The winning ticket worth £86.50 was claimed for the 4-0 Boxing Day defeat against leaders Tamworth in front of a large crowd.
As previously stated, the club does so much right off the pitch – the latest being the Christmas Toy collection and the free scarf and bumper programme offer (including our 2 page article) with many home supporters participating especially the youngsters getting their free scarves – the future of The Bards on the terraces. Boxing Day for football fans is always a special day in the fixture calendar – I’m sure it’s one of the fixtures many supporters like myself look out for when they are announced. It brings local derbies in non-league, home or away against our bigger rivals with large home support and away followings at this level. It’s one of the things I think will be missed should The Bards drop down from step 3. Three months ago, Bards, near the play offs, were involved in a battling draw against then league leaders Nuneaton who are still 2nd. Current league leaders Tamworth arguably had the game sealed in the opening 12 minutes making it 1 league win in 14 and none in 9 for The Bards. In their 8th season in the ‘Premier Division’, The Bards drop to their lowest ever position, 3rd from bottom. Sides above the relegation zone are currently averaging over 1.2 points a game compared to Bards 0.9 and Bards are 7 points adrift from 6th from bottom Barwell and 3 adrift of Alvechurch who have played 5 games less.
Before the game, it was announced that Jimmy Fry had left as coach following the appointment of Keenen Meakin-Richard as Assistant Manager and Head Coach. 4 players also departed before the game – Ashley Sammons, Sam Wilding, Jack Turner (out on loan) and on-loan James Mace back to Leamington
On the pitch, with a first home game for a month, the match followed a familiar pattern of goals conceded early on and then the need to chase the game. However, Tamworth seemed fairly comfortable after going 2-0 up with a low bobbling shot from the edge of the penalty area (again a goal was conceded whilst we were counting up the 50/50 takings) and a simple tap-in after a woefully short back pass. Liam was still the busier of the keepers after making several saves to keep the score down and there was another man of the match performance from Will Dawes, who had one of the few efforts to really test the opposition keeper. 2 penalties scored emphatically for Tamworth in the last 5 minutes ended the scoring – the first of which most supporters around me were unsure why it was awarded – followed by another for a foul in the area.
Bards having now played half their league games, slip to 3rd from bottom in the table with Kings Langley winning, and averaging 0.3 points per game less than sides above us in the relegation zone.
We’ll see you on Saturday 7th January 2023 against Kings Langley – a 6 pointer against a side at the lower end with us. They include Ken Feyi and Wilson Carvalho in their squad. Before then, we go to mid-table Bromsgrove on Monday 2nd looking to hopefully do the double over them (for our first win in 10) after winning 4-2 August Bank Holiday. Bromsgrove are managed by Michael McGrath and include Joe Curtis, Mo Sebbeh-Njie and striker Dan Sweeney who is 2nd top scorer in the league with 14 – see ‘where are they now’ for other ex-players. It was a 1-1 draw last year in the last game of the season with several fringe players and youngsters having an outing.
At home games, we’ll be in our usual spot by the Tuck Shop selling our 50 / 50 tickets (average prize this year around £70), the excellent revamped programme, hats and scarves and will have membership forms with us if supporters would like to join on the day – it only costs £10 for adults a year. This year purchasers of 50 / 50 tickets are able to claim 10% off Car Servicing and have MOT’s for just £40 at Arden Garages when they present their ticket. Arden Garages have also helped to fund the cost of printing the tickets saving the The Supporters Association money.
We welcome volunteers to join us as and when supporters are available. The draw has been a tremendous success in raising thousands of pounds towards club projects over the last few years, so we would really appreciate your ongoing help and support on a matchday
Please could you let Jim or Chris Simpson know if you would be available to offer your time at any stage – either at the game or by emailing stratfordtownISA@gmail.com
DW – any views are those of the author