Upon arriving at the ground, the first person I spotted was Dale James, photographer with Sports Shots and based just a few miles from my home in Oxfordshire. It was great to catch up with Dale again and have a chat about football in general. Thanks also to Dale for sharing the team sheets with me.
Cadbury Athletic, after some time away for various reasons, are now back at their Bournville home. In the heart of Bournville Village, alongside the Cadbury factory and next door to Cadbury World. With the iconic pavilion as the backdrop behind the Bournville Lane end goal, the ground is something of a magnet for groundhoppers, not least because the club also produces a pretty decent programme. Parking can be a bit of an issue. The club website suggests the car park at the old Cadbury Club, gaining a code to exit upon entry to the ground. However, it appears you need a code to get in, as well as out. A lot of the parking in the streets around the ground is restricted to 2 hours but, if you go past the ground and drive to the opposite side of Cadbury World, you can find on-street parking around the shopping area on Sycamore Road and Maple Road.
With the pavilion at one end, a Victorian office block to one side and trees behind the far goal, only one side of the ground is open. Alongside the pavilion and running down the factory side of the pitch, there are concrete terraces that give a slightly raised view. You can also stand on the terrace of the pavilion, a very handy vantage point (the only covered area) especially when it rains, as it did just before half-time. The snack bar and the toilets are also housed in the pavilion. Dugouts are on the factory side. The pitch is flat and looked to be in good condition.
Athletic are the current Midland Football League Division Two Campions having won the title by nine points from Coton Green last season. It was Green who progressed into Step 6 however, as the Bournville Recreation ground does not have floodlights and does not meet Step 6 ground grading requirements. They went into this game sitting in second place, trailing leaders Sutton United by eight points but with a game in hand. Boldmere have been cut adrift at the bottom of the table. With just one win all season, they started the day 10 points from safety with ten games remaining. Falcons last managed a league point in early December, drawing 1-1 at Kenilworth Sporting. Athletic were coming in on the back of three consecutive league draws, one of which was a title-chasing, six-pointer with Sutton United. The reverse fixture came back in August. Athletic took a 3-0 half-time lead before eventually running out 4-1 winners. Ojaohar Touatia scored for Falcons. Wade Malley with a brace, Jeson Dinanga and Josh McGinley on the mark for The Chocolate Men.
Cadbury started like a train. Within the first 30 seconds Boldmere keeper Jack Richards was called into action prevent Ethan Hanks from scoring. Then, on four minutes, only a superb, last-ditch tackle from Luke Billett prevented Cadbury going ahead. That said, Cadbury may have had the two best chances but Boldmere did not look like a team struggling at the bottom of the league. They were lively up front and were giving as good as they were given across the field. Nikolas Tatar, out on the right flank, looked to be capable of beating his man but couldn't get in a decisive final ball. Jack Bradley was also putting himself about up front as the Falcons announced to Cadbury that they were going to be in for a game.
As we moved towards the twenty minute mark, with the game still goalless, Cadbury began to lift their game and th momentum of the game began to swing in their favour. Warren-Paul fed in Craine but the striker put his effort well over when he probbaly should have worked the keeper. Two minutes later the same player was presented with a simialr chance which he, this time, slotted home, only to find the assistant's flag already raised. The signs were there however and, on 25 minutes, the home side finally go their noses n front. A corner form th right wa sdrilled across the area, finding Myles Brooks at the far post. His well-struck, first time effort, flew past Richards for 1-0.
Three minutes later Cadbury went route one to extend their lead. Fraser Oliver launched a huge kick downfield. Craine challenged for the bouncing ball which fell perfectly for Kedeiah Warren-Paul to calmly stroke past Richards. 2-0. Then, just past the half-hour mark came a controversial incident. Another long ball deep into Falcons territory saw Richards come off his line to challenge with Craine. The players collided and the visitors keeper ended up on the floor, seemingly injured. The ball dropped into the path of Liam O'Donnell, who finished well only for the referee to blow for a foul on the keeper. Cadbury players were quick to point out that Craine took the ball rather than the keeper, and that the assistant, who had a better clearer than the referee , did not flag. After consulting with his assistant, the referee signalled for a goal, much to the consternation of the Falcons bench and players. After a brief stoppage, the referee sent off Falcons manager Ryan Dean, presumably for dissent, and the goal stood. 3-0.
Then, as the heavens opened (by which time I had luckily wandered over to the pavilion to get tea), and with just a few minutes to go until half-time, Warren-Paul was again put through on goal. He rounded the goalkeeper and slid the ball into the net. 4-0.
HT Cadbury Athletic 4 Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons 0. Solid start from the Falcons but once Cadbury managed to click into gear and get the first goal, it was one-way traffic.
Still with under ten minutes gone in the second period, Falcons once again engineered an opportunity. Nikolas Tatar was played in, but Oliver was quick to narrow the angles, blocking well to keep a clean sheet.
With the game well and truly won, their was a slight drop in Athletic's tempo, although they were comfortably keeping Falcons in check. Fraser Oliver did have to make an exceptional save from a point blank range Steve Weladji header but, that aside, Falcons rarely troubled the home keeper. A minute after Oliver's save and with 21 minutes left to play, Thomas Craine came very close to making it six when he met a lovely left-wing cross but saw his powerful header smash against the bar and away to safety. The introduction of Ike Muojekwu injected pace and fresh legs into Cadbury's attack, and it was the right-wing substitutue who provided the pinpoint cross to allow Adam Bourn to tap-in at the near post on 79 minutes. 6-0
There was still enough time for The Bear, Warren-Paul, to control a right-wing cross, steady himself and fire past Richards to grab his hat-trick. 7-0
FT Cadbury Athletic 7 Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons 0. A comprehensive win for The Chocolate Men with a score line that does no harm to their goal difference, although theyt stil have a way to go to macth Sutton's +54. The leaders also won, coming back from 4-2 down to beat AFC Birmingham 6-4 and maintain their eight point lead. Falcons are well and truly anchored to the bottom. However, if they could mainitain the sort of form they showed in the first twenty minutes of this game for 90 minutes, they woud certainly cause some serious problems to teams. Next weekend Falcons entertain fourth placed AFC Coventry Rangers whilst Cadbury make the short journey to The Pavilions to face eighth placed Earlswood Town.
Cadbury Athletic: Oliver, Cooke, Christie, McGinn, Morris(c), Brooks, Hanks, O'Donnell, Craine, Malley, Warren-Paul. Subs: Muojekwu, Dinanga, Thomas, Taylor, Bourn
Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons: Richards, Rea, Francis, Brown, Shore, L.Billett, Tatr, Weladji, Bradley, Cameroc, O'Neill(c). Subs: Dean, A.Billett, McNamara, Jones, Davis
Ground Number: 349