11th Apr, 2021

Cup abandonment the right call says Studley manager Draper

Liam Moakes 23rd Feb, 2017

STUDLEY boss Keith Draper said common sense had prevailed after Tuesday’s Birmingham Midweek Floodlit Cup semi-final was abandoned following a serious injury to a Cadbury Athletic player.

The Bees were 2-1 up with eight minutes remaining thanks to a Gaz Evans strike and own goal either side of a Cadbury equaliser but, with Studley closing in on a place in the final, a Cadbury player suffered a badly broken arm in an innocuous fall to the ground.

Draper said an abandonment was the right call.

“After maintaining our momentum with a great 4-0 win at Coventry Copsewood on Saturday, it was a shame to be so close to winning the semi with another good performance, but the welfare of players is always the most important thing,” said Draper.

“It was a horrible break, their lad was in agony and then went into shock. An ambulance was called and the player was given morphine. The referee said he’d give it 20 minutes and see about continuing but I told him I’d make it easy for him and say to just abandon the game.

“The lad’s parents were watching and it must have been horrible for them. I’m a parent too and if that was my lad out there I’d not be interested in the outcome of the game at that point.”

On the positive side for Draper, the Bees had produced an impressive display against the side sitting seventh in Midland League Division One despite being without eight players due to being cup tied or unavailable.

Having also seen his side climb to 17th and three points above the Division One drop zone thanks to Saturday’s league success at mid-table Copsewood, the manager is buoyant ahead of the remainder of the campaign.

Draper, who watched Evans (2) and brothers Josh and Aaron Westwood score the goals, said: “We look a really organised and competitive side now. We are fit and look like we could play for more than 90 minutes without making a substitution.

“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to coach Kim Casey. He suggested the 4-2-3-1 formation we have adopted and we’ve worked hard on it training and it’s paying off.

“Ollie Casey and Jack McGinn are doing a great job in the holding role and as a team we are pressing a lot higher up the pitch.

“It’s worked better than we could have hoped for and we look flexible and prepared for any type of match.

“Josh and Aaron Westwood are looking a real threat and also doing the dirty work and, with Gaz’s (Evans) goals up front, we look a threat. Our strength in depth is also evident now, for example Matt Powell coming in at centre back on Tuesday and doing a fine job.

“Over the last five league games we are fourth in the form table, scoring 18 goals and keeping two clean sheets, so the challenge is for the lads to try and keep this form up.”

The Bees are without a league game this weekend and return to action at Pelsall Villa on March 4.

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