In a tough encounter at Boldmere St Michaels, 'Bulldogs' overcame a fighting HL Mustangs team and came away with a deserved 2-1 victory.
The gaffer named an unchanged team for the 3rd week running. A 5 strong substitutes bench was also named.
Boldmere knew that this would be a tough encounter against a much improved Mustangs side, and so it proved. Bulldogs started strongly, with Aaron Humphries at the heart of everything good at the start of the game. Richard McCausland and Paul Brady were pulling the strings early on and some nice football was on display from a determined Boldmere side. Several good opening were carved out by some neat one touch football early on. When John Haycock thumped a towering header against the bar from a Rich McCausland free kick and then the Mustangs keeper saving well from others on at least 2 occasions, the feeling was a goal was not to far away. Then on 13 minutes it came. A very good Boldmere move ended when the lively Aaron Humphries was upended 22 yards out. Up stepped free kick specialist Rich McCausland to drill home a fantastic strike and give the 'Bulldogs' a deserved lead. Boldmeres rear guard was well marshaled by John Haycock who was in commanding form and some great interplay was on display with Dawber and Hannon linking play well. Another good move saw Chris O'Briens speedy run and pull back knocked into the path of Liam Hannon who was denied by the Mustangs keeper who somehow deflected his effort onto the bar and to safety. Then skipper Paul Brady robbed the Mustangs fullback and drove into the area only to see his effort fly over the bar when well placed. Out of the blue Mustangs equalised, a long ball was unusually misjudged by keeper Steve Cullen and the Mustangs forward rounded him and rolled the ball into the net. The prominent Aaron Humphries was replaced in the 37th minute with a recurrence of a hamstring injury by Olly Nicholson. The goal visibly lifted Mustangs who now came into the game. However, Steve Cullen redeemed his mistake from earlier with a fantastic save to keep the scores level. Half time came 1-1.
Boldmere knew that more of the same heights that they had hit earlier in the game in the second half would bring there rewards. However, it was Mustangs that started stronger and Cullen was again called upon to make a smart stop low down to his left from the Mustangs forward. 'Bulldogs' finally sprang into life and in the 67th minute they were back in front. Another great delivery from a free kick by man of the match Rich McCausland was bundled home by John Haycock for his first goal in Boldmere colours.
In truth Boldmere held on quite comfortably and indeed but for the excellent Mustangs goalkeeper and with a few more better decisions with the final pass, they could have extended their lead.
Full time and a well ground out victory by the 'Bulldogs'. This sees them stay top of the table and with our direct challengers either not playing our dropping points Boldmere's lead is slightly extended.
In truth Boldmere were not quite at their best, but some excellent fighting spirit was on show from all players involved with no little skill.
Next week the Bulldogs travel to Holly Lane were they take on a good Division 2 Minworth side in the Challenge Cup, knowing nothing less than their best will suffice. With the squad improving all the time and places becoming hard fought for, its good times ahead we hope!