Still 3rd from bottom but a first win away
With the weather again affecting 3 games, Bards did win their last game of the month at bottom Rushden and Diamonds, after losing the previous 2, to give us some hope of escaping the relegation zone.
The away game to Bromsgrove on 2nd was cancelled in respect of Cody Fisher
Kings Langley (h) 1-2 – a disappointing defeat in a ‘six pointer’ – at half-time The Bards were 1 point from safety – at the end of the game, Bards were 7 points adrift after conceding 2 in the last 10 minutes. After being on top but missing chances, Bards had the ball in the net with a wind assisted in-swinging ‘cross’ from Josh Hawker going straight in on 45 and then immediately after, Mikey rattled the bar. Akubuine had a 1 on 1 chance on 57 but had his shot saved as The Bards remained on top but the game changed after subs were made up front. The visitors came more into the game as Bards sat deeper and levelled on 80 with a curling shot low into the corner. The winner coming from ex-Bard Ken Feyi with 3 to go after Bards fail to clear. More on the club match report – photos (including pre-match and 23rd minute) in club gallery
Royston (a) 2-4 – the home side went into a 3-1 lead using the wind in the first half. Bards went 2-0 down after 24 minutes but an attempted clearance on 34 cannoned off skipper Paul McCone into the net to reduce the score to 2-1 but the home side restored their two goal advantage right on half time. Jamie Molyneux set up a grandstand finish for the final seven minutes plus injury time but a last minute breakaway goal by Connor Furlong sealed the game for Royston and left the Bards rock bottom in the form guide.
The next 2 home games against Leiston and Redditch were postponed due to the weather
Rushden and Diamonds (a) 2-0 – the last game of the month saw us do the double 2-0 over Rushden and Diamonds on a very soft pitch. Youngsters Callum Ebanks started and Adulai Sambu and Jaylan Wildbore came on as substitutes. As per the club website it was First away league win of the season, First Stratford Town goal from a corner with a first goal for Carl Dickinson on 31 and First Bard penalty conversion by Grocott on 75 after Mikey was brought down by the keeper in the box. Also First red card for Dan Lafferty somewhat controversially – Highlights on Youtube
League Table – Tamworth (57 pts from 27) are 5 clear of Nuneaton (52 from 26). Leiston are a point behind but have 2 games in hand. Rushall (50 from 27), 5th placed Coalville on 44 have only played 22. Kings Langley (26 from 27) Alvechurch (25 from only 20) Bards (22 from 24), Hednesford (16) and Rushden and Diamonds (15) are rooted to the bottom having played 28.
Tamworth are top scorers with 68 aided by ex-Bard Daniel Creaney who is top of the scoring charts with 25 goals – ex-Bard Daniel Sweeney is 2nd with 14 goals for Bromsgrove. Leiston have scored 59. Despite being 6th from bottom, Needham Market have the best defence conceding only 25 goals and have a +5 goal difference! Rushden and Diamonds have scored the least (23) and conceded the most (65). There were 1320 at Ilkeston v Rushden, 1100 Redditch v Bromsgrove, 1050 Coalville v Tamworth and 1050 Tamworth v Alvechurch. Tamworth scored 9 v Hednesford and Leiston scored 6 v Basford
The 2 promoted sides last year to step 2 are in their top 10 – Banbury are 9th in a play off spot and Peterborough Sports 13th. The sides relegated last year, Biggleswade Town are mid-table in 12th in Division One Central and Lowestoft moved to the Isthmian League North where they are in a play- off position.
Players In – Defender Hamilton Bunga from Rushden and Diamonds, Youngsters Callum Ebanks and Adulai Sambu have joined on loan from Cheltenham. Jaydan Wildbore and Joseph Nyawema from Burton’s under 18 team joined in latte Jan. Jack Turner is also back – also see our squad list
Players Who Departed – Will Dawes back to Yeovil – then loaned to Weymouth – see where are they now
Looking ahead to February – 7 games scheduled including some re-arranged games (fixtures subject to change so check club website).
We play Ilkeston at home for the first time at step 3- looking to avenge a 2-1 defeat – the start of our decline. A tough game at 2nd placed Nuneaton follows who are a different side to the one we scored 4 times against at home last season although we did manage a draw this year. A midweek ex-Bard reunion at home to St Ives follows.
The 18th sees us go to bogey team Rushall Olympic where anything other than ‘nil point’ will be a bonus.
A first trip to Bedford on Tuesday 21st follows who we drew 1-1 to conceding another late goal in our opening game of the season. We would have faced Bards old manager Paul Davis who recently joined Bedford from Hemel Hempstead but he left after a short spell.
The last home game of the month is 25th against Stourbridge where we hope for a bumper crowd and a repeat of our 1-0 win last year and the final game sees a trip to Bromsgrove on 28th who may include some ex Bards in their side. Bards beat Bromsgrove 4-2 August Bank Holiday in one of the best displays of the season.
For previous monthly reviews, see 2022/23 archive
DW – any opinions in this article are the author’s