In their first home league game of the season Boldmere turned on the style with some scintillating football in a 2-1 victory against a hard working Castle Vale side.
The Boldmere side showed two changes from the last outing, with John Haycock missing Paul Davis returned to the centre of the back three and Greg Nattress was absent through work which meant a start for young Rhys Coombes up top. The bench once again looked strong with Aaron Humphries returning from injury, Jack Salter, Tom Shakespeare and new signing Darren Hamilton making up the quartet of substitutes.
The game started with Boldmere immeadiately on the front foot and in the first minute the referee pointed to the spot when a Castle Vale defender needlessly handled the ball in the area. Up stepped the ever reliable Liam Hannon to despatch the penalty for his fourth goal of the season and his third successful penalty.
Boldmere started well and the early goal was a bonus for their excellent football that they were now beginning to display. Boldmere's passing and possession game was dominating Castle Vale who had very little reply to the Bulldogs artistry, with Richard McCausland, Paul Brady, Liam Hannon and Chris Dawber particularly at the fore of everthing good that the 'Bulldogs' produced. However, for all their good play and dominance the finishing was missing for Boldmere. Paul Brady hit the bar from a good header and Liam Hannon's excellent long range effort was brilliantly saved by the Vale keeper. One particularly good move ended with Craig Oates through one on one with the keeper but he somehow poked his effort wide when it looked easier to score. So half time came with the score at 1-0.
One change was made by the gaffer at half time with Jack Salter replacing Chris O'Brien. 'More of the same' was the simple message from the gaffer and this is exactly what Boldmere provided. Aaron Humphries replaced the injured Rhys Coombes and his introduction gave Boldmere even more of an attacking edge in the final third. Castle Vale did have their moments but the solid back three of Paul Davis, Adam Mills and Michael Dossett stood firm. Boldmere were playing some excellent football and Vale were tiring which was allowing the 'Bulldogs' to find a little more space. Aaron Humphries intelligent runs were stretching the Vale back four now and creating room for others to exploit and run into. Another brilliant full length save was produced by the Castle Vale keeper when Humphries excellent goal bound effort from 25 yards was tipped over the bar. The clock was ticking, and with countless shots blocked and efforts peppering the Vale keeper surely Boldmere were going to score the much deserved second goal that their football deserved? On 78 minutes that goal came and it was worth the wait. Boldmere passed the ball well in another move and Chris Dawber threaded a superb ball into skipper Paul Brady (pictured below) who had marauded into the left hand corner of the penalty area. Brady took a touch to transfer the ball inside onto his favoured right foot before bending an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net........... 2-0! Boldmere continued to press for a third goal with several other excellent moves not being converted. Man of the match Liam Hannon, who led the line brilliantly throughout, was unlucky again when the Vale keeper somehow pushed out his effort which then hit the post.
It looked like Boldmere would run out easy winners, but out of the blue the referee awarded Castle Vale a penalty in the 86th minute when it looked like Boldmere keeper Cullen had been impeded in a high goalmouth scramble! The Vale player duly dispatched the spot kick. Then in the 88th minute the referee awarded a direct free kick on the edge of the area. Up stepped the Vale player to rifle a brilliant shot into the top corner, however Steve Cullen, at full stretch made a worldy of a save to protect Boldmere's lead and ultimately seal a deserved victory.
The whistle went and Boldmere were victorious 2-1. Anything else would have been an injustice. However, although the 'Bulldogs' played their best football of the season in this game, failure to take their chances nearly cost them dearly. In fact in several games lately this has been the case.
Boldmere have another home league game on Tuesday night against Premier United. Another victory will mean they are guaranteed to finish the year in second place and if they can find their shooting boots in a victory, it could even mean top spot and a very Merry Christmas for the the whole of team Boldmere and the chance to mount a title push in the new year! Lets hope this is the case #WeGoAgain