Thursday evening saw Harper Bell maintain their 100% record and finally depose Rosary at the top of the Premier division; the Digbeth outfit now look odds on for a play-off spot. Last season’s ‘Thursday’ league champions travelled to St Matthew’s to face Brookfields and Erdington Hall. In glorious Nechells sunshine, the opening game saw Bell dominate against Brookfields, playing some sumptuous football in a 5-0 win. Bell concluded their evening’s work with an 11-0 win over Erdington Hall and Bell boss, Mr Hynan, was quick to heap praise on Hall’s players who never gave up and stayed committed throughout. It was also encouraging to see two girls – outstanding for the district side this season – captain both teams. The evening’s other fixture saw Hall race into a two-goal lead only for Brookfields to launch a storming fight-back and took the points in a 3-2 win.
Over in Garretts Green, play-off chasers Blakenhale and Brownmead, met in a crucial clash that would have major implications for both sides’ seasons. Mead went into the game a point behind ‘hale but left the Oasis with the three points to majorly boost their play-off hopes and severely dent ‘hale’s. Though ‘mead won by just a single goal to nil, they were the better side throughout and the home side’s boss, Mr O’Donnell, had no complaints.
Mapledene’s Arena was resplendent on a balmy evening in deepest Sheldon where the hosts opened proceedings against a Parkfield side made up of mainly Year 5s. Not an inch was given by either side and Parkfield’s physicality made it difficult for the home side to make their mark. Dene edged ahead when they chased a long pass forward and followed it up with a strike from the tightest of angles. A tug-of-war ensued as both sides searched for the next goal and it was Mapledene who got it courtesy of a low free-kick powered into the far corner of ‘field’s net. Dene ran out 2-0 winners. Mapledene then faced The Oval whose technically-gifted midfielders made it difficult for ‘dene. However, another great strike, followed by an unfortunate own goal, gave the Sheldon side a 2-goal advantage at the break. Oval responded immediately after the restart and with ‘dene looking ‘leggy’, pulled a goal back. Despite piling on the pressure, The Oval couldn’t breach a dogged and determined Mapledene rear-guard and ‘dene had their second win of the evening.
Across in Erdington, SS Margaret Mary were making their first Premier appearance since the resumption in March and more than made up for lost time; the Erdington side defeated both Paget and Thornton 6-0 and 7-0 respectively. Thornton and Paget played out a 1-1 draw in the evening’s other fixture at Hollyfields.
So, after another thrilling and exhaustive evening’s football in the Midland’s greatest of all primary school leagues, Harper Bell lead the way and are four points ahead of the now-deposed Rosary, with three games in hand. Brownmead’s win takes them two points ahead of their victims, Blakenhale, and into third place, two points behind Rosary having played four games less than the Saltleysiders. Blakenhale’s defeat puts them into fourth place and, like Rosary, will be hoping that Bell and Mead both drop points in the run-in. Mapledene’s six-point haul has them up to sixth and should they manage to fit all their games in (they have played three fewer than Harper Bell), they could still mount a play-off challenge.