February review and coming up

7 points from last 3 games give Bards fans hope

The Bards31710144563-183119th1.00WDWLDLD

Ilkeston (h) 1-1 – a penalty from Will right in the corner secured a point for The Bards after going behind deep in first half injury time to a wicked deflection. There was some encouragement in the 2nd half performance and the game could have gone either way with goal-line clearances and the woodwork hit. Maybe 3 points were there for the taking but a game we could have lost.

Nuneaton Town (a) 0-1from our STISA correspondents, Bards were the better side in our best performance in a while but lost to a back post header against the run of play – their fans stating it was their only bit of quality. Missed chances cost us and there was some criticism of our set pieces. Lewis Ison had a good game when he came on and looks a good addition to the team. According to Rod’s stats Bards had more goal attempts 13 to 9 but had 1 less than Nuneaton on target with 3

St Ives (h) 3-3 – Somewhat disappointing to draw 3-3 in a game where we were leading 3-1 early in the 2nd half and the usual ex players scoring against the team they used to play for – Nabil Shariff and Jordan Williams denying the Bards a much needed all 3 points! Lewis Ludord-Ison’s long throw saw Bards open the scoring with McCone scrambling the ball home. However, St Ives equalised on 25 with a 25 yarder that bounced past Liam. On 44 Bards went into the break 2-1 up when a low cross was cleared onto the chest of Andre who smashed the ball home. Early in the 2nd half, a low cross was fumbled into the net at the near post by the St Ives keeper. However, quickly after, Shariff again scored against us, this time turning and volleying home. Man of the Match Lafferty hit the bar with a thunderous effort with 15 to go but after 80 minutes, Jordan Williams rose to send a looping header over Liam to deny Bards a much needed win. The defending again at times was poor, maybe there is a lack of pace to hit teams on the break. Too many long balls were launched as we regularly fail to win the 2nd ball. Highlights on Youtube. According to Rod’s stats, goal attempts were 13-11 in favour of The Bards with 8 on target compared to 6

Rushall (a) 3-4 – a cracking first half saw The Bards go in 3-3 at half time after clawing it back from 3-1 down. Goals from Turner from the rebound after Ison’s header hit the crossbar, a 20 yard cracker from Andre and Ison heading in. However, as always v Rushall they had the final word with a winner on the break in the 2nd half. A battling performance again, but we come away without a point after a hat-trick in the first half from Andre Carvalho-Landell and a cool finish from Alex Cameron on 75 winning the game as mistakes were heavily punished today. According to Rod, half the shots on target from both teams went in – Off target it was 11 shots to 10.

Bedford (a) 3-0 – Bards went into half time 1-0 up after scoring on 37 in this six-pointer – good work down the right saw Molyneux convert. 4 minutes into the 2nd half, the Bedford keeper had a bit of the Enckelman’s after a backpass rolled underneath his foot into the net under no pressure. The game then became a bit fiesty and Bards went 3-0 up from another neat passing move down the left hand side which saw Wright slotting home on the edge of the penalty area. Highlights on Youtube

Stourbridge (h) 1-1It was a good game with little goalmouth action in the 1st half. Early in the 2nd half, a shot from Will Grocott took a huge deflection and looped in the net. Bards then dominated the game and were certain to double the lead but for 2 last saving blocks on the line. However, a free header at the back post on 68 saw mid table Stourbridge come more into the game after not really threatening. The Bards had the better of the game overall and chances to win but had to settle for a share of the spoils. Ison and Bennett had good games and have proved to be excellent additions but we have more of a hill to climb as Bards are now 5 adrift of safety after Kings Langley won. At half time, we presented a £1,000 cheque for the Cody 23 fund

Bromsgrove (a) 1-0 – It was a very evenly matched first half, with both teams having a few half chances including a clearance off The Bards line. The game was stopped on 23 minutes to allow a tribute to Cody. Just after the 2nd half, a speculative shot bounced off the post, off the keeper’s head and out for a Stratford corner. From the corner Paul McCone nodded home. Bards enjoyed most of the possession and had chances to put the game to bed. According to Rod’s stats, Bromsgrove had 7 shots on target compared to our 3, with both sides having 4 off target. . Highlights on Youtube

Players – Will Grocott (32) and Paul McCone (30) have made the most appearances – Josh Hawker has picked up the most yellow cards with 7. Bards top scorer are Wright with 6, Grocott, Hawker and McCone have 5

League Table Tamworth (70 pts from 33) are 7 clear of Leiston (63) and 8 clear of Nuneaton (62) although both sides have a game in hand. Coalville with 60 from 28 could mount a challenge for the top. Rushall (60 from 32) are 5th in the last play off spot.

Bards (31 from 31) are in the final relegation spot, 2 points adrift of Kings Langley who have played a game more and 4 adrift of Needham Market who we play next. Bedford with 5 defeats in 5 slip into the relegation zone with 30 from 33, Hednesford (21 from 34) and Rushden and Diamonds (15 from 31) are rooted to the bottom.

Tamworth are top scorers with 77 aided by ex-Bard Daniel Creaney who is top of the scoring charts with 29 goals, Will Davies (Leiston) has scored 23 of their 70 goals. Rushden and Diamonds have scored the least (24) and conceded the most (74).

2126 saw leaders Tamworth play Nuneaton 3rd – sadly the game had to be abandoned due to crowd trouble. There were only 14 goals in the 11 games on the last Saturday. Rushall had the biggest win of the month, 7-2 v Redditch,

The 2 promoted sides last year to step 2Banbury are 12th and Peterborough Sports 17th. The sides relegated last year, Biggleswade Town are mid-table in 10th in Division One Central and Lowestoft moved to the Isthmian League North where they are in a play- off position.

Players In – Lewis Ison has signed for the Bards from Hednesford Town where he was captain. Also coming in from Hednesford is experienced midfielder Kyle Bennett and was their vice captain. 3 new signings were made on 28 Feb – Kieron Dawes, Morgan Owen and Josh Waite – also see our squad list

Players Who Departed – Mikey Taylor departed and has gone to Sutton Coldfield – see where are they now

Looking ahead to March – games scheduled including some re-arranged games (fixtures subject to change so check club website).

Sat 43pmAwayNeedham MarketLeague
Sat 113pmAwayLeistonLeague
Sat 183pmHomeAlvechurchLeague
Tues 217.45pmHomeLeistonLeague
Sat 253pmAwayHitchinLeague

We start the month with two long trips to Needham Market who we beat 4-2 at home and to Leiston who we have yet to play this season after the original game was cancelled in September. Needham Market are currently down with us but Leiston are going for promotion. We then have 2 consecutive home games against Alvechurch and the return against Leiston on a Tuesday night. We are then away to Hitchen.

For previous monthly reviews, see 2022/23 archive

DW – any opinions in this article are the author’s and on twitter

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