BWFC Walsall Tournament Winners
A seventh consecutive tournament win for Birmingham’s over 50’s proved excellent preparation for the Semi final of the FA Peoples Cup this Saturday, A competition to celebrate the life of one of Walsall’s Walking Footballers Dean Welborn saw two teams entered from the Beechcroft based club. Mixed fortunes ensued, Birmingham Whites lifting the trophy whilst Birmingham Blues were unfortunately knocked out in the qualifying stages. Birmingham Blues proved solid enough and had the most part of possession in all of their games, but their lack of finishing and crossbars and posts seemingly constantly denying them , a 1-0 defeat to Port Vale in the first game was followed by three draws ( two 0-0 and a one all draw , Andy Norris slotting home a Paul Murtagh pass).
It was a different story for Birmingham Whites, a team with the nucleus of their FA Peoples Cup team plus the addition of Alan Deakin and Stephen Taggart, a 4-0 victory over Wolves with a brace each from Dave Norton and the ever impressive Andy Struthers followed by a 3-0 win over Wyndley meant qualification for the semi finals was already assured before another comfortable 3-1 win over Hartshill Strollers.
Birmingham had totally imposed themselves on the tournament and had dominated possession throughout all their games. Skipper David Castle had returned from 6 weeks out and his partnership with Deakin looked virtually impregnable while the continued excellent form of Darren Bradley had watchers on applauding Birmingham’s impressive passing game.
After various play offs with other teams Wyndley qualified for at the dubious spot in the semi final to face the on fire Brummies. Four more goals from Dave Norton (taking his tally to 11) and an opportunist follow up from Taggart meant a 5-0 semi final win and a meeting with the aggressive but talented and previously unbeaten Port Vale.
Birmingham Whites started excellently and kept possession for long periods and their reward was an excellent goal from Stephen Taggart with every outfield player touching the ball in the build up. Shortly after Dave Norton’s seemingly telepathic partnership paid dividends as his superb pass was converted with a trade Struthers rocket which gave the keeper no chance. Birmingham then managed the game out comfortably as Vale were restricted to only long range efforts none of which were on target.
After the game skipper Dave Castle commented, “It was great to be back playing with the lads after injury, we seem to be developing nicely, with Brads and Norts we have leaders all over the pitch, Andy Struthers improvement has been nothing short of meteoric, with him and Dave (Norton) we have so much quality in front of goal, I thought Deaks and Tag were superb and fitted in to our style of play seamlessly. We need to ensure we don’t get complacent, we have played some unbelievable football recently but our target has to be the Peoples Cup and the Nationals this year. I’m sure if we keep our feet on the ground we are on the verge on something pretty special.”