29 May 2009: JOHN ALLEN ADMITS PAUL HOLLERAN A TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW

Rushall Olympic chairman John Allen admitted to Colin Stoner of the Birmingham Mail that new manager Neil Kitching will have a tough act to follow after Holleran led the Dales Lane side to the play-offs in both the Southern League Division One Midlands and the UniBond First Division South in successive seasons but he is confident that he is the man to deliver.

"Neil is very enthusiastic, he will work his socks off like Paul did and he knows Rushall Olympic inside out," said Allen. "I'm sure he will be successful. With Martin coming in as well, there's plenty of experience there. It's a fact that we have had to cut the budget. Some people will say that if you cut the budget you can't go forward but I don't subscribe to that view and Kitch doesn't either. If you have the right players, the right shape, you play theright way and create the right atmosphere then you can be successful."

John Allen

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27 May 2009: NEIL KITCHING APPOINTED THE NEW MANAGER AT DALES LANE

Rushall Olympic have wasted little time in filling the management vacancy created by the departure of Paul Holleran by announcing that former player NEIL KITCHING will be taking charge of team affairs at Dales Lane with immediate effect.

The 34-year-old rejoins the Pics having cutting his managerial teeth with Midland Football Alliance outfit Coleshil Town and will be assisted by the highly experienced MARTIN SOCKETT, the former manager of both Rugby United and Bedworth United.

Also making a welcome homecoming to Rushall will be former skipper RICHARD BROWN who returns to Dales Lane in a Player-Coach role after spending the last season in a similar position with Shifnal Town.

Kitching, who left the Pics back in March 2007, originally transferred to the club from Stratford Town in September 2004, after enjoying previous spells with the likes of Tamworth, Paget Rangers, Highgate United, Boldmere St Michaels, Gresley Rovers and Sutton Coldfield Town. He went on to bag 43 goals in 119 games for the Pics, with his playing highlights coming with the 2004-05 Midland Football Alliance championship and a 2005-06 Staffordshire Senior Cup success.

After leaving Dales Lane he later went on to play for Stourbridge, Shifnal Town and Coleshill, where he eventually took up the post of manager in October 2008, ably assisted by No.2 Sockett.

On behalf of everyone at Rushall Olympic we would like to offer Neil, Martin and Richard the very warmest of welcome and trust that they all enjoy a long and successful stay at Dales Lane.

Neil Kitching

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23 May 2009: PAUL HOLLERAN STEPS DOWN AS MANAGER OF RUSHALL OLYMPIC

RUSHALL OLYMPIC PRESS RELEASE

John Allen, the Chairman of Rushall Olympic Football Club, would like to make the following statement on behalf of the club:

After many and long discussions all this week with Manager Paul Holleran and myself about the plans and format of the football club for next season it was mutually agreed that Paul Holleran would step down as first team manager with immediate effect.

The reason for this decision is due to the club, like most other clubs, having to do the sensible thing and make a few cut backs in order to keep the club stable. Paul also has a problem with his work commitments that will leave him with a lot of extra travelling to games next season. I would therefore like to express my personal gratitude for the effort Paul has put into the club over the last two and a half years, we part on very good and friendly terms and Paul has offered to help out whenever and wherever he can if required.

A further statement will follow in the coming weeks as to who will be appointed to take charge of first team affairs.

John Allen (Chairman, Rushall Olympic F.C.)

Paul Holleran

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15 May 2009: PRESENTATION EVENING NEWS FROM DALES LANE

Friday 15 May: Rushall Olympic Football Club's Annual Presentation Evening took place at their Dales Lane headquarters where an excellent time was had by all concerned as the Pics celebrated the end of another fine campaign in which they reached the UniBond League First Division South Play-Off's and won the Walsall Senior Cup for the first time in nine years........... During the evening the Player of the Year awards were deservedly shared amongst several of the squad. The "Supporters Player of the Year" for season 2008-09 was named as midfield general IAN COOPER, whose presence proved to be sorely missed in the middle of the park for the final run-in after suffering a badly broken arm during the middle of March.......... Olympic's defensive lynch pin NIKI PRESTON was named by his peers as "Players Player of the Year" after producing many excellent displays in the back line and who ended the campaign having played from the start in all but two of the Pics 55 games during season 2008-09 - and in those remaining two games he took a place on the bench. The central defender also chipped in with 5 crucial goals and made it a brace of awards on the night as he was also named as the "Managers Player of the Year" for season 2008-09 by Paul Holleran.......... Other awards on the night included the "Club Person of the Year" for season 2008-09, which was presented to Rushall's skipper LEE BARROW who had featured in all but two of the Pics 55 games during the campaign. Meanwhile, the "Top Goal Scorer" award for season 2008-09 went to NATHAN LAMEY whose 11 league goals and 6 cup goals in his 17-goal tally went a long way to ensuring Olympic enjoyed a highly successful campaign.......... The Dales Lane "Goal of the Season" went to JARRED STEVENS whose well crafted goal gave the Pics a 2-0 lead against Belper Town in the UniBond League First Division South fixture at Christchurch Meadow on Tuesday 21 April, before the visitors were ultimately pegged back to a two-all draw.......... . Off the field at Dales Lane a series of presentations were also made to honour the extremely hard work of a number of individuals behind the scenes at the Club throughout the season. Several of our Ladies were presented with flowers by Vice Chairman Nick Allen, while a presentation of boxes of lager from the players themselves were made to Kit man LES CLAUDIUS, Football Secretary PETE ATHERSMITH and Treasurer RAY BARROW.......... The presentations were concluded with a silver salver and a bottle of gin being made to Rushall Olympic's two main benefactors, JOHN ALLEN and GARY COOPER.

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12 May 2009: PICS ENJOY SENIOR MOMENT AS CUP CAPTURED FOR FIRST TIME IN 9 YEARS

A clinical brace from top scorer Nathan Lamey saw Rushall Olympic's claim their first Walsall Senior Cup triumph for nine years as the Pics grabbed the winner at the Banks's Stadium deep into injury time after their opponents Tipton Town dramatically restored parity with just a minute to go………. An evenly matched first period saw the Pics take the all important initiative on 28 minutes when Jarred Stevens set up strike partner Lamey who stabbed home clinically from 8 yards to net his 16th goal of the campaign………. During the second half goal scoring opportunities came very much at a premium, but with the game seemingly set for a narrow win for the higher league side, Tipton stunned their opponents by claiming an equaliser on 89 minutes as substitute Chris Turner burst through and lifted the ball over the advancing Tony Breeden with a fine finish………. However, with extra time looming it was Olympic who were able to deliver the final shock of the evening with barely seconds left as the ball was punted into Tipton territory and only half dealt with by a defensive header. As the loose ball eventually fell to Lamey the front runner drove the ball clinically past 'keeper Wes Cox into the bottom corner to seal an excellent victory against such steely opposition. MATCH REPORT

Nathan Lamey

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2 May 2009: OLYMPIC TAKE FINAL BOOTS FOR AFRICA AWARD AND FINISH SECOND OVERALL

The UniBond League have announced that Rushall Olympic FC, who have collected 137 pairs of boots over the past 3 months for the Boots for Africa campaign, are the winners of the £250 awarded by League Sponsors Henkel Ltd for the third stage of the season - joining Premier Division Marine FC and Boston United FC, who were the £250 winners of the first two stages………. Rushall Olympic's excellent efforts leave them in second place overall for the season, but Marine are the runaway winners with their magnificent total of 505 pairs. The number of pairs of boots collected by the member clubs for the season is currently 1019, with the Henkel sales staff adding a further 53 pairs………. In addition to the cash prizes, League Sponsors Henkel Ltd, are also providing three prizes of UniBond products to the value of £1,000, £500 and £250 for the most boots collected over the season and these are won respectively by Marine (505 pairs), Rushall Olympic (137 pairs) and Stamford AFC (59 pairs) ………. The man responsible for organising the magnificent Dales Lane effort was the Pics very own Football Secretary Peter Athersmith and naturally we thank him very much for all his hard work throughout the entire season.

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28 April 2009: RUSHALL EXPERIENCE DÉJÀ VU AT BELPER TOWN IN NARROW PLAY-OFF DEFEAT

Rushall Olympic found themselves edged out of the promotion play-off's at the semi-final stage by a single goal defeat for the second season running after hosts Belper Town eventually progressed through to the final against Stocksbridge Park Steels……… The only goal of the contest arrived on 69 minutes when substitute Ryan Hindley took advantage of some hesitant defending to send an unstoppable drive into the top right corner past 'keeper Tony Breeden……… Despite the final result the Pics had their moments, particularly when with only seven minutes gone they had the ball in the back of the net via the head of Niki Preston, only to see their effort disallowed for a marginal off-side decision……… Rushall also had a vocal penalty appeal waived away ten minutes later for a handling offence by a Nailers' defender, while strike partners Nathan Lamey and Jarred Stevens spurned by far the better of the opportunities on offer on the night ……… Although it was not to be for Olympic they can still end their campaign with a flourish as they look forward to the Walsall Senior Cup Final at the Banks's Stadium on Tuesday 12 May against Tipton Town. MATCH REPORT

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25 April 2009: PICS PUSH INTO PLAY-OFFS AS PRESTON POPS UP FOR LAST GASP WIN

Niki Preston's headed goal two minutes from full time gave Rushall Olympic the three points they required at home to Shepshed Dynamo to send them through to the promotion play-off's in fifth position after rivals Glapwell succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at Stamford………. Chances were initially few and far between during the opening exchanges, although Rushall's Nathan Lamey had two headers that went well wide twice in the space of five minutes around the half hour mark. However, it was the visitors who almost took the lead on 33 minutes when Damien Magee's centre was almost converted at the far post by Rhys Powell………. As the interval approached Jarred Stevens burst through on two occasions for Olympic but was twice denied by 'keeper Gavin Saxby, while on 43 minutes a big shout for a penalty rang out as a result of a handling offence within the visitor's box………. During the second period Saxby proved himself to be a real hero for Shepshed with a string of fine saves to thwart the Pics as Dave Haywood, Carl Palmer, Lamey and Chris Hanna were all denied………. At the other end Tony Breeden had to be alert to smother the ball at the feet of substitute Rob Norris with twelve minutes remaining, before plucking Ian Robinson's goal bound header out of the air on 85 minutes………. However, Olympic were not to be denied when on 88 minutes Dynamo's custodian pulled off another stunning save to push Gary Fitzpatrick's 25 yard drive for a corner, which Haywood promptly delivered and Preston powerfully converted from 12 yards out after towering above the visitors defence. MATCH REPORT

Niki Preston

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23 April 2009: OLYMPIC CRUISE INTO FIRST WALSALL SENIOR CUP FINAL FOR 9 YEARS

Three goals in each half saw Rushall Olympic cruise safely into the Final of the Walsall Senior Cup for the first time in nine years as the cantered to a 6-0 success at West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division outfit Goodrich……….. Niki Preston nodded home on five minutes, before Carl Palmer netted the Pics second on the half hour mark and then Gary Fitzpatrick headed in a third three minutes later………. A twenty five yarder from Richard Beale made it four midway through the second period, prior to Carl Palmer heading home his second of the night with fourteen minutes remaining. Chris Hanna wrapped things up just before the final whistle with a lofted finish with his first goal for the club. MATCH REPORT

Chris Hanna

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21 April 2009: RUSHALL TAKE IT TO THE FINAL DAY DESPITE RELINQUISHING TWO GOAL LEAD

Rushall Olympic kept their play-off hopes alive until the last day of the season with a point at Belper- but were extremely unlucky not to take all three……….. The Pics seemed to be cruising at 2-0 up with 15 minutes left, but a controversial penalty turned the game and second-placed Belper went on to snatch a point - a result which still scuppered their own title hopes………. To gatecrash the play-offs, Paul Holleran's men must now beat Shepshed Dynamo at home on Saturday and hope either Glapwell or Carlton Town lose against Stamford or Spalding respectively………. After a goalless first half, the Pics went in front on 54 minutes when Carl Palmer headed in a corner………. It was 2-0 just 10 minutes later thanks to a stunning first-time volley from Jarred Stevens, who controlled a great through ball from Gary Fitzpatrick with his right foot and volleyed home with his left………. Belper got back into the game with a hotly-disputed penalty on 76 minutes as home striker Anthony Wilson backed into Niki Preston, but won the decision as both players fell to the ground. Lee Stevenson subsequently scored from the spot and Rushall's woe deepened two minutes later as Wilson headed home from a corner to make it 2-2. MATCH REPORT

Carl Palmer

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18 April 2009: PICS DEFENSIVE FRAILTIES EXPOSED AS PLAY-OFF HOPES ALMOST AT AN END

Set-piece woes cost Rushall Olympic dearly as they slumped to a disappointing defeat at fellow promotion chasers Glapwell after conceding three goals from corner kicks in a display that could well spell the end of their play-off ambitions………. Despite the final result the visitors could not have wished for a better start after only three minutes when an excellent move saw Simon Forsdick feed Carl Palmer whose low ball across the face of goal from the right by-line was converted from close range by Jarred Stevens………. Olympic's lead lasted all of five minutes when a flag kick from the left picked out the unmarked Kirk Jackson on the far post who made no mistake with a powerful free header into the right side of goal………. On 15 minutes it went from bad to worse for the Pics when another corner from the left was defender little better as Matt Varley had time and space to drill a miscued shot into the ground that looped over the flat footed David Clarke into the back of the net………. Three minutes later Craig Marshall spurned a good opportunity as he dragged his shot wide of the left post from the edge of the box, while six minutes later only a fine save by Rushall's custodian tipped over Ian Brown's lofted effort for a corner………. During the second period Glapwell were more than happy to defend their advantage and hit their guests on the break and with seven minutes remaining they wrapped up all three points when a corner from the right was headed home at the far post by the unmarked Ashley Kitchen to complete a poor day for the Pics. MATCH REPORT

Jarred Stevens

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13 April 2009: OLYMPIC ONE POINT BEHIND 4TH PLACED GLAPWELL AFTER DERBY SUCCESS

It was very much end of season fare at Noose Lane as Rushall Olympic claimed a crucial Easter Monday single goal victory at neighbours Willenhall Town courtesy of a penalty conversion on the stroke of half time by skipper Lee Barrow………. The only goal of the ponderous encounter came as a result of veteran home 'keeper Tim Clarke having both conceded the spot kick and subsequently being dismissed for obstructing Craig Marshall after the Pics striker had been sent clean through on goal………. However Clarke's replacement, substitute and ex-Olympian Craig Milligan, proved to be the Lockmen's hero after going on to pull off a string of fine savings during the closing stages of the derby that would ultimately have made Rushall's victory all the more convincing………. The victory saw Olympic remain in sixth position behind Carlton Town on goal difference with a game in hand, but they are now also just a single point behind fourth placed Glapwell, having played one game less. The two teams are due to meet each other on Saturday afternoon at Hall Corner in what could well be a key fixture. MATCH REPORT

Lee Barrow

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10 April 2009: RUSHALL MAKE IT A GOOD FRIDAY TO GAIN REDRESS AGAINST KIDSGROVE

Rushall Olympic finally tasted victory against bogey side Kidsgrove Athletic as they bounced back from a run of two disappointing defeats to claim an emphatic 4-2 home on what turned out to be a very good Friday evening for the Pics………. Olympic rocked Athletic by forging into the lead on 10 minutes when a centre from the left appeared to bounce off a defenders arm and Gary Fitzpatrick rifled home the loose ball from 12 yards………. However, Rushall's advantage was nullified just two minutes later when a hotly disputed corner kick awarded to the visitors was spilled by 'keeper David Clarke and as the ball ran out to the edge of the box Athletic defender Charlie Reeves drilled home through a sea of legs to restore parity………. Olympic were quickly back on the offensive when on 16 minutes they edged back into the lead as Dave Haywood's free kick towards the far post was knocked back across the face of goal and Niki Preston powered in a header from 8 yards………. Two minutes later it went from bad to worse for Kidsgrove as Jarred Stevens raced away down the right channel before centring to Carl Palmer who drilled in an excellent finish from just inside the box………. With the Pics still very much in the ascendancy, on 28 minutes they grabbed a commanding fourth goal when Craig Marshall rose highest to head home another pin-point Haywood free-kick………. On 44 minutes Athletic gave themselves a life line as Tim Sanders rifled in a free kick from just outside the box through the grasp of 'keeper Clarke, but the result was never in any doubt as the second period proved to be a goalless but none the less entertaining affair. MATCH REPORT

Niki Preston

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7 April 2009: PICS HANDED HEAVY DEFEAT BY BOGEY SIDE KIDSGROVE

Rushall Olympic crashed to a demoralising 3-0 defeat at bogey side Kidsgrove Athletic in a game that could potentially signal the end of the Pics promotion play-off hopes………. Having failed to beat the North Staffordshire outfit in five previous cup encounters over the years, their first league meeting with the Grove went from bad to worse after only 17 minutes as Liam Shotton claimed a double in the space of six minutes. The first arrived on 11 minutes after firing low into the left hand corner and the second came after the front runner all too easily ghosted past two Rushall defenders and drove the ball across 'keeper David Clarke and into the far corner………. The result was put beyond doubt on the hour mark as Danny Skelton's centre across the face of goal was converted by the unmarked Tom Moss at the far post, Olympic's hat-trick nemesis from the previous 3-0 UniBond League Challenge Cup defeat back in October. MATCH REPORT

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4 April 2009: OVER £2,000 RAISED IN MEMORY OF MATTHEW WHITEHOUSE

A magnificent effort by organisers, fund raisers, sponsors and all those who purchased match and golden draw tickets for the benefit game in memory of MATTHEW WHITEHOUSE at Dales Lane against Goole AFC on Saturday 4 April raised in the region of £2,000 for the family of the 21-year-old from Kingstanding.......... During the build up to the match Pics manager Paul Holleran, in combination with Commercial & Community Director Roger Lucas, worked extremely hard to ensure that the UniBond League First Division South game was an extremely fitting way for the family, friends and colleagues to remember Matthew, who was tragically killed by a hit-and-run driver shortly after midnight on Saturday 7 March in Perry Barr, Birmingham.......... Rushall Olympic Football Club would like to publicly thank everyone involved in the day, particularly our extremely generous sponsors M.FITZGERALD BRICKWORKS LTD, H & G CARPENTRY, BLYTH VALLEY LTD and GT BATHROOMS.......... A massive thank you to one and all!!!

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4 April 2009: OLYMPIC RUE MISSED CHANCES AS DALES LANE LEFT HAUNTED BY LOWLY GOOLE

All of Rushall Olympic's recent good work went up in smoke as the slumped to a disastrous home defeat against struggling Goole AFC who had lost their previous four games and had failed to score in three of them. The lacklustre single goal defeat severely dented the Pics play-off hopes as they slipped back out of the top five following an extremely brief stay………. Despite the final result, during the opening period the home side created and spurned enough opportunities in front of goal to have won the game several times over, but they ultimately failed to penetrate a resolute back line led by the visitors management team of Nigel Danby and Mick Norbury, both of whom verged on veteran status………. After Simon Forsdick sent a drive narrowly wide of target moments earlier, Rushall had the ball in the back of the net after 15 minutes when a good move saw Carl Palmer make ground down the right before centring to Nathan Lamey who rifled home from 10 yards, only to see play pulled up for an off-side decision………. As the home side continued to push forward, following a big shout for a penalty as Norbury clearly handled Forsdick's 20 yard effort, Lamey side footed over from just outside the box just before the half hour mark and then also proceeded to miss a straightforward one-on-one with 'keeper Chris Hill moments later………. Olympic paid the heavy price for missing a variety of chances seven minutes into the second period when they conceded a free-kick 25 yards out and forward Adam Lee rifled home past the despairing dive of the home custodian into the bottom right corner………. From that moment onwards the Pics were well and truly forced on to the back foot by a Goole outfit who had clearly found new confidence, however as the hosts chased the game they still managed to spurn several further good opportunities before time eventually ran out. MATCH REPORT

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1 April 2009: RUSHALL NAMED AS FIRST DIVISION SOUTH TEAM OF THE MONTH

In a first for Rushall Olympic Football Club, the Pics were officially informed by the UniBond Northern Premier Football League Executive Officer & Treasurer Duncan Bayley that they had been awarded the March 2009 "UniBond Club of the Month Award in the First Division South………. The club will receive 6 bottles of Pol Roger Champagne plus a commemorative certificate, which will be presented by UniBond Northern Premier Football League prior to the game against Kidsgrove Athletic on Good Friday 10th April [7:45 pm]……….. The achievement is a just reward for both an extremely difficult but highly successful month of March and is great testament to the sheer amount of hard work that manager Paul Holleran, assistant Lee Williams, coach Mark Gayle and every single one of the players and backroom team have had to undertake. Congratulations to everyone concerned and thank you all for a month to remember!!!

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31 March 2009: PICS GRAB LATE WINNER TO FORCE WAY INTO FINAL PLAY-OFF BERTH

Rushall Olympic travelled to South Yorkshire for the second time within the space of three days and once more came away with maximum points following an excellent 1-0 victory at second placed Stocksbridge Park Steels that completed the double over the UniBond League First Division South title chasers………. Goal scoring hero for the Pics was once more Simon Forsdick, when with just seven minutes remaining the midfielder finished neatly from an acute angle past 'keeper Ben Scott after being set up by Gary Fitzpatrick………. Four minutes prior to the goal the home side had found themselves down to ten men after Jamie Vardy was shown the red card following a foul challenge on Lee Gough that ended the wing backs participation in the game………. The outstanding success saw the Dales Lane outfit move back into the highly coveted play-off positions for the first time since December last year as they leapfrogged over Carlton Town into fifth place. MATCH REPORT

Simon Forsdick

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28 March 2009: OLYMPIC MAINTAIN PLAY-OFF PUSH WITH SHEFFIELD SUCCESS

Rushall Olympic reeled off a third consecutive victory as they claimed all three points at Sheffield FC to further boost their play-off hopes following a 3-1 success that made it six games unbeaten for the Pics………. The visitors found themselves under pressure from the opening whistle after kicking off into a strong blustery wind accompanied by some heavy showers. The hosts quickly put Olympic to the sword with David Graham firing over on 3 minutes, before further moves ended with visiting 'keeper David Clarke being forced to punch clear and Grant Beckett making a decisive interception in his own penalty area………. Indeed, Olympic were left wondering just how Sheffield managed to miss the target on 40 minutes as the unmarked Jack Muldoon planted a header barely six yards out past the near post………. On 42 minutes Rushall had by that time weathered the storm and claimed a crucial advantage when Nathan Lamey sent strike partner Craig Marshall racing clear, who held his nerve and fired home under 'keeper Mark Furness to claim his fifth goal in five games………. Right on the hour mark the hosts restored parity when a needless free-kick conceded by the left hand corner flag was delivered into the box and this time former Sheffield Wednesday striker Graham made no mistake by driving home via the fingertips of 'keeper Clarke………. With fifteen minutes remaining Rushall were well and truly back on the offensive and deservedly reclaimed the lead when Carl Palmer's probing through ball sent Lamey racing clear of the home defence, before clinically slotting home under the advancing Sheffield stopper………. Only a fine point-blank 81st minute save from 'keeper Clarke prevented the hosts from equalising for a second time of asking by keeping out Adam Fretwell's powerful header, while two minutes later a loud penalty appeal rang out at the other end as Olympic substitute Jarred Stevens appeared to be taken out by 'keeper Furness………. In the fourth minute of injury time the Pics wrapped up a fully deserved success when the industrious Palmer turned his marker and centred to substitute Simon Forsdick who rifled home his side's third goal with his very first touch. MATCH REPORT

Nathan Lamey

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24 March 2009: RUSHALL HIT THE GOAL TRAIL AS QUORN PUT TO THE SWORD

Rushall Olympic reeled off an emphatic victory at Quorn, but the 4-1 score line was a somewhat harsh verdict on the Leicestershire outfit who undoubtedly had their guest on the back foot for lengthy periods during the pulsating UniBond League First Division South contest………. A better start the Pics could not have wished for with two goals arriving in the space of just three minutes, within moments of the opening whistle. Firstly, Craig Marshall was set up by Carl Palmer to apply a crisp finish from close range, before Olympic doubled their advantage as a result of Carl Palmer's fine headed finish from Richard Beale's pin-point centre………. Following a spell of Quorn pressure the visitors were three goals to the good on 20 minutes through Lee Gough, who nipped in to slot home past 'keeper Craig Jones………. Quorn deservedly pulled a goal back prior to the interval when a low centre whipped in from the right was too hot to handle for debutante 'keeper David Clarke to handle and Phil Miller nipped in to fire home………. The hosts went on to put their guests under the cosh during the second half, but with eight minutes remaining the Pics put the game beyond all doubt when a cheeky back heel from Nathan Lamey rebounded off Craig Marshall into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. MATCH REPORT

Craig Marshall

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19 March 2009: PICS EDGE PAST ARCH RIVALS IN WALSALL SENIOR CUP SHOOT OUT

A night of high drama at Dales Lane saw Rushall Olympic progress into the Semi-Final of the Walsall Senior Cup at the expense of arch-rivals Chasetown in a pulsating tie that eventually went to extra time and a penalty shoot out………. A nightmare opening for the Pics saw Chasetown take the lead through Harry Harris less than 30 seconds from the kick-off as the former Olympian lifted the ball over stranded 'keeper Tom Harper………. Olympic fought their way back into the contest and went on to create a number of opportunities as they pushed their guests on to the back foot. However, their luck appeared to be right out when with seven minutes remaining a powerful header from skipper Lee Barrow crashed off the Scholars crossbar………. Fortunately the Pics persisted and their efforts eventually reaped the reward 30 seconds into injury time when Lee Gough's telling centre was headed powerfully home by substitute Craig Marshall from 12 yards to send the tie into extra time………. The period of overtime saw the game ebb and flow in favour of both sides, but right at the death Marshall almost clinched the game for Rushall as his rasping drive from the edge of the box was prevented from going into the bottom right corner by the fingertips of 'keeper Ryan Price………. The penalty shoot followed and it was bad start for the Pics as Grant Beckett's tame strike was easily smothered by Price. After Dean Perrow gave Chasetown the initiative, Dave Haywood made it 1-1, before parity was effectively restored as Craig Holland blazed way over the bar for the Scholars. Marshall and Carl Palmer successfully converted for Olympic, as did Gary Birch for the visitors - but Chad Sheppard was denied by an excellent block by Rushall's Harper. The final penalty was left to Barrow whose clinical conversion sent his side through to the last four for the first time in four seasons. MATCH REPORT

Craig Marshall

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17 March 2009: OLYMPIC SLIP OUT OF BIRMINGHAM SENIOR CUP IN NARROW DEFEAT

Rushall Olympic missed out on the perfect opportunity to reach the Final of the Birmingham Senior Cup for the very first time after slipping to a single goal defeat at UniBond League Premier Division neighbours Hednesford Town………. After reaching the Semi-Final for the second season running the Pics were looking to go one better this time around, but despite giving as good as they got the Pitmen eventually progressed thanks a long range drive from defender Tom Marshall………. Olympic had their chances and as early as the 11th minute Nathan Lamey headed straight at 'keeper Stuart Brock from close range and then missed the rebound………. On 42 minutes the visitors top scorer couldn't believe his luck as a tremendous shot on the turn from the edge of the box crashed off the inside of the left hand upright and ricocheted across the face of goal before being cleared………. Goal scoring opportunities were somewhat at a premium during the second period with Lamey once more looking the most likely to restore parity for Olympic, but it was not to be as Hednesford set up a Final date with Stourbridge. MATCH REPORT

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14 March 2009: PICS COMPLETE MEMORABLE DOUBLE OVER STAMFORD

After ending Stamford AFC's impressive 20 game unbeaten run that stretched back to September last year, Rushall Olympic followed on by completing the double over their play-off rivals in the space of just seven days by claiming a thoroughly deserved single goal victory at the Vic Couzens Stadium to also condemn them to their first home league defeat of the campaign.......... Stamford were first to threaten on 9 minutes when top scorer Jamie Clarke's firm header was tipped on to the underside of the crossbar by debutant 'keeper Matthew Ghent, before the stopper dived to smother the loose ball.......... A minute later Nathan Lamey's strike had the home custodian scrambling down towards his near post to stop the ball from crossing the goal line.......... On 32 minutes a Richard Beale free kick caused havoc in the Daniels six yard box, before the danger was scrambled clear, but two minutes later great work down the left channel by Stamford's Scott Ginty provided a telling centre for Clarke who somehow contrived to send the ball yards wide of target from the edge of the six yard box.......... Around the hour mark a Lamey free kick for the visitors had to be smartly tipped over by home 'keeper Martin Davies for a corner.......... Olympic grabbed the only goal of the game on 69 minutes when a ball played into the box eventually fell to Craig Marshall who hooked a fine effort past the Stamford custodian to give his side the advantage.......... Rushall went on to deservedly hold their lead until the final whistle to complete the double over their high flying opponents, despite having to contend with over seven minutes of injury time in the process. MATCH REPORT

Craig Marshall

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10 March 2009: OLYMPIC GRIND OUT A GOALLESS DRAW AT LEEK

Rushall Olympic were left to rue a penalty miss ten minutes prior to the interval as they returned from the inhospitable surroundings of Leek Town with a single point, but an extremely welcome third consecutive clean sheet.......... The potential turning point of the contest arrived on 35 minutes when striker Nathan Lamey was pulled down by a Leek defender, but Richard Beale was denied from the 12 yard mark by an excellent save from 'keeper Matt Cooper.......... Moments later the Pics were on the receiving end of some bad news after losing the services of influential midfielder Ian Cooper for the remainder of the campaign with a badly broken arm on the stroke of half time.......... Although the visitors had another penalty appeal waived away in the closing stages, neither side could ultimately break the deadlock and both had to be grateful for a share of the spoils. MATCH REPORT

Ian Cooper

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7 March 2009: RUSHALL BATTLE TO STOP STAMFORD'S UNBEATEN RUN

Stamford AFC's magnificent 20 game unbeaten run in UniBond League First Division South action, stretching back to September last year, was brought to a grinding halt at Dales Lane as Rushall Olympic ran out deserved 2-0 winners thanks to a goal in each half that significantly boosted their own play-off hopes.

A moment of magic from Gary Fitzpatrick gave the Pics a flying start after only 9 minutes when from 22 yards out the midfielder drilled a brilliant first time finish with very little back lift into the top left corner past the despairing dive of 'keeper Martin Davies.

On 27 minutes Rushall custodian Tony Breeden had to be at his best to turn a Jamie Clark header around his right hand post for a corner, while five minutes later the same player this time sent another header wide of the far post after running on to a centre from the left.

Following a cagey first period the second half opened up a little more and around the hour mark the Daniels' Adam Cunnington and then Olympic's Carl Palmer both tried their luck from distance with efforts that went wide of the target, prior to the visitors having an extremely hopeful penalty appeal for an alleged handling offence turned down.

The defining moment arrived of the contest arrived on 69 minutes when during a spell of sustained pressure the home side countered quickly through Lee Gough whose run into the right side of the penalty area was brought to an unceremonious halt by defender Shaun Pearson. Despite the protestations of the Stamford contingent, referee Mr. Etchells had no hesitation in awarding the Pics a spot kick and from the 12 yard mark Richard Beale confidently drove the ball into the right side of goal, sending 'keeper Davies the wrong way in the process to effectively seal all three points.

MATCH REPORT

Gary Fitzpatrick

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28 February 2009: PICS BOUNCE BACK WITH A MUCH NEEDED VICTORY

Rushall Olympic bounced back from a disappointing defeat against Carlton Town last weekend to open up a five point advantage over visitors Quorn with a welcome single goal success at Dales Lane, despite making hard work of their three points.

The visitors Tony Marriott was first to threaten on 16 minutes as the defender sent a stabbed drive wide of the right post from 10 yards during the aftermath of a corner.

The Pics had to wait until the half hour mark for their first worthwhile attempt on target as Craig Marshall drove straight into the arms of 'keeper Craig Jones from 15 yards.

A fatal error by Marriott on 37 minutes almost cost the visitors dearly, but after gaining possession and racing clear of the last man Carl Palmer could only send the ball skywards over the crossbar when well placed.

On the stroke of half time the Quorn custodian had to be at his best to hold on to Dave Haywood's 25 yard drive as Rushall continued to probe for an opening.

The defining moment of the contest arrived two minutes before the hour mark when a free-kick from the left channel by Haywood was swung into the near post from where Palmer headed powerfully home from eight yards to give the Pics a crucial advantage.

As Olympic sought to extend their lead, Jarred Stevens rippled the Leicestershire outfits side netting on 69 minutes, before substitute Nathan Lamey rolled the ball wide of the right hand post with seven minutes remaining.

Quorn's discouraging afternoon was compounded in the fourth minute of injury time after their manager Gavin O'Toole was ordered from the technical area by referee Mr. Simpson.

MATCH REPORT

Carl Palmer

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21 February 2009: OLYMPIC GOAL SHY WITH THE PLAY-OFF PLACES IN SIGHT

Four points behind guests Carlton Town and with three games in hand before the start of play, Rushall Olympic missed out on a golden opportunity to put pressure on the teams in the play-off positions above them as they contrived to slump to a lacklustre single goal defeat at Dales Lane.

The visitors could have been three goals to the good half way through the first period if were not for their profligacy in front of goal. After the Pics caught cold with barely 30 seconds gone, they were grateful to a fine save from Tony Breeden to deny Steve Chaplin, while on 11 minutes Carlton’s Marquin Smith somehow missed the target from virtually point blank range with a wayward header. Next to spurn a gilt edged opportunity was Dean Gent in the 23rd minute as the unmarked midfielder contrived to miss a sitter from close range.

When the only goal of the contest arrived on the stroke of half-time it certainly left Dales Lane in silence as Smith fell rather theatrically in a crumpled heap during a goalmouth scramble and referee Mr. Maton stunned everyone by point to the penalty for an alleged push that even the Millers contingent failed to appeal for. Darryl Thomas promptly sent Rushall’s custodian the wrong way from the 12 yard mark to give the visitors what turned out to be an unassailable lead.

The second half degenerated into an extremely poor affair where Carlton, quick on the break, always looked the more likely to extend their advantage, while at the other end it was hard to recall the well below par Pics even testing visiting ‘keeper Alessandro Barcherini with a worthwhile effort on target.

MATCH REPORT

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17 February 2009: RUSHALL GIFT WRAPPED ALL THREE POINTS BY GRESLEY

Rushall Olympic made it three wins on the bounce in UniBond League First Division South action following an emphatic 3-0 success against a Gresley Rovers outfit who aided and abetted their own downfall by unwittingly hitting the self destruct button.

With only two minutes on the watch Richard Beale's flag kick curled in from the right was fumbled across his own goal line by 'keeper Simon Baldwin as the Pics enjoyed the perfect start.

Just after the hour mark, the home custodian contributed further to his sides own demise after charging out of the penalty area to intercept a through ball, but after making a complete hash of it Jarred Stevens was presented with the relatively simple opportunity of stroking the ball home into an empty net.

Olympic had to wait until twelve minutes prior to full time before securing a cushioning third goal that came courtesy of yet another gratuity. On this occasion defender Nathan Tate played an ill-advised ball to 'keeper Baldwin that was easily intercepted by Pics substitute Nathan Lamey, who marked his return to the fold by rolling the ball into an empty net to claim his 14th of the season.

MATCH REPORT

Jarred Stevens

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9 February 2009 : PICS WELCOME BACK TOP SCORER FROM BROMSGROVE

Top scorer Nathan Lamey is all set to make a welcome return to Dales Lane following a successful loan spell with Southern League Division One Midlands outfit Bromsgrove Rovers.

The Pics top scorer had struggled with injury problems since October 2008 and following a stop start interim period he was eventually allowed to link up with his former club last month in order to regain his match fitness. Having featured in four games during his spell back at the Victoria Ground, the 2006-07 Southern League Division One Midlands Golden Boot winner has now been recalled by manager Paul Holleran.

The timely return of the 13-goal hot shot to the fold comes as fellow striker Jermaine Clark appears to have agreed a deal to link up with Southern League Division One Midlands neighbours Romulus in a bid to secure a regular starting role. The former Newport County and Evesham United target man arrived at Dales Lane back in November 2008 from Bromsgrove Rovers but, despite a promising start, injury problems meant that the striker had only recently returned to full fitness.

With Rushall set to be without Dave Haywood due to suspension in the crucial UniBond League Division One South fixture at second placed Stocksbridge Park Steels on Saturday afternoon, Paul Holleran will be looking to strengthen his squad further during the forthcoming week in a bid to maintain his sides current momentum.

Nathan Lamey

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31 January 2009 : OLYMPIC SHOW THEIR STEEL AGAINST SHEFFIELD

Is was arguably a final score line that flattered Sheffield FC as hosts Rushall Olympic turned in a rousing display that saw them lead comfortably at both 2-0 and 3-1, before an upright prevented them from forging 4-1 ahead late on. However, a second goal pulled back by the visitors in the fourth minute of stoppage time could well have suggested something other than a thoroughly deserved home victory.

The Pics were well worth their interval lead following a brilliantly executed goal from Jarred Stevens on 27 minutes, who picked up a ball from the left and with little back lift fired a swerving 22 yard beauty into the top left corner after the Sheffield defence failed to pick up.

An amazing goal on 57 minutes doubled the hosts' advantage when Dave Haywood launched a deep free kick from barely 10 yards into the visitors half. With everyone, including 'keeper Leigh Walker, expecting to see it sail over the bar, there followed a stunned silence and then celebration as the ball dropped over the back pedalling custodian into the net.

Sheffield pulled a goal back with sixteen minutes remaining as Rushall's defence were caught napping when Steve Woolley got behind them to the right by-line and drilled in a low centre that the equally unmarked substitute Stewart Copnell clinically converted from close range.

A well worked move reclaimed Olympic's two goal advantage in the 80th minute as Stevens raced down the right flank and delivered a telling centre into the path of strike partner who whipped the ball clinically home from 10 yards.

With three minutes remaining Rushall substitute Jermaine Clarke robbed last man Gavin Smith of possession before rounding the Sheffield custodian, only to see his finish slam against the right hand post from 10 yards and out to safety.

Right at the death the visitors reduced the arrears when from out of nowhere a breathtaking finish from the unmarked Copnell converted a deep centre from the right with a first time volley at the far post.

MATCH REPORT

Dave Haywood

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27 January 2009: RUSHALL CRUISE INTO QUARTER-FINAL AFTER SHIFNAL WIN

A goal in each of half from Jermaine Clarke and Lee Barrow saw Rushall Olympic through to the Quarter-Final of the Walsall Senior Cup following a largely uneventful 2-0 victory at Midland Football Alliance outfit Shifnal Town.

The Pics claimed the lead on 21 minutes when Jarred Stevens set up strike partner Jermaine Clarke for a straightforward finish, before the latter thought he had doubled his sides advantage eleven minutes later, only to see play pulled up for an infingement on the home custodian.

Nine minutes prior to full time Olympic sealed the tie as Carl Palmer lost his legs under a challenge from a Shifnal defender and skipper Lee Barrow clinically converted the penalty conversion attempt from the 12 yard mark.

MATCH REPORT

Lee Barrow

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24 January 2009 : PICS HALT LEAGUE SEQUENCE WITH A WELCOME WIN

Two goals in the space of three minutes on the quarter hour mark were enough to get Rushall Olympic's season back on track at Dales Lane. In the end the home side claimed a comfortable 2-0 victory against Spalding United that would have been by a far more healthier margin, had it not been for a string of outstanding saves from visiting 'keeper Richard Roberts.

After a big shout for a penalty on 14 minutes, as Jarred Stevens appeared to be brought down with the target at his mercy, the Pics were ahead moments later when Gary Fitzpatrick's well weighted centre from the right flank was met by the head of Carl Palmer, who directed the ball firmly into the bottom left corner from 10 yards.

On 18 minutes Olympic doubled their advantage when Stevens sent Lee Gough down the right channel, before delivering a probing ball to the far post that was clinically converted from 8 yards by Craig Marshall to cap a well timed run.

After having a penalty appeal waived away Spalding should have pulled a goal back four minutes prior to the break, but star striker Ricky Miller somehow pulled the ball wide of a virtual open goal from an acute angle.

Rushall continued to dominate the second period but, try as they might, could not extend their lead with the Tulips custodian in such superlative form. Indeed, Gough and Palmer had both been denied before on 72 minutes, with Marshall shaping himself up for a probable goal, the forward was hauled down by Nicky Hurst to yield a penalty. However, after the defender was dismissed, Roberts earned his corn to deny Stevens at full stretch from the spot kick and then proceed to tip the follow up strike from the same player over the bar for a corner.

In the closing stages Olympic's Jermaine Clarke and Niki Preston were also both denied by Roberts, but the home sides only concern was taking all three extremely crucial points following a run of six leagues game without success.

MATCH REPORT

Craig Marshall

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17 January 2009 : OLYMPIC SLIDE CONTINUES AFTER INJURY TIME DEFEAT

Not for the first time this season Rushall Olympic had the points snatched away from them in a contest where they appeared to be in full control of their own destiny. On this occasion reigning champions Retford United came back from being a goal behind to fortuitously grab victory after claiming two goals in the final ten minutes.

Olympic enjoyed the better of the first half exchanges, but were grateful to enter the break on level terms after Retford's Chris Bettney unleashed a drive that deflected clear of the target off the woodwork on 41 minutes. However, in the very next move the Pics were denied a good shout for a penalty after Craig Marshall appeared to have his legs taken completely from underneath him by defender Benjamin Chambers.

Olympic proceeded to boss the second period as they hit the woodwork twice in the space of four minutes. Marshall smashed a thunderous 30 yard effort against the crossbar on 64 minutes and then strike partner Stevens saw his drive from the edge of the box turned on to the upright by the United custodian.

The visitors deservedly took the lead in the 70th minute when Carl Palmer lashed home a loose ball through a crowded goalmouth from just inside the 18 yard mark. However, despite the Pics continuing to get the better of their hosts, Retford were back on level terms eleven minutes later when a break down the right channel ended with Paul Grimes bundling the ball across the goal line from close range.

Although Rushall 'keeper Tony Breeden worked wonders late on to somehow tip Ashley Longstaff's effort on to the bar, the stopper well and truly blotted his copybook in the second minute of injury time when he inexplicably dropped a harmless looking ball at the feet of Oliver Chappell who needed no invitation to gleefully steer the gift into the back of the net.

MATCH REPORT

Carl Palmer

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13 January 2009 : RUSHALL SHOCK AS MOORS SCALPED IN CUP SUCCESS

Rushall Olympic claimed the prized scalp of Blue Square North outfit Solihull Moors as they progressed into the Semi-Final of the Birmingham Senior Cup for the second consecutive season, following a 3-1 victory after extra time at Damson Park.

Playing their first game since Boxing Day the Pics had the worse possible start as the home side took the lead in the first minute of play when James McPike lashed home.

The visitors bravely fought back and as Jarred Stevens forced a corner just before the half hour mark, Richard Beale's resulting flag kick was palmed into his own net by 'keeper Danny Crane.

Despite Olympic enjoying the better of the exchanges during the remainder of the 90 minutes, extra time could not be avoided, but with only four minutes gone Craig Marshall gave his side the lead with a rasping 25-yard drive to round off a fine four-man move.

In the 105th minute the game was effectively over as a devastating counter attack from the Pics ended with Jarred Stevens cracking home a well taken goal from the edge of the box to round off an excellent night for the Dales Lane side.

In the Semi-Final Rushall can now look forward to an away tie at either Hednesford Town or Willenhall Town.

MATCH REPORT

Craig Marshall

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26 December 2008: PICS ON THE DECLINE AFTER FIVE GAMES WITHOUT A WIN

Rushall Olympic once more frittered away vital points they could barely afford as the Pics recorded their fifth straight league game without a victory following a dour two-all draw at home to neighbours Willenhall Town in a typically uninspiring Boxing Day encounter.

In what was certainly a game of two halves, the home side only had a 27th minute penalty conversion from Grant Beckett to show for their marginal superiority, only then to gift Willenhall an equaliser right on the stroke of half time as Naveed Arshad rolled home from close range to capitalise on a major error by 'keeper Tony Breeden.

The Lockmen looked to have taken all three points after Justin Nisbett headed home a Rory May centre on 87 minutes, only to see lucky talisman Carl Palmer get Rushall out of jail in the second minute of stoppage time following another goalkeeping error, this time by Luke Tilt.

MATCH REPORT

Carl Palmer

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20 December 2008: OLYMPIC GIFT WRAP ALL THREE POINTS FOR GRANTHAM

Rushall Olympic's pre-Christmas defensive generosity effectively gifted visitors Grantham Town all three points at Dales Lane as the Pics fought back from a two-goal deficit during the second period and then proceeded to throw away the game with two minutes remaining to eventually lose out by the odd goal in five.

Despite the final scoreline the contest should have been all over by the interval, but the dominant home side failed to turn their emphatic possession into goals. Instead they found themselves behind on 15 minutes when a comedy of errors between Lee Barrow and 'keeper Tony Breeden allowed Tom Mallison to head into an unguarded net from close range.

Worse was to follow on 54 minutes when a simplistic move down the left channel saw the ball delivered to the far post where Jack Pemberton found himself in acres of space was allowed to pick his spot and prod home an easy second for the Gingerbreads.

Jarred Stevens pulled one back for the Pics through a crowded goalmouth twelve minutes later, before Carl Palmer netted an excellent debut goal after cutting in from the right and driving past 'keeper Nicky Scaife from 16 yards out to restore parity.

On 88 minutes the home side undid all their good work when they failed dismally to clear the danger in the aftermath of a set piece and as a gap opened up the unmarked Danny Brookes unleashed a venomous 25 yard effort that brushed the finger tips of the home custodian on its way into the top right corner.

MATCH REPORT

Jarred Stevens

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11 December 2008: RUSHALL PULL OFF REAL COUP TO RECAPTURE A FANS FAVOURITE

Rushall Olympic pulled off a major coup by acquiring the services of former Dales Lane favourite CARL PALMER from Blue Square North crisis club Stafford Rangers. The tough tackling, no nonsense midfield anchor man made a surprise but extremely welcome return to Dales Lane following an absence of over five years after the Marston Road club agreed to terminate his playing contract. .

The 30-year-old became a firm fans favourite in his first spell with the Pics after originally signing from Wednesfield during summer 1999 and had also been on the books of Bilston Town during season 1999-2000. Previously he had progressed through the ranks at Wednesfield before transferring to Sandwell Borough during summer 1998 and later returning to Wednesfield in December1998. He enjoyed a superb 2001-02 campaign for Rushall that culminated in him scoring the winning goal in the Midland Football Alliance League Challenge Cup final victory over Barwell and being named by the clubs supporters as their Player of the Year for season 2001-02. The following season saw him play a key part in the side that ended the 2002-03 campaign as Midland Football Alliance runners-up, but missed out on a promotion place at the eleventh hour after a crucial vote went narrowly in favour of former Southern League club Yate Town.

Summer 2003 came the opportunity to test himself at a higher level of football when neighbours Hednesford Town spotted his potential during a pre-season friendly and was quickly snapped up. In his first season with the Pitmen he was a key member of the team that clinched the 2003-04 FA Trophy in the Final at Villa Park, where they beat firm favourites Canvey Island and was also voted as "Man of the Match" by Sky TV. In his second and final season with Hednesford he helped the club gain promotion into the new Conference North via the play-off system by beating Merthyr Tydfil on penalties in the semi-final and Chippenham Town by a single in the final.

The summer of 2005 saw him move on from Keys Park to Redditch United and during season 2006-07 he successfully steered the Reds away from relegation as club captain. However, when Nuneaton Borough came knocking he agreed to move across the Midlands to the Liberty Way club during summer 2007. There he proved to be a great acquisition, where his never-say-die attitude soon found favour with the Boro' faithful. However, financial problems during summer 2008 resulted in restructuring off the pitch and a subsequent move to Stafford Rangers followed.

From all at Dales Lane we offer Carl the very warmest of welcomes back home!

Carl Palmer

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6 December 2008: PICS SLIP FURTHER OUT OF CONTENTION AFTER TWO POINTS DROPPED

It was a very much a case of two points dropped for Rushall Olympic after they threw away a comfortable interval lead at Loughborough Dynamo, allowing the home side to take advantage of some rather generous defending to claim a share of the spoils in an otherwise lacklustre contest.

The visitors had the ball in the net after just 2 minutes when Jarred Stevens headed home from 8 yards out after meeting Lee Gough's long throw from the right, only to have the effort disallowed for an infringement.

A cool finish from Jermaine Clarke on 36 minutes gave the Pics the lead as the front runner sent the ball low and hard into the bottom left corner past the flat footed Dynamo custodian from just outside the box after being set up with an intelligent cross field pass from strike partner Stevens.

Just after the hour mark and Olympic threw away their advantage when substitute Kevin Spriggs got behind the defence down the right channel before having ample time to centre to the far post where Kris Nurse was allowed to head home all too easily without a marker in sight.

As the game neared a conclusion both Neil Morgan and Nurse failed to hit the target with the goal at their mercy for Loughborough, while for the visitors substitute Nathan Lamey's header forced a fine save from 'keeper Matt Nurse as Stevens drove a loose ball wide from 20 yards during the aftermath in the third minute of injury time.

MATCH REPORT

Jermaine Clarke

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29 November 2008: OLYMPIC FAIL ONCE MORE WHEN IT REALLY MATTERS

For the second time in the space of a week Rushall Olympic failed to get the better of a top five rival, when on this occasions they surrendered their unbeaten UniBond League First Division South home record with a telling 3-1 defeat against Retford United.

In a game beset by freezing fog the visitors were ahead on 31 minutes when Ian Cooper played an ill-advised back pass towards his own goal. Following a deflection off Niki Preston the ball appeared to go through the legs of skipper Lee Barrow and as Michael Godber intercepted the prolific striker drove home from close range at the second attempt.

Within three minutes of the commencement of the second period the game was effectively over when Retford doubled their advantage, leaving Rushall with a massive hill to climb. A corner from the right was played to the far post where the ball was eventually bundled home from close range by Benjamin Chambers.

Although Olympic gave themselves a lifeline on 58 minutes, when Niki Preston powered home a thunderous header from 12 yards out to clinically convert Dave Haywood's corner from the right, they were eventually sentenced to defeat by a real sucker punch from the visitors in the third minute of injury time. With the Pics in all out attack mode, a defensive clearance was chased through by substitute Lee Whittington who confidently ran on and ultimately lobbed the stranded home custodian from some 30 yards out.

MATCH REPORT

Niki Preston

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22 November 2008: RUSHALL DISAPPOINT IN LOSS AGAINST RIVALS

It was a disappointing result and display from Rushall Olympic whose single goal defeat at fourth placed rivals Shepshed Dynamo consequently ended with them relinquishing their second spot in the UniBond League First Division South table to the victors, who effectively swapped positions with their guests.

On an afternoon of very little football for the purist, the Pics effectively beat themselves on nine minutes by gifting a goal to their Leicestershire opponents. A mistake by Dave Haywood proved costly as Rob Norris ran clear to deliver a centre to the far post from the right bi-line. The resulting deep cross was headed back across the face of goal unchallenged by San Saunders to twin brother Ben, who found himself equally free to head home from 8 yards past Tony Breeden.

Some highly inconsistent refereeing only contrived to frustrate Olympic further, whose worthwhile efforts in front of the Dynamo goal throughout the entire ninety minutes were very much few and far between as custodian Gary Hateley surely enjoyed one of the easiest afternoons of his career so far.

MATCH REPORT

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18 November 2008: PICS DEFEAT BAGGIES AFTER EXTRA TIME IN SENIOR CUP

Rushall Olympic progressed through to the Quarter-Final stage of the Birmingham Senior Cup at the ecxpense of a young West Bromwich Albion side for the second season in succession. On this occasion they were taken all the way to extra time before finally sealing a highly entertaining 3-2 victory.

The Baggies deservedly took the lead on 20 minutes through Lee Lynch, before six minutes later Rushall spurned the opportunity to draw level as Richard Beale struck the visitors crossbar with a penalty kick that was hit perhaps a little too well.

Although the home side had been on the back foot for some time. They eventually restored parity on 51 minutes with a thunderbol effort from Jamie Silver, before going on to take the lead through Jarred Stevens 17 minutes later as the Pics cranked up the pressure.

Nine minutes from full time and it was Albion who took the tie into extra time thanks to the tenacity of substitute Lateef Elford-Alliyu. However, it was Olympic who were eventually vcitorious as Rischard Beale made ammends with a powerful headed finish to convert Lee Williams’ pin-point centra in the 95th minute.

MATCH REPORT

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Jamie Silver

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15 November 2008: OLYMPIC STRIKE DUO HELP CONSOLIDATE SECOND SPOT

For the second time in the space of a week Rushall Olympic took all three points off a rival top five side in the UniBond League First Division South as they claimed a thoroughly deserved 2-0 victory at Dales Lane against current form side Glapwell.

Following a goalless first period, where both sides cancelled each other out, two extremely well worked goals in the space of three minutes, just nine minutes into the second half, strengthened the Pics place in the league standings.

Rushall opened their account on 54 minutes when Jermaine Clarke cut into the left side of the visitors box and squared the ball invitingly into the path of strike partner Jarred Stevens, who clinically rifled home into the bottom corner to claim his third goal in consecutive games for the Pics.

Olympic's advantage was double just three minutes later when a spell of excellent football resulted in Richard Beale feeding the ball into the feet of Clarke and the striker used his strength to perfection to shake off a defensive challenge and bury the ball past 'keeper Neil West from 10 yards for his second goal in two games.

During the remainder of the game the visitors offered only a minimal threat in front of the Pics goal as the well marshalled home defence quelled any thoughts of a Glapwell fight back as Rushall cantered home to another crucial three points.

MATCH REPORT

Jarred Stevens

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9 November 2008: RUSHALL SQUAD STRENGTHENING GOES ON

Rushall Olympic manager Paul Holleran made further changes to his squad on the eve of the crucial home clash with highly fancied Stocksbridge Park Steels at Dales Lane after capturing the signatures of Bromsgrove Rovers duo JERMAINE CLARKE and GARY KNIGHT………. Powerful, towering 24-year-old centre forward Jermaine Clarke spent the formative years of his career at the Aston Villa School of Excellence before beginning a scholarship at Walsall. Upon moving into the non-League game he first came to prominence with Castle Vale KH and was eventually snapped up by Evesham United, making his debut at Common Road in January 2004 and signing contract terms with the Worcestershire outfit at the end of the 2003-04 campaign. He went on to make a huge impression during Evesham's 2004-05 promotion season, heading the goal that won them promotion to the Premier Division of the Southern League against rivals Bromsgrove Rovers in the play-off final. Indeed, his goals and popularity were rewarded at the end of campaign when he was named Supporters' Player of the Season. In October 2005 he was subsequently loaned out to Redditch United, which was later extended into the New Year. Following a contract wrangle, in which the Football Association eventually intervened, during March 2006 he was ultimately allowed to remain with Redditch. November 2006 saw the front runner sign for Halesowen Town on loan, but returned to the Valley Stadium after just two games. March 2007 ended with a loan move to Bromsgrove Rovers, where he scored a dramatic play-off final extra-time winner against Willenhall Town to clinch promotion to the Southern League Premier Division in May 2007. In November 2007 Conference South outfit Newport County pounced to snap up the intimidating front runner after tracking him for some time and scored 12 minutes into his debut as a late substitute at Windsor & Eton in an FA Trophy tie. During June 2008 he was released by the South Wales side following a change of management and spent some of the pre-season campaign with former club Evesham United, before linking back up with Bromsgrove during July 2008.......... Meanwhile, tremendously experienced, strong and reliable central defender Gary Knight began his career as a youngster with Redditch United, prior to linking up with Swindon Town, before later returning to his former club. A spell with the now defunct Halesowen Harriers followed, prior to linking up with Chelmsley Town and then Paget Rangers, where he spent around three seasons and was skipper of the side. He transferred to Solihull Borough during summer 1999 and at the end of the 2000-01 campaign he swept the board in the seasonal awards, picking up the Players Player of the season and Supporters Player of the Year as well as Supporters Most Consistent Player. September 2002 saw a brief switch to Gresley Rovers, scoring on his debut, but remained at the Moat for less than a month before linking back upwith former club Redditch United in October 2002. Whilst with the Worcestershire outfit the 35-year-old helped them win the 2003-04 Southern League Western Division Championship and effectively gain promotion two rungs up the non-League pyramid by securing a place in the newly formed Conference North by beating Merthyr Tydfil in a play-off over two legs. Was the Redditch Player of Season in their first season at a higher level and helped them win the 2004-05 Birmingham Senior Cup against Birmingham City. For season 2005-06 he moved on to Evesham United, before November 2005 saw him link up with Paul Holleran at Halesowen Town. During November 2007 he transferred to Bromsgrove Rovers and eventually took over the captaincy, but the early part of the 2007-08 saw him announce a temporary departure from the game due to work commitments, before finally being persuaded to return to the fray by the Pics.

Jermaine Clarke

Gary Knight

 

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8 November 2008: PICS BACK ON THE UP WITH HARD FOUGHT VICTORY

Rushall Olympic claimed an extremely hard fought and thoroughly deserved 3-1 victory against much fancied Stocksbridge Park Steels at Dales Lane to firmly halt a four-game league and cup losing streak.

The Pics forged into a formidable two-goal lead in the opening 17 minutes of what was a very entertaining contest. Striker Jermaine Clarke announced his arrival at the club with a fine debut goal after stabbing home from 8 yards to clinically convert a telling centre from Lee Gough in the 11th minute. Olympic then proceeded to double their advantage when Richard Beale pushed a fine through ball down the left channel for Jarred Stevens to run on to, who promptly cut inside and unleashed a swerving left footed drive from 15 yards into the bottom right corner.

A defensive lapse saw Rushall contrive to gift the visitors a lifeline on 24 minutes when an initial drive was only partially cleared and front runner Andy Ring ruthlessly followed up from within the confines of the box to give Tony Breeden little chance.

During the second period the visitors took advantage of the strong wind and Dales Lane slope to pressurise their hosts, but despite Rushall standing their ground well, Steels were also generally guilty of some wayward finishing.

With 15 minutes remaining Stocksbridge cause was not helped as they found themselves down to ten men when Matt Telling picked up a second bookable offence after following through on the Pics custodian.

In the fifth minute of injury the extra man told with Olympic delivering a huge sucker punch to their guests as they countered swiftly through substitute Craig Marshall who raced clear from just inside Steels half and ultimately slotted the ball confidently advancing past 'keeper Tom Hewitt with several defenders breathing down his neck.

MATCH REPORT

Jermaine Clarke

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4 November 2008: OLYMPIC OUT OF THIRD CUP IN TWO WEEKS

Rushall Olympic slumped out of a third cup competition within the space of two weeks following a heavy 4-1 defeat at much changed UniBond League Premier Division leaders Hednesford Town in the first round of the Staffordshire Senior Cup.

The Pics found themselves just a goal down at the interval as a result of Mark Briggs' curling 25 yard free kick on 27 minutes, but it could certainly have been far worse.

On the hour mark the Pitmen found themselves two goals to the good as Ross Draper shrugged off Rushall's defence with far too much ease and centred for ex-Olympian Tyrone Barnett to rifle home.

Five minutes later and the visitors did give themselves a lifeline when Richard Beale's corner was flicked on to Jarred Stevens at the far post who clinically converted his first goal for the club.

However, two goals in the space of just two minutes from Hednesford sealed the Pics fait as Barnett completed his brace from close range and Ross Dyer all too easily headed home a free-kick at the far post with 18 minutes remaining.

MATCH REPORT

Jarred Stevens

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1 November 2008: RUSHALL LOSE THAT THE WINNING TOUCH AS GOALS DRY UP

Rushall Olympic were extremely unfortunate not to leave Lincolnshire with a at least a thoroughly deserved share of the spoils as a first half goal from rapidly improving Grantham Town ultimately proved to be enough to take all three points.

Despite Olympic enjoying the better of the opening exchanges, it was the home side who took the initiative on 28 minutes when an error by Tony Breeden was clinically punished. As the stopper misjudged a centre from the left, the ball fell to the feet of Grantham danger man Danny Hargreaves who had the simplest task of slotting home into the bottom corner from close range.

Right on the stroke of half time Rushall were almost back on level terms when a superb drive from Craig Marshall arguably deserved better as Grantham custodian Nick Scaife pulled off a tremendous one handed save to deny the Pics front runner.

The second period saw Olympic stamp their authority firmly on proceedings and on 51 minutes they signalled their intentions as Craig Marshall fired inches over the bar.

As Rushall continued to push strongly for an equaliser in the closing stages, an 81st minute free kick from skipper Lee Barrow had the Grantham custodian grasping at thin air, but the ball went agonisingly over the target.

In the final minute the Pics were again left cursing their luck when a free-kick from Richard Beale smashed against the underside of the bar and the rebound was gratefully cleared by the relived home rearguard.

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31 October 2008: PICS COMPLETE DOUBLE SIGNING ON EVE OF GRANTHAM GAME

Manager Paul Holleran added further to his squad on the eve of the UniBond Northern Premier Football League First Division South game at Grantham Town by capturing the signature of towering centre back ANDY PENNY, who had most recently been on a loan spell with Bridgnorth Town from our Southern League Division One Midlands neighbours Chasetown. The tremendously experienced 36-year-old spent the early part of his career with the likes of Tamworth, Petersfield United, Barnet, Havant Town and also gained Conference experience with Stafford Rangers. Spells with Bolehall Swifts, Bedworth United and Solihull Borough followed before linking up with Hinckley United in the close season of 2001. The no-nonsense defender then transferred to Redditch United in May 2004, before returning to the Leicestershire outfit for a second spell in January 2005. At the end of the 2004-05 campaign he was released by the Knitters and after a trial with Bromsgrove Rovers he eventually linked up with Moor Green, where he remained for two seasons. Following the merger of Moor Green and Solihull Borough during summer 2007 he returned to Hinckley United for a third spell, before being released in November 2007 having made some 156 appearances and scoring 15 goals for the Knitters. Following a brief six game stint with Stratford Town during December 2007, he eventually signed for Chasetown in January 2008.

Meanwhile, the Dales Lane boss was also able to add to his striking options with the capture of former Walsall youth front runner RORY CURTIS, who was snapped up from Southern League Premier Division Rugby Town after being released. The 19-year-old began his career with Warwickshire junior outfit Central Ajax from under-7's to under-13's level, before joining the Walsall F.C. academy during summer 2003, after also being offered the opportunity to play at both Birmingham City and Aston Villa's academies. With the Saddlers Under-14's he ventured to Cyprus and helped his team mates claim the Fruto Tournament Cup, competing against teams from all over Europe, overcoming Panathanikos 2-0 in the final. While at the Banks's Stadium he soon progressed into the Youth Team during season 2005-06, where he featured regularly for some three seasons. A quick striker with a good touch, he initially signed for Rugby Town on a work experience basis from Walsall in February 2008 and scored within a minute of his debut against Swindon Supermarine. He then agreed to remain at Butlin Road on a permanent basis for the 2008-09 campaign following his release, but was given little opportunity to establish himself.

Andy Penny

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29 October 2008: OLYMPIC OUT OF ANOTHER CUP AFTER FIRST HALF GOAL AVALANCHE

Faltering Rushall Olympic's cup aspirations took another battering as they slumped out of the UniBond Northern Premier Football League Challenge Cup at the second hurdle at First Division South rivals Kidsgrove Athletic, who had conceded eleven goals in their previous two games. A hat-trick from home striker Tom Moss with goals in the 1st, 34th and 37th minutes of the contest effectively ended the tie before the interval commenced, as once more a pacey front line proved to be the Dales Lane side's ultimate undoing.

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29 October 2008: RUSHALL INJECT FRESH FACES INTO LEG WEARY SQUAD

In a bid to freshen up his apparently leg weary squad, Rushall Olympic manager Paul Holleran has drafted in two teenage reinforcements to inject some much needed youth and enthusiasm into his set-up. Highly rated 19-year-old front runner JARRED STEVENS has arrived from Blue Square North title chasers AFC Telford United and signed UniBond League forms in what will be an open ended agreement. The Cannock based striker began his career in the academy set up at Stoke City, featuring for the youth team at the Brittania Stadium during season 2005-06 and also the second string the following season. He eventually moved on to West Bromwich Albion and in April 2007 transferred to Plymouth Argyle as a second-year apprentice after impressing as a trialist. The strong, aggressive forward, who is handful for opposing defenders, soon began to make a name for himself at the Home Park Centre of Excellence, culminating in him bagging a hat-trick against Birmingham City in January 2008 to steer the Devon club into the Quarter-Final of the F.A. Youth Cup. However, at the end of the 2007-08 campaign he was somewhat surprisingly released by manager Paul Sturrock and in August 2008 eventually agreed non-contract terms at Telford after failing to earn a deal with Championship big guns Birmingham City following a summer trial period. Although the sharp, swift striker had been attracting the attention of a number of Conference National clubs, he has recently found himself slightly behind in the pecking order at the New Bucks Head.

The second new arrival is that of former Birmingham City youth player JOE O'TOOLE, who signed for the Pics after recently impressing in training. The versatile left sided midfielder had recently been featuring for Midlands Football Alliance outfit Highgate United during October 2008, providing cover at full back, but began the campaign by signing for Blue Square North outfit Solihull Moors. During the earlier part of his career the composed 19-year-old had been involved with the youth set up at Halesowen Town and also had various trials and spells with clubs including Stoke City, Rushden & Diamonds, Redditch United and AFC Telford United.

Jarred Stevens

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21 October 2008: PICS EMBARRASSED IN FA TROPHY REPLAY DEBACLE

Inept defending cost lacklustre Rushall Olympic dearly as they slumped to their heaviest defeat of the season so far during a 4-1 debacle at the hands of Bedworth United in a replay of the First Round Qualifying stage of the Football Association Challenge Trophy in Warwickshire.

The home side couldn't quite believe their luck upon being gifted two goals in the space of just two minutes midway through the first period as Adam Kinder and Jermain Gordon netted without hindrance.

A third from Ben Twigger just before the hour mark and a penalty conversion by Paul Lamb on 65 minutes gave the Greenbacks an unassailable 4-0 advantage, before the roundly humiliated Pics retrieved a consolation goal nine minutes from full time through Gary Fitzpatrick.

MATCH REPORT

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18 October 2008: OLYMPIC STRUGGLE TO FORCE A TROPHY REPLAY AGAINST BEDWORTH

Rushall Olympic face a tricky FA Trophy replay at Bedworth United on Tuesday evening as their six game winning streak came to a grinding halt at Dales Lane following a distinctly poor goalless First Round Qualifying tie.

The visitors were quickly into their stride against their mono paced hosts and as early as the sixth minute a fine save by Pics 'keeper Tony Breeden tipped an Adam Kinder header onto the crossbar.

Ten minutes later and the Bedworth forward then fired wide of the right post in acres of space after again being set up by Jermain Gordon.

On 35 minutes the lacklustre hosts responded as Nathan Lamey ballooned a header well over the target from barely ten yards out at the far post, while two minutes prior to the interval an excellent finish by Paul Szewczyk from the edge of the box almost gave Olympic the lead, but a marginal off-side decision muted the celebrations.

The second period was hardly an improvement, but with 20 minutes remaining a venomous 18 yard drive from Tristan Kabango had to be saved at the second attempt by the Rushall custodian, while on 79 minutes Kinder somehow headed wide of the right post when well placed.

The home side were equally guilty of profligate finishing in the closing stages as Grant Beckett contrived to lift the ball over a virtual open goal, while in the first minute of stoppage time excellent work by Lee Gough produced a deep centre that Lamey headed well over from close range.

MATCH REPORT

 

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14 October 2008: RUSHALL SET UP BAGGIES TIE WITH BIRMINGHAM SENIOR CUP WIN

Three second half goals saw Rushall Olympic eventually progress into the next phase of the Birmingham Senior Cup after being forced to come back from a goal behind against Midland Football Alliance outfit Coleshill Town at Dales Lane.

The Pics trailed at the interval as a result of Matt Robinson's clinical 37th minute finish into the bottom corner from just inside the box as the visitors attacking pace caused plenty of problems.

Following Rushall's lacklustre first period they finally livened up after the restart and were eventually back on level terms on 63 minutes as Gary Fitzpatrick neatly headed home Lee Gough's fine deep centre from the right flank.

Three minutes later and the game took on a very different complexion when Olympic surged in front, thanks to an accurate finish by Paul Szewczyk from the edge of the box.

With a couple of minutes remaining substitute Nathan Lamey wrapped up the tie with his 13th goal of the campaign as the front runner turned and fired into the bottom right corner from 18 yards past the flat footed Town stopper.

The Pics now go on to host West Bromwich Albion in Round 3 in what will be a repeat of last seasons Round 2 tie at Dales Lane.

MATCH REPORT

Gary Fitzpatrick

 

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11 October 2008: PICS RECLAIM TOP SPOT WITH HOME WIN AGAINST BOTTOM MARKERS

Rushall Olympic made extremely hard work of finally seeing off the determined challenge of a Brigg Town outfit, that certainly belied their lowly league standing, as the Pics returned to the top of the UniBond League First Division South table for the first time since early September.

Despite the Zebras bright opening, where Rushall found their stylish football occasionally too hot to handle, the home side took the lead on 23 minutes when a corner played into the near post by Richard Beale was deftly headed home from close range by Paul Szewczyk.

Olympic doubled their advantage in the 64th minute when Paul Szewczyk turned provider by pulling the ball back from the left by-line to striker partner Nathan Lamey who stroked home into the bottom right corner past flat footed custodian Chris Barnett from 12 yards.

The North Lincolnshire bottom markers pulled a goal back on 72 minutes from the 12 yard mark when one of Rushall's back line were adjudged to have handled the ball and referee Mr. Mayhew immediately awarded a spot kick that Jack Muldoon rifled home into the bottom right corner

With four minutes remaining any anxieties Olympic about a Brigg revival were wiped away as top scorer Nathan Lamey claimed his brace after beating the off side trap and slotting consummately home into the bottom corner from just inside the box.

The visitors were forced to play out the throws of an entertaining encounter with ten men when Jack Muldoon turned from the Zebras hero to villain after the front runner was dismissed for a crude challenge on Niki Preston who required lengthy treatment and eventually had to be replaced.

MATCH REPORT

Paul Szewczyk

 

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7 Octobber 2008: OLYMPIC BACK UP TO SECOND WITH HARD FOUGHT WIN

Another entertaining match between Rushall Olympic and Leek Town within the space of a week ended with the Pics taking all three points to inflict the first defeat of the UniBond League Northern Premier Football League First Division South campaign on their guests from the Staffordshire Moorlands.

On this occasion the Pics claimed another victory, this time by a 2-0 margin, thanks to goals from Niki Preston and Nathan Lamey in a second physical contest that saw plenty of bookings and the visitors playing out the final 18 minutes of the game with ten men.

Rushall enjoyed the perfect start when in only the second minute a perfectly weighted corner from Richard Beale ended with defender Niki Preston planting a firm header beyond the reach of the Leek stopper from 12 yards.

As the match progressed referee Mr. Radford continued to add names to his notebook and eventually the visitors contingent was reduced to ten men when midfielder Nick Ward was red carded for a reckless foul challenge on Niki Preston.

Olympic eventually made the extra man count, when on the verge of stoppage time Nathan Lamey took his tally for the season to ten goals with a clinical into the bottom corner from just inside the box.

MATCH REPORT

Niki Preston

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4 October 2008: RUSHALL FIGHT BACK TO DEFEAT OSSETT ALBION IN TROPHY

Rushall Olympic progressed deservedly into the next stage of the FA Trophy when top scorer Nathan Lamey claimed a decisive winner 12 minutes from full time after the Pics were forced to come back from a goal behind against UniBond Northern Premier Football League First Division North high flyers Ossett Albion at Dales Lane.

In a game dominated by a swirling cross field wind that made it a lottery for both sides, the Yorkshire visitors took the lead after just nine minutes when a wind assisted in swinging corner from the right by Kyle Cook appeared to take a bounce and find its way straight into the top left corner past the leaping Karl Johnson on the goal line.

Parity was restored in some style two minutes prior to the interval when Craig Marshall's centre from the left was headed back across the face of the penalty area by Lee Gough and Richard Beale lashed home a venomous first time volley from 15 yards that rocketed into the top right corner.

The introduction of substitute Paul Szewczyk ultimately turned the game in Rushall's favour when ten minutes following his introduction a spell of sustained pressure ended with the front runner laying the ball neatly off to strike partner Nathan Lamey who drilled home clinically into the bottom left corner from 15 yards out.

MATCH REPORT

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30 September 2008: PICS THROUGH TO NEXT ROUND OF CHALLENGE CUP

In a game played in attrocious conditions, Rushall Olympic progressed into Round 2 of the UniBond Northern Premier Football League Challenge Cup at the expense of First Division South rivals Leek Town at their Harrison Park Stadium.

The all important one and only goal of the tie arrived just before the hour mark when Pics top scorer Nathan Lamey cracked home his eighth strike of the campaign so far with a clinical finish from the edge of the box

MATCH REPORT

Nathan Lamey

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27 September 2008: RUSHALL STOP THE ROT WITH NARROW WIN AT STRUGGLERS

Rushall Olympic returned to winning ways following a six game barren spell, but they made hard work of beating lowly Goole AFC after coming back from being a goal behind to claim a narrow 2-1 victory thanks to a brace of second half penalties from Richard Beale.

The visitors got off to the worse possible start when Goole took the lead after just 45 seconds through debutant Brian O'Callaghan, who turned and fired home into the bottom right corner from just inside the box.

The turning point for the visitors came on 54 minutes when Paul Szewczyk's goal bound effort was handled by Craig Morley on the line. After the defender was dismissed, Richard Beale calmly stroked the resulting penalty conversion attempt into the right side of the net past the despairing dive of 'keeper Craig Parry.

Ten minutes later and as Nathan Lamey homed in on the Goole goal the strikers run was halted by Brian O'Callaghan to yield yet another spot kick that Richard Beale this time duly drove into the roof from the 12 yard mark.

The visitors should have extended their advantage in the latter stages of the game, but the Pics crucial task of getting their season back on track with a much needed victory was achieved without any further hindrance.

MATCH REPORT

Richard Beale

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23 September 2008: WINLESS RUN CONTINUES AFTER NOTHER FIRST HURDLE CUP EXIT

Dales Lane’s lowest attendance of the season so far witnessed Rushall Olympic fail to register a win for the sixth game running when just 69 hardy souls turned up for the Pics early departure from the UniBond League Presidents Cup at the hands of First Division South league rivals Belper Town.

The Derbyshire outfit netted twice in the space of eight minutes on the half hour mark with a deflected effort from Ben Walker that deceived ‘keeper Tony Breeden and a penalty conversion by Lee Stevenson that arrived after Rushall’s custodian had conceded the spot kick with a push.

Although Olympic pulled one back through Nathan Lamey three minutes prior to the interval with his seventh goal of the season, the home side failed to penetrate the Nailers defence during the second period – although they did have a viable penalty appeal waived away with just fifteen minutes remaining.

All in all September is fast becoming a month to forget for the Pics whose promising start to the campaign is now fading before their very eyes.

MATCH REPORT

Nathan Lamey

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20 September 2008: GENEROUS PICS GIFT A POINT TO BOTTOM MARKERS BRIGG

Slipshod Rushall Olympic threw away a comfortable 3-1 lead with eleven minutes remaining at bottom of the table Brigg Town as the home side fought back from the jaws of defeat to ultimately grab an injury time equaliser.

The visitors took the lead in the 27th minute when a break away saw Simon Hollis set up Nathan Lamey who fired his side into a crucial lead past the exposed home stopper Leigh Herrick. However, Rushall's brief lead didn't last long when straight from the restart Brigg restored parity after Nathan Would found himself with far too much time and space, who was able to pick his spot and fire home past Tony Breeden.

On 40 minutes Brigg 'keeper Herrick and his skipper Tom Spall conspired to gift Olympic the lead for a second time of asking when the former fumbled a simple take and as his colleague looked on Lamey nipped in between the pair to lift the ball over the head of Herrick into the back of the net from the edge of the box.

Three minutes later the Pics found themselves with a commanding 3-1 lead on their hands when Hollis was scythed down in the penalty area by the luckless Spall and the reliable Richard Beale converted consummately, sending 'keeper Herrick the wrong way.

The introduction of substitute Richard Day at the commencement of the second period appeared to be the turning point for the Zebras, when within ten minutes of his introduction he twice got behind the visitors defence, but fortunately on both occasions wayward finishing maintained Rushall's advantage.

Olympic received a major let off on 73 minutes when Brigg were awarded a penalty kick after Day had been bundled over Beale, but 'keeper Breeden was able to pull off an excellent save to deny the victim of the foul challenge. However, Lamey should have made the game safe for the Pics a minute later, but fired well wide after being set up by substitute Neil Grainger.

On 79 minutes the visitors found themselves defending only a single goal advantage when Day latched on to a centre from the left and fired home past 'keeper Breeden.

With the game in injury time lacklustre Rushall gifted their hosts a late equaliser when another cross from the left was this time headed home by the unmarked Mick Jacklin.

MATCH REPORT

Nathan Lamey

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16 September 2008: RUSHALL TWICE COME BACK FROM BEHIND TO CLAIM A DRAW

Rushall Olympic were twice forced to come back from behind a goal behind to force a two-all draw with Leicestershire opponents Loughborough Dynamo at Dales Lane.

The visitors took an early lead through Kris Nurse after just seven minutes, before the Pics restored parity twelve minutes later through Paul Szewczyk, only to see Dynamo's front runner grab his brace on 27 minutes.

Rushall had to wait until 16 minutes before full time to peg their guests back for the second time of asking when Neil Grainger claimed a point for the home side.

MATCH REPORT

Paul Szewczyk

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13 September 2008: GOAL SHY PICS PAY THE PRICE AT SPALDING UNITED

Rushall Olympic's third consecutive game without registering a goal saw the Pics begin to fall off the pace at the top of the UniBond Northern Premier Football League First Division South. The third placed Dales Lane outfit now find themselves two points adrift of the top two teams and currently within easy reach of all the sides in the top half of the table.

In a game that the visitors largely controlled, current strike pairing Nathan Lamey and Paul Szewczyk both struck the Spalding uprights during the second period as Rushall's luck in front of goal appeared to have totally deserted them in recent games.

As a goalless draw looked to be very much on the cards, with six minutes remaining the home side struck their guests with a mighty sucker punch when a fatal basic error by 'keeper Tony Breeden saw the stopper completely miss an attempted interception and Ricky Miller was presented with the simplest of opportunities to stroke the ball home into an empty net to make it a day of disappointment for the Rushall.

MATCH REPORT

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9 September 2008: GAME AT LEEK TOWN POSTPONED DUE TO WATER LOGGED PITCH

Tonight's scheduled UniBond Northern Premier Football League First Division South game at LEEK TOWN has been postponed due to a water logged Harrison Park pitch.

The date for the re-arranged game will be announced in due course.

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6 September 2008: STALEMATE BUT PICS GO BACK TOP OF THE LEAGUE

Despite managing only a drab goalless draw against a much improved Lincoln United outfit, who they hammered 4-1 in the reverse fixture just three weeks earlier, Rushall Olympic returned to the top of the UniBond League First Division South table by a point over fellow early season pacesetters Stocksbridge Park Steels, Shepshed Dynamo and Retford United.

The visitors threatened early on as skipper Brendan McDaid flashed a volley wide of the upright on two minutes and then Gary Walters just failed to make a connection at the far post from Gio Carchedi's flick on five minutes later.

On 15 minutes Paul Szewczyk wasted a good opportunity for the Dales Lane side after being presented with a one-on-one with 'keeper Mario Ziccardi who eventually smothered out the danger, while ten minutes later striker partner Nathan Lamey sent the ball rolling wide of the right post from the edge of the box with the United stopper at full stretch.

Lincoln found themselves down to ten men on 58 minutes when substitute Tom Mallinson was dismissed for elbowing Niki Preston in an off the ball incident upon entering the fray immediately after the interval.

With a winning goal looking increasingly unlikely from either side Richard Beale almost claimed all three points for the Pics out of nothing with four minutes remaining when the midfielders turn and drive from the edge of the box was well parried by the United custodian.

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3 September 2008: SPALDING GAME BROUGHT FORWARD DUE TO FA CUP EXIT

Following Rushall Olympic's premature ejection from the Football Association Challenge Cup competition at the Preliminary Round stage by lower league Long Eaton United, the Pics were left without a fixture on Saturday 13 September when the First Qualifying Round ties are scheduled to take place. Rather than being left with a blank Saturday at such an early stage in the campaign, the club have subsequently been able to bring forward their proposed UniBond League First Division South fixture at Spalding United that would have taken place on Saturday 28 February 2009. The move will hopefully prove beneficial for both parties as the second month of the year can prove to be somewhat unreliable in terms of the weather and resulting pitch conditions. Naturally, with the visit to the Tulips Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field ground being our second furthest of the campaign with over a 200 mile round trip on the cards, any potential midweek rearranged fixture required would not be the most pleasant of excursions. So the Pics grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

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30 August 2008: RUSHALL DUMPED OUT OF FA CUP BY LOWER LEAGUERS

Hitting the woodwork on three occasions during the second period could hardly disguise the mild embarrassment of Rushall Olympic being knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle by lower league opposition.

A decidedly poor contest was decided in Long Eaton United's favour on the hour mark when Adam Newton's deflected 20 yard drive almost proved costly for the visitors as it span perilously wide of the target for a corner. However, the warning was not heeded by the Pics and from the resulting flag kick unmarked Blues skipper Mick Alsop powered home a header from 12 yards at the far post.

Within two minutes of conceding the goal Nathan Lamey's snap shot cannoned off the United crossbar, while on 67 minutes the same player beat the home custodian all ends up with a drive from outside the box that on this occasion rebounded off the upright.

With thirteen minutes remaining substitute Olympic Paul Szewczyk forced a fine double save from 'keeper Ross Whalin and from the resulting corner Niki Preston smashed a volley on to the crossbar from the right corner of the box.

Try as they might the essentially misfiring visitors failed to breach the home goal and their luck was summed up with a minute to go when Lee Gough got behind the Blues back line but sent the ball wide of the top left corner with the target at his mercy.

MATCH REPORT

PHOTOGRAPHS

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25 August 2008: PICS GRATEFUL TO HOLD ON TO EARLY LEAD AT CARLTON TOWN

A quick-fire brace from striker Junior Brown in the first six minutes of Rushall Olympic's August Bank Holiday Monday UniBond Northern Premier Football League First Division South game at Carlton Town was enough to claim all three points in what was otherwise a narrow 2-1 victory in Nottinghamshire.

The front runner opened his account with barely four minutes of the watch after capitalising on a mistake by the home 'keeper and converting from close range. The second arrived just over 90 seconds later after breaking clear of the Miller's defence and slotting home from the edge of the box.

That was as good as it got for the Pics as the expected goals avalanche never materialised and instead the visitors were generally forced on to the back foot for a large proportion of the remainder of the contest.

Carlton had to wait until three minutes before full time to claim what was essentially a consolation goal, but Rushall managed to hang on to all three points and rise up into second place in the table behind leaders Stocksbridge Park Steels on goal difference.

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Junior Brown

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23 August 2008: OLYMPIC STRUGGLE TO A SHARE OF THE SPOILS

A bruising encounter sorely lacking in good quality football ended in a one-all draw as early season pace setters Rushall Olympic toiled long and hard to come back from behind against an uncompromising Belper Town outfit at Dales Lane.

The home side strangely struggled to get a foot hold in proceedings throughout most of the contest as both sides appeared content to resort to an extremely ugly route-one approach that clearly suited the visiting Nailers far more.

On 21 minutes Belper should have been down to ten men when Nathan Lamey ran clear on goal but was recklessly taken out by last man Richard Haigh, however referee Mr. Howes infuriated Rushall by merely cautioning the offender.

Town took the lead just after the half hour mark when Dave Haywood was adjudged to have hauled down his opponent on the left side of the Pics penalty area to yield a very dubious looking penalty award that Lee Stevenson clinically converted, sending 'keeper Tony Breeden the wrong way.

During the second period there was hardly an improvement in elegance, but as Olympic finally began to come back into proceedings on 74 minutes Junior Brown's run into the right side of Belper's box was ended by stopper Paul Pettinger's clumsy challenge and Richard Beale consummately converted the resulting penalty kick into the top right corner to claim a point for the Pics that at one time looked beyond them.

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Richard Beale

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19 August 2008: RUSHALL CAPITLISE ON KEEPER ERRORS TO CLAIM SUCCESSIVE WINS

Two goals in the space of just three minutes during the opening nine minutes of the contest from Nathan Lamey and Lee Gough set Rushall Olympic well and truly on their way to success at Dales Lane, before a second half fight back by Gresley Rovers almost proved to be the Pics undoing. However, a spectacular late strike from midfielder Richard Beale eased the home side's nerves as they hung on to claim another valuable three points.

Rushall's opening goal arrived after just six minutes when Nathan Lamey forced Gresley 'keeper Dave Clarke into a miscued clearance that rebounded off the front runner and into the back of the net.

Three minutes later Rovers found themselves two goals down when their custodian could only parry Nathan Lamey's venomous 25 yard strike and the loose ball fell nicely into the path of Lee Gough who made no mistake from the edge of the box.

A second half fight back from the visitors made life extremely difficult for their hosts as the deficit was eventually reduced eight minutes after the restart when David Blenkinsopp had time and space to fire home from within the box.

From that moment onwards the writing appeared to be very much on the wall for the home side, but with stoppage time about to commence Richard Beale ultimately struck gold for Olympic with a stunning third goal from 25 yards out.

MATCH REPORT

Lee Gough

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16 August 2008: NATHAN LAMEY ON FIRE AS PICS OPEN WITH EMPHATIC WIN AT LINCOLN

A stunning hat-trick from striker Nathan Lamey set up an excellent UniBond Northern Premier League First Division South debut for Rushall Olympic as the Pics returned to the West Midlands with a superb 4-1 victory under their belts against former Premier Division outfit Lincoln United with high hopes of a quick return.

Rushall began the game in perfect fashion on 18 minutes when a long clearance sent Nathan Lamey racing clear of the Lincoln back three who expertly lobbed the ball over the advancing 'keeper from just outside the box.

Lincoln responded on 31 minutes as Niki Preston was booked for a foul 25 yards out and Gary Walters curled the free kick onto the right hand post before Junior Brown scrambled the danger clear.

A darting run into the right side of the box by Nathan Lamey on 42 minutes ended with a clumsy challenge by Kallum Smith to yield a penalty that Richard Beale drove clinically into the right side of goal sending Mario Ziccardi the wrong way.

Lincoln pulled one back on 73 minutes when the visitors defence failed to clear their lines and a looped ball to the far post was ruthlessly slammed home by striker Gio Carchedi. However, Nathan Lamey responded straight from the restart by racing clear of the home defence and clinically slotting the ball into the bottom left corner.

Rushall's hit man claimed his hat-trick by driving a superb 28-yard free kick into the top left corner in the second minute of injury time to wrap up a fabulous start for the Pics.

MATCH REPORT

Nathan Lamey

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10 August 2008: FAMILY, FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES OUT IN FORCE FOR LEE WILLIAMS

Rushall Olympic's Dales Lane ground was the venue for an excellent contest between a Lee Williams Select XI and a Midlands All Star XI that eventually saw the star team run out narrow winners by six goals to five.

The day proved to be a tremendous success for Lee and his young family as a whole host of his footballing friends, and colleagues both past and present turned out to pay tribute to the Pics assistant manager.

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Lee Williams

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9 August 2008: PICS COMPLETE PREPARATIONS WITH COMFORTABLE WIN

Rushall Olympic wrapped up their 2008-09 campaign preparations with a comfortable 2-0 victory against neighbours and former league rivals Sutton Coldfield Town at Dales Lane.

Both of the Pics goals arrived during the second period, with their opener coming on 59 minutes when Craig Marshall's 15 yard drive rebounded off the crossbar and Niki Preston reacted first to drill the ball home through a crowded goalmouth.

Rushall doubled their advantage on 85 minutes when substitute Todd Perry headed firmly home at the far post from close range.

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Todd Perry

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9 August 2008: DALES LANE READY TO HOST LEE WILLIAMS BENEFIT GAME

Rushall Olympic Football Club are preparing themselves to play host to the LEE WILLIAMS BENEFIT GAME tomorrow at 2.00 pm when a multitude of former playing colleagues and ex-Midland football stars have all agreed to turn out at Dales Lane in a game arranged in honour of the Pics assistant manager. The two squads look likely to consist of the following players:

Lee Williams XI: Darren ACTON (GK), Julian ALSOP, Nick AMOS, Chris BANKS, Chris BRINDLEY, John BROUGH, Richard BROWN, Larry CHAMBERS, Matt CLARKE, Mark CLIFTON, Mark COOPER, Jon FORD, Neil HOWARTH, Steve POPE, Matt SIDAWAY (GK), Rob SMITH, Morton TITTERTON, Mark YATES. Joint Managers: Nigel PITT & Roger LUCAS

Midland All-Star XI: Kevin ASHLEY, Lee BARROW, Nigel CLOUGH, Paul DEVLIN, Keith DOWNING, John FRAIN, Matt ELLIOTT, Dean EDWARDS, Mark GAYLE (GK), Lee GLOVER, Mick HALSALL, Mick HOLMES, David KELLY, Chris KEOGH, Martin O'CONNOR, Craig SHAKESPEARE, Stuart WATKISS. Manager: John ALLEN.

Anyone wishing to attend the game is also more than welcome to turn up on the day and pay at the gate. Tickets for the game are available now from club officials at Dales Lane and are priced at £5.00, while juniors under 12 years of age will be admitted free of charge when accompanied by a paying adult.

Thank you very much in anticipation of your support.

Lee Williams

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5 August 2008: RUSHALL LEAVE IT LATE TO SEE OFF NEAR NEIGHBOURS VILLA

Three goals in the final quarter of an hour were more than enough for Rushall Olympic to eventually overcome a determined Pelsall Villa outfit keen to gain the prized scalp of their higher league neighbours.

The Pics went behind as early as the 15th minute, but in what has become a consistent feature of their pre-season campaign thus far, following a series of second half substitutions they underwent a dramatic transformation.

Rushall equalised when good work by Karl Johnson and Craig Marshall set up defender Niki Preston who crashed the ball home for a ruthless finish.

The visitors forged ahead when former Walsall youth teamer Andrew Bentley curled a beauty in from just outside the box.

Olympic increased their advantage in the closing stages when a good move presented Craig Marshall with the opportunity and the front runner made no mistake with an excellent finish to clinch the Vic Dolphin Trophy.

 

Niki Preston

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2 August 2008: PICS SECURE COMFORTABLE WIN AT ALLIANCE NEIGHBOURS BOLDMERE

Rushall Olympic claimed a commendable 3-1 victory over Midland Football Alliance neighbours Boldmere St Michaels at their Church Road ground, with all four of the encounters goals arriving in the second period.

Junior Brown opened the Pics account three minutes after the restart, capitalising on good work by Jamie Silver by rifling home from close range.

Ten minutes later Rushall doubled their advantage when Nathan Lamey clinically converted from the edge of the box after receiving a fine pass from strike partner Junior Brown.

Boldmere pulled a goal back on 77 minutes following an error by 'keeper Tony Breeden that presented an open goal that was easily breached from the edge of the penalty area. However, the visitors regained their two-goal advantage within two minutes when Junior Brown was hauled down in the box and Paul Szewczyk confidently sent the Mikes stopper the wrong way from the resulting spot kick.

MATCH REPORT

Junior Brown

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29 July 2008: RUSHALL GRAB NARROW WIN AGAINST LOCAL RIVALS

Rushall Olympic continued their pre-season campaign with a 1-0 victory against West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division newcomers Bloxwich United AFC in a rearranged game at Dales Lane.

The only goal of a closely fought contest arrived courtesy of a Craig Marshall header on 53 minutes as the front runner capitalised on excellent work down the right flank by substitute Jamie Silver.

MATCH REPORT

Craig Marshall

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26 July 2008: OLYMPIC GO DOWN TO SINGLE GOAL DEFEAT BY STAFFORD RANGERS

Rushall Olympic's fourth game of their summer campaign ended in a single goal defeat at the hands of Blue Square North outfit Stafford Rangers at Dales Lane.

Steve Bull's side capitalised upon an error by Pics 'keeper Tony Breeden on 27 minutes to clinch a narrow victory on a hot and sultry afternoon that was hardly conducive to a high tempo game. The goal arrived when Rushall's custodian ill advisedly came for and missed a high ball played in from the right flank and the unmarked David McNiven lurking on the far post had the simplest of tasks to tap home into an empty net.

The remainder of the game was equally affected by the energy sapping conditions as arguably neither side failed to create a single clear cut goal scoring opportunity between them.

MATCH REPORT

PHOTOGRAPHS

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26 July 2008: WORK EVENING ARRANGED FOR MONDAY 28 JULY

On the evening of MONDAY 28 JULY at 7.00 pm onwards, Rushall Olympic Football Club are organising a work evening at Dales Lane and therefore require as many people as possible to turn up to lend a hand to finish off some painting at the ground. Many thanks in anticipation of your assistance.

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25 July 2008: BLOXWICH UNITED AFC FRIENDLY VENUE MOVED

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Rushall Olympic's pre-season friendly against BLOXWICH UNITED AFC at their Red Lion ground scheduled for Tuesday 29 July 2008 will now take place at Dales Lane on the same evening, kick-off 7.30 pm.

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23 July 2008: BLUES COACH GIVES PUPILS A LESSON IN FINISHING

Rushall Olympic continued their pre-season preparations with an extremely solid single goal success against a young Birmingham City side at Dales Lane.

Hero of the hour for the Pics was none other that Blues very own academy coach and Football Education Officer Richard Beale - who gave some of his young footballing charges a lesson in finishing.

The only goal of an entertaining evening came with a quarter of an hour remaining when good work by substitute Craig Marshall set up last season's 16-goal top scorer who executed a fine finish by crashing the ball home into the roof of the net from 12 yards.

On the evening, Birmingham's most notable player on show was experienced French defender Frank Queudrue.

MATCH REPORT

Richard Beale

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19 July 2008: FIVE STAR RUSHALL HIT THE GOAL TRAIL AGAINST YOUNG WALSALL

Four goals in the final 22 minutes for Rushall Olympic sentenced a young Walsall XI to a comprehensive 5-0 defeat at Dales Lane as both sides continued their pre-season preparations.

The Pics grabbed a fourth minute lead with a Dave Haywood thunderbolt from the left side of the penalty area that flew past 'keeper Tom Cox. However the Saddlers recovered from their early set back to put the home side under some telling pressure during the remainder of the first half, but a combination of good goal keeping from Tony Breeden and poor finishing maintained Olympic's single goal advantage at the interval.

The pattern of the game changed dramatically just before the hour mark with the introduction of target man Paul Szewczyk for his first game since January and from that point forward Rushall rarely looked back.

On 68 minutes a defensive mix-up between Walsall's custodian and David Nicklas saw the trialist defender head the ball past his colleague and Nathan Lamey had the simple task to roll the ball into an empty net. Ten minutes later and substitute Richard Beale drove into the bottom left corner from the edge of the box, before Paul Szewczyk marked his return from injury with a cool finish from 12 yards in the 86th minute - and boy did he show what it meant to him.

Olympic's emphatic victory was wrapped up on the stroke of full time when Richard Beale's corner was flicked back across goal by Paul Szewczyk and defender Todd Perry made no mistake from close range with a powerful header.

MATCH REPORT

Paul Szewczyk

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18 July 2008: DALES LANE READY FOR ANNUAL FIXTURE WITH NEIGHBOURS WALSALL

Rushall Olympic Football Club are gearing themselves up in readiness for the annual pre-season fixture with Coca Cola League One neighbours Walsall at Dales Lane tomorrow afternoon.

The game has been very kindly sponsored by NINETY MINUTES FROM EUROPE - the ultimate fan-run Saddlers website.

Kiick-off is at 3.00 pm, with the Pics again offering entrance fees at the reduced rate of £4.00 for Adults and £2.00 for all Concessions (including juniors under 12 years of age). A 48-page match programme will also be on sale priced £1.50.

The Saddlers will apparently be arriving in Rushall with a squad consisting mainly of second year youth players, young professionals and trialists. As an added bonus top Barclays Premier League referee ALAN WILEY from Burntwood will be officiating the game.

For a preview of the game by NMFE, please CLICK HERE.

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16 July 2008: TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE FOR LEE WILLIAMS BENEFIT GAME

Just to remind everyone that on the afternoon of SUNDAY 10 AUGUST at 2.00 pm Rushall Olympic Football Club's Dales Lane ground will be the venue for a benefit game that has been arranged in honour of Pics new assistant manager LEE WILLIAMS and will feature a Midland All-Star Team who will be taking on a Select XI chosen by the former Aston Villa, Mansfield Town and Cheltenham Town midfielder.

Arrangements are still currently being made for the game, but already a whole host of names from West Midlands football have already agreed to play an active part on the day, including the likes of Keith Downing, Matt Elliott, Martin O'Connor, Gary Hackett, Jon Ford, Dean Edwards, Paul Devlin, Mark Yates, Neil Howarth, Chris Banks, Julian Alsop, John Brough, Lee Glover, Mark Gayle, Mark Cooper and Stuart Watkiss - while we are still awaiting a decision from several more former professionals and playing colleagues of Lee.

Tickets for the game are available now from club officials at Dales Lane and are priced at £5.00, while juniors under 12 years of age will be admitted free of charge when accompanied by a paying adult. Anyone wishing to attend the game is also more than welcome to turn up on the day and pay at the gate.

Thank you very much in anticipation of your support.

Lee Williams

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14 July 2008: RUSHALL KICK-OFF PRE-SEASON CAMPAIGN BY GOING FOR A BURTON

Rushall Olympic's summer scheduled commenced with a friendly against Blue Square Premier title hopefuls Burton Albion at Dales Lane as Nigel Clough's side ran out comfortable 4-1 victors on a night when the 90 minute run out was far more crucial that the result.

The Pic's found themselves just a goal down at the interval, but conceding three goals in a devastating ten minute spell just four minutes into the second period proved to be their ultimate undoing.

Following a flurry of substitutions, Rushall eventually pulled a consolation goal back seven minutes from full time when an error by veteran 'keeper Kevin Poole outside his area allowed Junior Brown to walk the ball into an unguarded net.

MATCH REPORT

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9 July 2008: DALES LANE ADMISSION CHARGES & SEASON TICKET DETAILS RELEASED

Rushall Olympic Football Club have announced that entrance fees for the forthcoming 2008-09 UniBond Northern Premier Football League First Division South season will remain the same rate as last term at £6.00 for Adults and £3.00 for Concessions. Meanwhile juniors under 12 years of age will continue to be admitted free of charge when accompanied by a paying adult.

Last year saw the first price rise in four seasons, but the Pics continue to be one of the cheapest grounds to gain entry in to at Step 4 of the non-League pyramid at a time when many other clubs have increased their charges to £7.00 or even £8.00.

This summer the Pics are also actively marketing season tickets, which offer supporters even better value for money. Season ticket prices are £95.00 for Adults and £47.50 for Concessions, which effectively equates to a saving of £1.00 for every league home game for Adults and £0.50 per game for concessions. It should be noted that season tickets are only valid for UniBond Northern Premier Football League First Division South matches at Dales Lane, of which there will be 19 during the 2008-09 campaign. Home cup ties do not come under the scope of season tickets due to gate receipts being shared.

Anyone wishing to purchase a season ticket should in the first instance contact PETER ATHERSMITH for further details at one of our forthcoming friendly games or alternatively call him on 07909 792 422.

The club has also announced that entrance fees for all pre-season friendly games at Dales Lane this summer will be at the reduced rate of £4.00 for Adults and £2.00 for all Concessions (including juniors under 12 years of age).

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7 July 2008: UNIBOND LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION SOUTH FIXTURES RELEASED

It was with great anticipation that Rushall Olympic Football Club looked forward to the release of the UniBond Northern Premier Football League fixtures for season 2008-09.

The Pics debut campaign in their new setting will begin on Saturday 16 August 2008 with the sixth furthest journey of the season to take on a LINCOLN UNITED outfit who were relegated from the Premier Division last term. Rushall then follow the opener up with two successive home games, receiving a midweek visit from old West Midlands (Regional) League rivals GRESLEY ROVERS on Tuesday 19 August 2008, followed by their Derbyshire neighbours BELPER TOWN on Saturday 23 August 2008. The opening month of the new season is then completed with a Bank Holiday journey to Nottinghamshire side CARLTON TOWN on Monday 25 August 2008.

The traditional Boxing Day and Easter Monday local derbies are as expected taken up with games against nearest neighbours WILLENHALL TOWN, with the home match taking place on Friday 26 December 2008 and the return leg on Monday 13 April 2009.

Overall it was excellent to see that the our new league fixture planners have shown a terrific amount of common sense in terms of the game list, particularly with the seven midweek journeys in the opening three months of the campaign taking place against opposition within a 50 mile radius of Rushall.

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3 July 2008: UNIBOND LEAGUE CUP DRAWS & LEAGUE FIXTURE NEWS

The UniBond Northern Premier Football League have announced that the fixtures for season 2008-09 are expected to be published on their Official UniBond League Website at 9:00 am on Monday 7th July 2008.

In the meantime the early round draws for two trophies within the 2008-09 UniBond Northern Premier Football League have been released today.

In the First Round of the CHALLENGE CUP competition Rushall Olympic have been drawn away to First Division South rivals LEEK TOWN, with the game scheduled to take place during week commencing Monday 29th September 2008.

Meanwhile, in the First Round of the PRESIDENT'S CUP competition Rushall Olympic have received a bye. In the Second Round of the competition Rushall Olympic have been drawn at home to First Division South rivals BELPER TOWN, with the game scheduled to take place during week commencing Monday 13th October 2008.

MORE

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1 July 2008: EARLY ROUND CUP DRAWS MADE BY FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

The early round draws for the 2008-09 Football Association Challenge Cup competition sponsored by E.ON were released from Soho Square today. The 128th FA Cup will have a record number of 762 entries; the previous highest was last season, in fact, when 731 clubs entered the competition.

In the Preliminary Round of the competition Rushall Olympic have been drawn away to to either ARNOLD TOWN or LONG EATON UNITED, who both compete in the Kool Sport Northern Counties East Football League Premier Division - who face each other in an Extra Preliminary Round tie on Saturday 16th August 2008. The subsequent Preliminary Round tie is scheduled to take place on Saturday 30th August 2008, kick-off 3.00 pm.

The winners of the Preliminary Round tie will be rewarded with an away tie against the eventual winners of the TIVIDALE or COLESHILL TOWN v HEATH HAYES or SHIFNAL TOWN tie, in the 1st Round Qualifying stage of the competition. This game is scheduled to take place on Saturday 13th September 2008, kick-off 3.00 pm.

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The early round draws for the 2008-09 Football Association Carlsberg Challenge Trophy competition were also released from Soho Square today. The FA Trophy is in its 40th Season and will have 236 entries, 5 more than last year. All the entries are drawn from the Football Conference, Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern League's.

In the Preliminary Round of the competition Rushall Olympic have been drawn at home to OSSETT ALBION of the UniBond League First Division North, with the tie scheduled to take place at Dales Lane on Saturday 4th October 2008, kick-off 3.00 pm.

The winners of the Preliminary Round tie will be rewarded with a home tie against BEDWORTH UNITED of the British Gas Business Football League Division One Midlands in the 1st Round Qualifying stage of the competition. This game is scheduled to take place on Saturday 18th October 2007, kick-off 3.00 pm.

MORE

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1 July 2008: INJURED STRIKER SET TO MAKE A WELCOME RETURN

Following quickly on the heels of the news that striker Nathan Lamey had agreed terms to link up with Rushall Olympic for the 2008-09 campaign, manager Paul Holleran also revealed to Nick Pullen of the Birmingham Mail that forgotten front runner PAUL SZEWCZYK was on the verge of a welcome return to action.

The Dales Lane boss believed that the injury-prone striker was ready to make his long awaited comeback after his stop-start career was blighted in recent times by knee trouble. Indeed, the popular forward made no less than three comeback attempts last season alone for the Pics, featuring in just 13 games, but still managing to register 4 goals.

Rushall's chief revealed: "Paul had knee surgery about three years ago which went wrong. He's never been right since. That's why his time at Halesowen Town and Bromsgrove Rovers was repeatedly interrupted by injury. He had further surgery last December to clean up the knee and they found some dangling cartilage, which they believe was causing the problem. He's had no reaction since and is up and running for pre-season training. If he comes through that unscathed he'll be ready to prove a few people wrong. He's still got plenty of time on his side.''

Paul Szewczyk

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30 June 2008: HOT SHOT NATHAN LAMEY CHECKS IN AT DALES LANE

Rushall Olympic manager Paul Holleran has pulled out all the stops to increase his front line striking options by clinching a deal to secure the services of 2006-07 Southern League Division One Midlands Golden Boot winner NATHAN LAMEY for the Pics UniBond League debut campaign.

A proven goal scrorer at all levels, the fleet footed Leeds born front runner began his career as a product of the Wolverhampton Wanderers youth team, prior to leaving Molineux at the end of the 1998-99 campaign and linking up with Cambridge United, featuring for the clubs's Youth, Reserve and First Team. Made six appearances for the U's between August 1999 and upon his release in January 2001 he lentered the non-League game after inking up with Hitchin Town. Summer 2001 saw him return to the Midlands, signing for Moor Green and during the next two seasons enjoyed a tremendously prolific spell by recording a ratio better than a goal every two games. His form soon alerted the attention of Hednesford Town and moved to Keys Park in August 2003, before eventually becoming Paul Holleran's first signing at Halesowen Town in March 2004. Summer 2004 saw him move on to Hinckley United, but following a brief unproductive spell in Leicestershire he returned to the Grove in November 2004 and quickly discovered his goal scoring form. Despite being top scorer he had his contract cancelled by the Yeltz and rejoined Hednesford Town in March 2006, but could not prevent the Pitmen being relegated from Conference North and left Keys Park to link up with Bromsgrove Rovers in July 2006. During season 2006-07 he claimed the Southern League Division One Midlands Golden Boot award by netting 31 league and league cup goals for the Worcestershire outfit as they secured promotion to the Southern League Premier Division via the play-off system. October 2007 saw him surprisingly released by Bromsgrove and eventually linked up with Chasetown, having loan spells with Shifnal Town soon after joining the Scholars and then Stratford Town in January 2008.

The Dales Lane chief revelaed to Nick Pullen of the Birmingham Mail: “Nathan had a disappointing second half of the season at Chasetown but he has always scored goals at whatever level he’s playing. He feels he lost his way a little bit with Chasetown but now he’s got his appetite back for the game and is already back in pre-season training.’’

Naturally we extend a very warm welcome to Nathan and hope that he enjoys a long and successful career at Dales Lane.

Nathan Lamey

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21 June 2008: WORKING PARTY DAY A GREAT SUCCESS

On behalf of Rushall Olympic Football Club I would like to issue a massive thank you to everyone who turned up today at Dales Lane to lend a hand, despite the poor weather conditions. Around 18 hardy soles braved the unseasonably damp conditions and as a result a number of primary tasks have now been either completed or almost finished. Without your help none of this could have been achieved.

If anyone is interested, we also hope to be repeating the exercise next week on SATURDAY 28 JUNE in order that the club can bottom out even more of their pre-season maintenance programme.

Hopefully the weather will be more kind to us this time.

Thank you in anticipation of your assistance once again.

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12 June 2008: RUSHALL MAKE FIRST MOVES IN THE SUMMER TRANSFER MARKET

Rushall Olympic manager Paul Holleran recently made his initial moves in the summer transfer market by snapping up experienced central defender TODD PERRY and highly rated teenage striker ALAN WILKES.

Todd arrives at Dales Lane from neighbours Chasetown, effectively as a ready made replacement for newly departed club captain RICHARD BROWN, who recently announced his decision to move to Shifnal Town after seven highly successful seasons with the club. The 25-year-old stopper and former Willenhall Town skipper transferred to the Scholars in December 2007 and previously had spells with clubs including Walsall, West Bromwich Albion, Kidderminster Harriers, Burton Albion, Gresley Rovers, Sutton Coldfield Town and Atherstone Town. A talented player who can weigh in with some vital goals, the vocal centre back can also adopt a more attacking role and has excellent distribution and positioning skills which will make him a crucial addition to the Rushall defensive line.

Meanwhile, highly rated Alan has returned to Dales Lane after being released by Coca Cola League One neighbours Walsall at the end of the 2007-08 campaign. The 18-year-old had previously joined the Pics back in late January 2008 on loan in order to gain more experience and was a regular member of the Saddler's Youth Team who ended last season as their top scorer and had also progressed impressively into the Reserve side at the Banks's Stadium. A local lad, he first came to prominence with Birchills United in the Wolverhampton Combination during season 2006-07 and his undoubted prowess in front of goal soon earned him a move to the Saddlers - helping them win the Midland Youth Cup against Shrewsbury Town in May 2007.

More crucially, the Pics boss has also successfully retained the vast majority of his squad who finished in fifth place in British Gas Business Football League Division One Midlands and were then pipped to a place in last season's Promotion Play-Off Final. The most notable retainees were 'keeper TONY BREEDEN and 16-goal top scorer RICHARD BEALE who were also known to be very strongly courted by some Southern League clubs, but both players displayed tremendous loyalty by turning down far more lucrative offers to remain at Dales Lane for the clubs UniBond Northern Premier Football League debut campaign.

With the club's pre-season training due to begin in earnest on Tuesday 1st July, Paul Holleran continues to keep his finger on the pulse of the summer transfer market and with other irons still in the fire Olympic's squad will undoubtedly be strengthened further still during the next few weeks.

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10 June 2008: DALES LANE TO HOST LEE WILLIAMS BENEFIT GAME

On the afternoon of SUNDAY 10 AUGUST Rushall Olympic Football Club's Dales Lane ground will be the venue for a benefit game being arranged in honour of Pics new assistant manager LEE WILLIAMS and will feature a Midland All-Star Team who will be taking on a Select XI chosen by the former Aston Villa, Mansfield Town and Cheltenham Town midfielder.

Arrangements are currently being made for the game and it is hoped that a whole host of legends from West Midlands football, including the likes of Craig Shakespeare, Don Goodman, Gary Hackett, Dave Busst and Martin O'Connor will be taking part, while it is hoped that former stars such as Steve Bull, Paul Merson and Stan Collymore may even be persuaded to attend on the day.

Just after signing for Rushall back in November last year 34-year-old Lee, who also represented England at Youth level, sustained a horrific eye injury prior to the Christmas period that not only forced him to curtail his football career, but also severely affected his work due to him being self employed. However, kind hearted manager Paul Holleran has taken the step to help out his new No.2 by forming a benefit committee and arranging what should be a high profile game that will also involve a number of Lee's former team mates. All Premiership and Football League clubs have also been approached in a bid to acquire some items that can either by raffled or auctioned off to raise significantly more funds on the day.

More details regarding the game will be released by the club in due course.

Lee Williams

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9 June 2008: STALWART CLUB CAPTAIN CALLS TIME ON DALES LANE CAREER

It's certainly the end of an era at Dales Lane after club officials recently revealed that long serving club captain RICHARD BROWN has opted to take a step down in his level of football and turn out for Shropshire outfit Shifnal Town in the Midland Football Alliance during season 2008-09.

With Richard being based in Shrewsbury, the travelling expected of him at Step 4 of the non-League pyramid for both training and playing with Olympic had become increasingly difficult to achieve, coupled with his work commitments and most importantly having a growing young family to devote his time to. Moving to Shifnal Town, who are managed by former Rushall team mate Darren Goodall, will certainly solve many of the issues with Phoenix Park only being around half an hour away from his home. Meanwhile, with a number of ex-Olympians likely to be in the Shifnal squad for the forthcoming campaign, it should also make Richard's transition to his new club all the more easier.

After working with Richard for the past 15 months Pics manager Paul Holleran was full of nothing but praise for his club captain and reflected: "Richard has been a true professional and will be very hard to replace. We fully understand his reasons for leaving with the travelling from his Shrewsbury home and with having a young family. We wish him all the very best of luck."

However, it may not be the last time we see Richard in a Rushall shirt as the Dales Lane boss also revealed that the stalwart defender will be signing UniBond forms for Olympic and may well be called upon to turn out for the Pics when required during forthcoming season.

It has to be said that Richard has been a tremendous ambassador for the club and on behalf of everyone involved at Rushall Olympic I would like to wish him all the very best of luck in the next phase of his long and distinguished career. Hopefully it will be au revoir rather than goodbye, but he and his marvellous family will always be more than welcome at Dales Lane.

THE RICHARD BROWN DALES LANE RECORD
SEASON
APPEARANCES
GOALS
2001-02
50 (2)
8
2002-03
47 (2)
5
2003-04
55 (4)
4
2004-05
49 (2)
5
2005-06
54 (2)
2
2006-07
52(1)
3
2007-08
45(1)
0
TOTAL
352 (14)
27
SEASONHONOURS
2001-02:Midland Football Alliance League Cup WINNERS & Players Player of the Year
2002-03:Midland Football Alliance RUNNERS-UP
2003-04:Midland Football Alliance League Cup FINALISTS & Supporter's Player of the Year
2004-05: Midland Football Alliance CHAMPIONS & Players Player of the Year
2005-06: Staffordshire Senior Cup WINNERS & Supporter's Player of the Year
2006-07:Staffordshire Senior Cup FINALISTS

 

RICHARD BROWN

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1 June 2008: GROUND WORKING PARTY DAY ORGANISED

On SATURDAY 21 JUNE Rushall Olympic Football Club are looking to organise a work day at Dales Lane and therefore require as many people as possible to turn up to lend a hand doing anything from painting to general tidying up of the ground. Several of the Pics players are leading by example and have already kindly agreed to provide their services for the day, but we still need quite a few more helping hands to come along and join in. Further details, such as the start time will be posted nearer the date. Many thanks in anticipation of your assistance.

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22 May 2008: RUSHALL'S PRE-SEASON CAMPAIGN TAKES SHAPE

Rushall Olympic have released details of their pre-season campaign for summer 2008, although a few fixtures dates have yet to be fully confirmed by the club.

The Pics begin their warm-up schedule on Monday 14 July with a very attractive home tie against Nigel Clough's Blue Square Premier Play-Off Semi-Finalists Burton Albion . On the following Saturday Olympic then entertain a Walsall XI at Dales Lane in a game that will be officiated by top Premier League referee Alan Wiley.

Wednesday 23 July sees the visit of a Birmingham City XI, while on the following Saturday Rushall welcome back former assistant manager Chris Brindley to Dales Lane with his new team Stafford Rangers of the Blue Square North, who are managed by Wolves legend Steve Bull.

On Saturday 2 August Olympic will be on their travels with a visit to Midland Football Alliance outfit Boldmere St Michaels, who last season won the Walsall Senior Cup.

Mon. 14 July 2008: Rushall Olympic v. BURTON ALBION (7.30pm) - Referee. Mr. P. Hobday

Sat. 19 July 2008: Rushall Olympic v. WALSALL XI (3.00pm) - Referee. Mr. A. Wiley

Wed. 23 July 2008: Rushall Olympic v. BIRMINGHAM CITY XI (7.30pm) - Referee. Mr. S. Martin

Sat. 26 July 2008: Rushall Olympic v. STAFFORD RANGERS (3.00pm) - Referee. Mr. S. Bratt

Sat. 2 August 2008: BOLDMERE ST MICHAELS v. Rushall Olympic (3.00pm)

Tue 5 August 2008: PELSALL VILLA v. Rushall Olympic (7.30 pm)

Sat 9 August 2008: Rushall Olympic v. SUTTON COLDFIELD TOWN (3.00 pm)

Sat 16 August 2008: Season 2008-09 commences

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21 May 2008: OLYMPIC ALL SET TO APPEAL OVER ENFORCED MOVE

Shell-shocked Rushall Olympic have decided to appeal to the Football Association and may even consider legal redress after being forcibly shunted into the UniBond League by the Southern League.

Speaking to Colin Stoner of the Birmingham Post, Pics chairman John Allen admitted the recent meeting of the Football Association Leagues Committee to decide on the allocation of clubs for Steps 1 to 4 of the National League System that resulted in the transfer the club from the British Gas Business League Division One Midlands to the northern-based UniBond League Division One South "beggared belief".

He estimated the enforced switch would cost the Dales Lane club at least £20,000 in extra travelling and reduced revenue through smaller gates, while he feared the Pics could also lose sponsorship as a result.

The chairman was also furious that Chasetown Chief Executive Mick Joiner is understood to have been part of the panel which decided to move Rushall and Willenhall Town to the UniBond League - even though geographically, Chasetown is further north than both clubs.

John Allen said: "We have spoken to Duncan Bayley, the UniBond Chief Executive, and he says the criteria on moving clubs is geographical, i.e. the most northerly club should move and that most definitely is Chasetown. I can understand the Southern League don't want to lose Chasetown after their high-profile FA Cup run this season. But the fact that Mick Joiner was on the four-man committee that apparently nominated us really stinks."

Olympic's chairman also added: "The FA have stated on numerous occasions that no club will be moved unless they want to. We are happy in the Southern League. We've just had our best-ever season and after the euphoria of reaching the play-offs and our players presentation evening we've now had a major slap in the face. We will appeal to the FA and we are going to take legal advice. We will speak to the rest of the Southern League teams to see what their take is on the people that run the Southern League and whether they are the right people for the job."

Rushall had absolutely no inkling that their place was even under discussion and John Allen claimed: "The first we heard was when we had a four-line email saying 'thank you for a very good season and now you're in the UniBond'. That's the only contact we had. There's been no discussion whatsoever."

John Allen

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15 May 2008: PICS SHUNTED ACROSS THE PYRAMID SYSTEM IN SHOCK MOVE

In an incredible turn of events, the Football Association Leagues Committee met on Wednesday 14th May 2008 to decide on the allocation of clubs for Steps 1 to 4 of the National League System campaign - which resulted in Rushall Olympic and Willenhall Town both being moved across the non-League pyramid into the UniBond League First Division South from the British Gas Business Football League Division One Midlands.

Although the situation has not yet been fully confirmed and may be subject to further change, the overall result was that the Pics now miss out on local derbies against Chasetown (6 miles away) and both Romulus and Sutton Coldfield Town (8 miles away), not to mention other Midlands derbies against the likes of Atherstone Town, Bedworth United, Bromsgrove Rovers, Leamington, Malvern Town and Stourport Swifts.

The move of both Rushall and Willenhall was all the more curious in view of the fact that the neighbours are actually geographically further south and to the west of Chasetown, who remain in the Southern League.

Regardless, the proposed divisional line-up for Olympic's new adventure in the UniBond League will be as follows: Belper Town, Brigg Town, Carlton Town, Glapwell, Goole, Grantham Town, Gresley Rovers, Kidsgrove Athletic, Leek Town, Lincoln United, Loughborough Dynamo, Quorn, Retford United, Rushall Olympic, Sheffield, Shepshed Dynamo, Spalding United, Stamford, Stocksbridge PS, Willenhall Town.

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12 May 2008: LEE WILLIAMS RETURNS AS PICS NEW ASSISTANT MANAGER

Rushall Olympic manager Paul Holleran has wasted little time in announcing his new right hand man following the departure of previous encumbent Chris Brindley to Blue Square North newcomers Stafford Rangers.

The Pics boss has opted to appoint former Aston Villa, Peterborough United and Cheltenham Town midfielder LEE WILLIAMS as the new player-assistant manager at Dales Lane.

The tremendously experienced campaigner originally transferred to Rushall in November 2007, but after just one game Lee sustained an awful eye injury and was forced to curtail his brief career with the Pics. However, it is hoped that he will be able to make a full return to action in due course.

Capable of playing in a number of positions across midfield, the 34-year-old began his career by coming through the ranks at Aston Villa and also represented England at Youth level in 1990 against France at Wembley Stadium. November 1992 saw him join Shrewsbury Town on loan for a short spell, before eventually leaving Villa Park for Peterborough United in March 1994, remaining at London Road until the end of season 1995-96, having made almost a century of appearances. Summer 1996 resulted in a move to the Republic of Ireland where he linked up with League of Ireland outfit Shamrock Rovers, prior to returning to the UK and having a one month trial with Tranmere Rovers from the end of February 1997. After leaving Prenton Park he eventually linked up with Mansfield Town in March 1997, where he remained until December 2001, having made over 170 appearances for the Stags. Upon being given a free transfer he signed for Cheltenham Town, where he had spent the previous three months on loan. Whilst at Whaddon Road he made over 50 appearances and was part of the team who won promotion to League Division Two during season 2001-02 by defeating Rushden & Diamonds at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. After being released at the end of the following campaign, summer 2003 saw him join Telford United on a free transfer, having made well in excess of 300 professional appearances. During April 2004 he had a one month loan spell with Bromsgrove Rovers, before eventually leaving the Shropshire outfit during summer 2004 and linking up with Hednesford Town, where he was part of the side who won promotion to the Conference North. Upon being released by the Pitmen during March 2006 he saw out the remainder of the campaign with Stourport Swifts, prior to transferring to Halesowen Town during summer 2006.

Naturally we offer Lee an extremely warm welcome back to the club and hope that he and Paul enjoy the success they deserve.

Lee Williams

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Site updated July 18, 2009