FECKENHAM boss Aaron Blackwood was frustrated to see Saturday’s Midland League Division Two visit to Earlswood Town fall victim to a waterlogged pitch, but pleased to see a number of first-teamers return to action in the Reserves’ 3-2 defeat to Claverdon AFC.
The Millers’ second string’s Stratford Alliance Division One encounter against title favourites Claverdon provided Feckenham with the chance to give much-needed minutes to those returning from injury and also field first team fringe players.
Blackwood said: “It’s frustrating (the postponement), but we understand it’s that time of the year and the reality is we’d all rather see games being played on good pitches.
“We’ve had three weekends off now which adds to that frustration but it has enabled us to get close to having a clean bill of health for the first time this season.
“Thankfully, a few of the players have been able to tick themselves over with Spencer (Stirling, Feckenham Reserves manager) in recent weeks.
“Jordan Adams, Jack Brimmell, Jamie Firkin, Umit Eminoglu, Scott Penlington and Ryan Edwards have all returned to full fitness and it was nice to see Andy Liddle return to action last Saturday and Corey Lloyd this weekend for our Reserves, which was Corey’s first game since getting injured in October against Smithswood Firs.”
On recent additions to the squad, Blackwood added: “You tend to see the same old names go from club to club to club which isn’t a bad thing – it’s their prerogative – but myself and Tom (Davies, assistant manager) have always said we’ll give good young players an opportunity and it was nice to bring in Will Langston and Logan Madden from Highgate United.
“They both played for Spencer on Saturday and put in very promising performances.
“We’ll hope for better weather ahead of our next game at home to Continental Star on February 18. We’ve got a few sessions between now and then and we’ll look to maintain our recent run of good home form.”
The Reserves’ match against Claverdon was switched from the Entaco’s waterlogged pitch to Henley-in-Arden Sports College and pitted Stirling’s in-form Feckenham against a Claverdon side unbeaten in 12 and having scored 56 goals in that time.
Feckenham went close early on when Ben Cox fired just wide after being played in by man of the match Dan Hopkins.
However, Claverdon broke the deadlock midway through the first half when a swift move on the right saw the winger pull the ball back from the byline and a forward was on hand to prod the ball home from a few yards out.
Feckenham were left aggrieved when Brimmell received the ball in his own half, flicked it over his marker and raced clear for what should have been a one-on-one, but the linesman had his flag up for offside to everyone’s bemusement.
Claverdon doubled their lead not long after half time when a cross from the right ricocheted off the forward’s knee and looped over young keeper Tristan Roberts.
However, Stirling’s men stuck at their task and, following good defending by Hopkins, he initiated a counter-attack in which a little bit of magic from Brimmell was witnessed as he received the ball just inside the Claverdon half and danced past several defenders before firing into the roof of the net on 61 minutes.
It was 2-2 six minutes later when another well worked Feckenham move saw Josiah Walker release Brimmell who forced the keeper into a good save and Cox was on hand to bend the rebound into the top corner.
It was the visitors who clinched maximum points against the run of play late on though when another well delivered cross from the right found a man in space and he headed home.
This was a good advert for the level of football and, but for some debatable officiating, the Millers Reserves may have got something out of the game.
Report compiled by Phil Tattersall.