Own Goal Misery Sees RAF Exit Cup Competition At First Hurdle

The RAF's first ever foray into the Birmingham Senior Cup has ended in defeat, after an own goal saw the side lose 1-0 against Boldmere St...

The RAF's first ever foray into the Birmingham Senior Cup has ended in defeat, after an own goal saw the side lose 1-0 against Boldmere St. Michaels.

Created in 1876, the tournament is the oldest county cup competition that's still active, with the likes of Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham and Coventry City taking part this year.

The larger clubs use the cup to give youth or fringe players valuable minutes on the field, playing at real stadiums and against professional opposition. You can watch full highlights of the RAF's tie below...

RAF team manager Sergeant Kev Barry said: "It's always disappointing when you lost a game of football - and especially in the manner that we lost the game.

"You could probably argue it was a 0-0 game.

"We probably edged the chances, we probably edged the possession stats. But an own goal's killed us on the day and everybody's in the changing rooms really disappointed, as you'd expect."

Fired up for the first round tie at Sutton Coldfield's Trevor Brown Memorial Ground, the light blues had the best of the first 20 minutes.

Dave Webb beat home goalkeeper Reiss Wagstaff with an early chance but great defending from Harry Craven spared Boldmere's blushes.

There were then opportunities at both ends, with the men in white applying pressure with a number of corners.

The deadlock was broken in open play, though, with Boldmere going 1-0 up after 30 minutes.

A lapse in communication led to an own goal, after Nicky Dodd fired a long ball forward, before Danny Dixon headed it down and James McGowan put it beyond reach of his own keeper Mike Carr.

RAF v Boldmere St. Michaels, Birmingham Senior Cup 2017

And the 'Mikes' continued to pepper the goal as half-time approached.

That momentum carried on after the break, with plenty of shots being fired across goal but nobody connecting.

The closest they came, however, was a clattering off the left post about 20 minutes from time.

The RAF, for their part, rallied after the goal and kept their opposition at bay for the most part, with great reactions needed from Wagstaff to prevent the equaliser.

But the frustration from the Air Force was clear, with Ben Greenwood shown a yellow card for repeated infringements.

RAF v Boldmere St. Michaels, Birmingham Senior Cup 2017

There was, however, time for a couple more near-misses before the final whistle.

All in all, it was a relatively evenly-matched game, with all agreeing that the RAF had been an excellent addition to the tournament.

Sergeant Barry had made it his mission to get his side involved, with the airmen always on the lookout for more competition and experience. He said:

"[We're] trying to prep the players properly throughout the year to make them a competitive level for the [upcoming games against] Army [and] Navy."

He added that the team's management wanted to test the players against teams outside of the forces:

"We need to look at the players and see what level... they are in the civilian world of football, so we can turn around and say 'we think he should be playing here'."

"They [the players] are definitely good enough to play in Boldmere's league, that's for sure - and some of them beyond that."

Sergeant Barry says he won't give up and that he'll persevere with entering a team again next year.

First though, it's time to prepare for the inter-services, which take place early next year.

More - 'Impressive': Honour In Defeat For Army Women After South Africa Clash