hectic from the start with Dan Atkins forcing a fine save from the Juniors keeper Robbys Maketa in only the ninth minute followed by a left wing cross from Tyrike Richards-Burke drifting over Maketa and clipping the outside of the far post.

The Juniors responded with Edward Brogden having his shot blocked by Josh Aspinall-Smyth and then blazing the rebound over before they took the lead in the 21st minute.

It was the first goal that Town had conceded in seven home matches and stemmed from an uncharacteristic mistake by Aspinall-Smyth who had the ball nicked off him by Brogden who then ran on to slot it past advancing Town keeper Archie Donaldson.

Back came Town with Maketa pulling off a brilliant save five minutes later diving full length to his left to parry a fiercely struck effort from Bradley West and then recovering quickly enough to block West’s follow-up, and the importance of that save was instantly apparent as play switched to the other end where the Juniors doubled their advantage.

Again it was due to a defensive mistake with Luke Jones capitalising on a loose clearance to volley the ball past Donaldson from 20 yards out.

As the openings kept coming at both ends West hit a thunderous drive against the bar on 38 minutes while the tricky Jones shot narrowly wide for the Juniors, and in the closing couple of minutes of the first half two chances fell to Tuesday’s four goal hero Harry Hartin.

Firstly he twisted and turned past three defenders in the penalty area to make room for a shot which he hit straight at Maketa and then he fired inches wide after a neat lay-off from Tom Rowe.

George Kirby wasn’t far away with the first opportunity after the break, but it was then the Juniors turn to rattle the bar on the hour mark when Gabe Webster let fly with a tremendous right footer from all of 35 yards out.

Town though were now looking the more threatening of the two sides and were right back in the game on 63 minutes when James Pomeroy surged into the left of the penalty area and drilled the ball beyond Maketa into the far corner of the net.

And from then on Town had all the momentum with more and more of the action being concentrated in the Juniors half.

With 20 minutes to go Kirby hit a fierce drive straight at Maketa and then saw another similar attempt deflected behind while a Richards-Burke header flew tantalisingly the wrong side of the post and Town’s pressure eventually told with a thoroughly deserved equaliser in the 78th minute.

Again the move came from down the inside left channel and this time it was Caine Elliott who swept it past Maketa to make it all square.

Now it was Town who were the more likely winners with a 20 yard first time effort from Kirby being shovelled round the post by Maketa and two or three corners being nervously headed away by the Juniors defence, but the winner wouldn’t come and at the final whistle a draw was probably the fairest outcome to what had been a cracking game between two evenly matched sides who both gave 100% plus..

Club Allocation For New Central Division

Following the conclusion of the various play off finals in the Bostik Isthmian, Evo-Stok Northern and Evo-Stik Southern Leagues the F A Leagues Committee has now been able to announce the format for next season’s new Central Division, and the 22 Clubs are as listed below.

It should be noted that at present this is only a provisional listing and is subject to any appeals.

Transferred From Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division (9)

Biggleswade Town, Hitchin Town, Kettering Town, Kings Lynn Town, Redditch United, Royston Town, St Ives Town, St Neots Town & STRATFORD TOWN,

Transferred From Evo-Stik Northern League Premier Division (6)

Barwell, Coalville Town, Halesowen Town, Hednesford, Rushall Olympic & Stourbridge

Transferred From Bostik Isthmian League Premier Division (3)

Leiston, Lowestoft Town & Needham Market

Relegated From Vanarama National League North (1)

Tamworth

Promoted From Evo-Stik Southern League East Division (1)

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Promoted From Evo-Stik Northern League Division 1 South (2)

Alvechurch and Bedworth United