And Should Be Taken With A Pinch Of Salt In a week that saw the first two of the five Cup competitions decided, the battle for the Division Two title was settled and that all important promotion place from Division One will go down to the final Saturday. SATURDAY 26th APRIL 2014 – FRIDAY 2nd MAY
With all the ups and downs decided, the penultimate week of the Premier Division season had little to play for except pride. The Saturday fixtures saw champions Hanwell Town presented with the trophy before their home game with AFC Dunstable, and with 131 in attendance the title winners started off the party celebrations with a 4-1 win. However the day’s biggest crowd was to be seen at Hertford Town where 307 attended yet another successful ‘fan’s day’ however visitors Leverstock Green had not read the script and put a damper on the result with a last gasp goal to run out 2-1 winners. The day’s biggest winners were Cockfosters who shrugged off any ill effects from their 14th game in 27 days with an emphatic 11-1 drubbing over the luckless relegation bound London Lions. Elsewhere St Margaretsbury maintained their hopes of a fourth place finish with a 2-1 win at London Tigers whilst both London Colney and Hadley recorded away wins at Stotfold and Oxhey Jets respectively. For Biggleswade United, Hoddesdon Town, Harefield United and Tring Athletic it was honours even as both games finished 2-2.
The midweek action began with Hadley and Cockfosters battling out a 2-2 draw on the Monday. 24 hours later saw St Margaretsbury holding champions Hanwell Town to a 2-2 draw along with wins for Tring Athletic, Hoddesdon Town and London Tigers whilst Wednesday evening brought about Hadley and Cockfosters enjoying wins, Hadley defeating relegated Hatfield Town 2-0 whilst Cockfosters overcame Colney Heath by the odd goal in three.
There were jubilant scenes at Sun Postal Sports on Saturday where the hosts clinched the Division One title with a fine 3-0 success over Baldock Town whilst Kings Langley maintained their challenge for the other promotion place with an excellent 4-0 win at Codicote. Speaking of 4-0 wins, both Harpenden Town and Chesham United Reserves recorded wins of the same score-line over Southall and Kentish Town respectively whilst it was a solitary goal from Tony Fields that earned Winslow United a win over Crawley Green. Elsewhere on Saturday it was all square between Amersham Town and FC Broxbourne Borough (1-1) and Arlesey Town Reserves and Risborough Rangers (3-3).
Tuesday night’s championship party at Sun Postal Sports fell a little flat after receiving the trophy, visitors Bedford thumping their hosts 4-1 to ensure the battle for the runners-up spot went down to the wire on the last Saturday. A few miles down the road Kings Langley recorded a second successive 4-0 win this time over visiting Amersham Town. Crawley Green kept up their hopes of a top four finish as they recorded a 2-0 win at Buckingham Athletic whilst there were also wins for Codicote, FC Broxbourne Borough, Baldock Town and Winslow United. Thursday night’s action saw relegation threatened Arlesey Town Reserves gain a valuable point with a 0-0 draw against an under strength Kings Langley side, a scoreline that was matched in the Southall and Risborough Rangers game. The night’s other action saw Crawley Green maintain their hopes of finishing fourth with an emphatic 7-0 success over Amersham Town.
The champagne corks were popping at Woverton Town on Saturday as Hale Leys United gained the win they required to assure themselves of the Division Two title, the action being summed up by the SSML’s roving reporter Bob Flight as follows: Wolverton hosted league leaders Hale Leys at The New Park and the visitors ran out comfortable winners to secure the Division Two Championship. On a bright but windy day, Wolverton struck first when Mark Toms headed in a corner kick on just 12 minutes to put the home team ahead. But the lead did not last long as Daniel Parson equalised on 17 minutes when he rounded Tony O’Neill in the home goal to score. Indeed, O’Neill was kept busy as he thwarted the visitors with several fine saves. However, he was beaten by a shot from Mark Tattam on 28 minutes. United had a lucky escape when a mistake by keeper Ashley Jenkins gifted the ball to a Wolverton forward but he could not take advantage and the chance was missed. The third United goal came just before half time when Unas Ilyas converted a cross following a corner on 42 minutes. The second half saw United dominate and they scored from a penalty kick on 67 minutes when substitute Jack Bowers scored from the spot. United wrapped up the game on 81 minutes when Parson scored his second on 81 minutes when he ran through the home defence to score in the far corner of the net. There was just time for Jenkins in the United goal to pull off a great save from Dale Collins to deny Wolverton another goal. Not a great game of football but Wolverton battled throughout, Hale Leys deserved their victory and Val’s homemade fruit cake made it all worthwhile. The battle for second place saw Kent Athletic regain the spot following a 2-1 home win over Aston Clinton whilst Mursley United suffered a 1-3 defeat at the hands of Old Bradwell United which left Kent on 52 points and Mursley on 49 points with each having four games left. At the other end of the table that unwanted wooden spoon took another twist as Willen put some daylight between them and Brimsdown with a fine 2-1 win over The 61FC (Luton) whilst Brimsdown were being held 2-2 at home to Tring Corinthians.
Tuesday night’s action saw Mursley United close to within two points of second placed Kent Athletic following a 2-2 draw at Pitstone & Ivinghoe. Twenty four hours later champions Hale Leys United were beaten 2-3 at the SSML’s most picturesque ground, The 61FC (Luton). Thursday night saw the battle for second place take another twist as Mursley United regained second place with a thumping 6-1 success against their closest challengers Kent Athletic.
Saturday saw the destiny of the Reserve Division Two title settled as Crawley Green Reserves secured the silverware with a goalless draw at home to closest rivals Sun Postal Sports Reserves. On Wednesday night the Reserve Division One title was settled as St Margaretsbury Reserves crowned an excellent season to defeat Kings Langley Reserves on their travels by 2-0 and thus piping long time leaders Hoddesdon Town Reserves to the title by one point.
DUDLY LATHAM MEMORIAL (Premier Division) CUP
Saturday saw Ampthill Town book their place in the Final when their trip to Holmer Green resulted in a 5-2 semi-final win, Ampthill enjoying the best of starts with three goals in the opening thirty minutes. Four days later Ampthill Town met Berkhamsted in the Final at Tring Athletic’s Grass Roots Stadium with a crowd of 15 in attendance. Tyrone Taylor put Ampthill Town ahead after 12 minutes when he lashed home from close range, the goal being the only score in a first half that had Ampthill Town in control. It was a different story after the break as Berkhamsted came more into the game and Josh Chamberlain levelled matters in the 56th minute. Further pressure from Berkhamsted saw them have a goal disallowed before both sides were reduced to ten men shortly before the full time whistle, Michael Lyon and Steve Hawes both seeing red after a skirmish. Extra time saw Ampthill Town back in charge and Phil Draycott edged them back in front however it was quickly cancelled out by Connor Calcutt shortly before the referee’s whistle brought an end to the action. So the lottery of a penalty shoot-out was to determine the destiny of the trophy and with both sides missing one of their allotted five it was sudden death and having scored the opening penalty Ampthill Town’s goalkeeper Martin Conway capped a memorable evening by producing another fine save and win the cup for his side 5-4 on penalties.
A late Dave O’Dell goal earned Buckingham Athletic a place in the Final of the Buckingham Charity Cup at the expense of local rivals Buckingham Town on Saturday, the late goal earning his side a 1-1 draw in the second leg and thus securing his side’s progress 4-3 on aggregate. Thursday night saw Stotfold book their third cup final appearance of the season when they defeated Oxhey Jets 4-2 to set up a date with Cockfosters in the Final of the South Midlands Floodlit Cup. On Friday evening Kent Athletic Reserves lifted the Reserve Challenge Trophy for the second time in three years with a 3-1 win against last season’s beaten finalists Hoddesdon Town Reserves.
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