Black Country boys dig deep for victory
Black Country Fusion were the comeback kings on the opening day of the 2017/18 Redbox Signmakers Beacon Championship campaign.
One of last season’s mid-table outfits, BCF entertained top-three finishers FC Premier in a curtain-raiser and emerged impressive 4-3 victors, writes Dave McLean.
Ten-man BCF trailed twice before firing two late goals to secure first-day delight against last term’s Martyn Chell Cup winners.
Alex Cashmore put FC Premier ahead, only for Dan Hodson to level matters before the break. Early in the second period, the points appeared to be heading FC Premier’s way as Jack Wooldridge grabbed a fine double.
A second BCF goal, tucked away by Chris Davies, put the hosts back in contention, only for them to have a player red-carded. As the game moved into the final 10 minutes, battling BCF levelled through Martin Dickens, before Larry Adeyanju notched an 88th-minute winner.
Dynamo Dudley opened their defence of the Beacon League title with a comfortable 4-0 home success against Old Cross Athletic. The former included ex-Pensnett pair Ryan and Steve Cartwright in their ranks and both played a part in this first-day triumph. Ryan Cartwright put Dynamo ahead, before a Steve Jones brace and one from Joe Lawley saw the champions get off to a winning start.
Two teams showed their early goal power as Clinton Cup holders Sandwell Action crushed luckless Wyrley Juniors reserves 11-0, while Codsall Station hit newcomers Penn Rovers 8-0.
Three debutants were on the mark for Sandwell as Connor Morris and Sachin Dave bagged doubles, while Paul Parry netted a single. Dale Smith led the goal spree with a opening-day hat-trick, and James Walker, Ricky Danton and Shinesh Patel rounded off the scoring.
Codsall Station showed no mercy against a young Penn Rovers side and hit six first-half goals, adding a further two in the second period. Rob James and debutant Ethan Pukalak struck doubles, well supported by Liam Davies, Dom Leason, John Piper and Alex Fice.
Claregate Rangers boss Gary Cooper was a delighted man after his charges opened with a 4-1 triumph over visiting AFC Springfield.
“We showed a good tempo and took our chances well, especially in the first half. It was a confident start to the season,” said Cooper, who saw new attacking midfielder Daniel Burns put his side ahead with a memorable 40-yard volley after just five minutes.
Tom Banks struck twice in as many minutes to increase the Claregate advantage and a good move finished off by Kane Lewis made it four at the interval. Banks missed out on a treble return after failing from the spot, while Joe Scott replied for Springfield.
There was a winning start for AFC Pensnett Panthers as they ran out 2-0 away victors at new boys Black Country Rangers, a young outfit who were operating in the Stourbridge League last term. Securing the points for the Panthers were Josh Hazlet and Greg Corbett.
Debut star Charlie Leadon was a three-goal hero for AFC Vale as they began with a convincing 6-1 home triumph over Shere Punjab.
Leadon received good support from Richard Green, Alex Morton and Atamas Lbrishimov. Karim Hussain responded with a consolation goal for Shere Punjab.
Another of the league’s newcomers, AFC Sporting Gornal, were delighted with their first day efforts as they ran out 4-2 winners over The Shed FC. Sharing the goal spoils for Sporting were Jordan Anslow, Anthony Southall, Jack Griffiths and Nathan Johns.