11th Dec, 2017

Bees return to winning ways but injuries mount

Liam Moakes 7th Dec, 2017

STUDLEY boss Keith Draper’s delight at securing successive victories has been tempered by a glut of injuries sustained in Tuesday’s Birmingham Midweek Floodlit Cup 1-0 win over Alvechurch Reserves.

Chris Cowley’s header secured the Bees’ progress at the Beehive but he was one of five Studley players hurt on the night, leaving Draper with much to ponder ahead of Saturday’s Midland League Division One home game against Chelmsley Town.

Draper, whose side won 2-1 at Brocton on Saturday thanks to Aaron Westwood’s first half brace, watched in despair on Tuesday as the injuries mounted.

Striker Gaz Evans suffered ligament damage and was stretchered off with a grade two tear shortly into the second half – an injury which will rule him out for between six and eight weeks.

Fellow forward Karl King suffered a broken rib and is likely to face a spell on the sidelines, whilst Josh Westwood (knee), Cowley (hamstring) and Lewis Clarke (heel) all hobbled away from the ground.

However, Draper is seeking reinforcements up front and has already sealed a deal to bring former West Brom man and Pilkington XXX captain and defender Kieran McCalla, 23, to the club from Premier outfit Coventry Sphinx.

Draper said: “I’ve been delighted with the results and performances in the past two games, but really Tuesday was a bad night overall with the injuries we picked up.

“Losing Gaz (Evans) is a blow and we’ll have to see how bad Karl (King) is, so I’ll need someone in up front. On the plus side, it’s a great boost to bring Kieran (McCalla) to the club. He’s a centre back of real pedigree at this level who can play anywhere across the back.”

The Bees ended a three-game league run without a win with a deserved 2-1 success at Brocton which lifted them to second in the table – two points below leaders Leicester Road with a game in hand. Walsall Wood remain best placed – three points behind the Bees with three games in hand – but Draper is delighted with his side’s position after 19 matches.

“We were completely dominant in the first half and it was great to see Aaron get the two goals. The second was a beauty, with everyone other than the keeper touching the ball in the build-up, but we let a sloppy goal in during the second half and put ourselves under unnecessary pressure for 20 minutes or so.

“However, we regained our composure and earned a good win. Brocton are a far better side than their league position suggests so four points from our two recent games against them is not too bad at all.

“We’re in a great position now, having had hard games against Atherstone and Leicester Road lately that we deserved more reward from.

“With Walsall Wood having Ilkeston and Leicester to play in their next two games, we have a real chance to make progress if we can beat Chelmsley and Coventry Alvis in our next two matches, but it’s going to be tough.

“Alvis are bottom at the moment but love a battle, as do Chelmsley who look a stronger side than last season. It will be a tough battle on our pitch, as the middle of the park isn’t pretty at the moment.”

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