Chirpy Robins do just enough to stay on top

PUBLISHED: 13:00 27 April 2006 | UPDATED: 13:23 04 May 2010

VINE CUT DOWN: Grant Spencer’s goal was not enough to stop The Vine going down to a 3-1 defeat at Brampton Reserves.
Photo: HELEN DRAKE

VINE CUT DOWN: Grant Spencer's goal was not enough to stop The Vine going down to a 3-1 defeat at Brampton Reserves. Photo: HELEN DRAKE

SATURDAY FOOTBALL KERSHAW SENIOR DIVISION B Ely City Reserves took just a couple of points from their two away fixtures in the last week, but those results were enough to give them a distinct advantage over Fulbourn Institute Res-erves in the Senior B t

SATURDAY FOOTBALL

KERSHAW SENIOR DIVISION B

Ely City Reserves took just a couple of points from their two away fixtures in the last week, but those results were enough to give them a distinct advantage over Fulbourn Institute Res-erves in the Senior B title race.

City began with an all-important midweek fixture against their championship rivals, and although the match was entertaining - with both teams hitting the woodwork on two occasions - it eventually finished goalless.

That kept the Robins on top of the table by virtue of goal difference alone, and their trip to Cherry Hinton on Saturday became a 'must-win' affair.

It was the 'Cherries' who took the lead with a first half header however, and with 15 minutes remaining the visitors were still trailing by that solitary goal.

A quickly-taken free-kick caused confusion in the Cherry Hinton box however, and when the ball broke to the far post Dave Cornwell was on hand to stab it into the net from close range.

The match finished 1-1, and according to City correspondent Dale Spring the outcome was thought to be a catastrophe at the time. "We thought we had blown it," he said afterwards. "There were a few tired legs out there on Saturday."

News soon reached the City camp though, that Fulbourn had crashed 3-1 at home to Comberton United, leaving them a point adrift at this crucial stage of the season.

At the other end of the table, Soham United's slim mathematical hopes of avoiding the drop finally evaporated in the wake of a 0-0 draw at home to fellow strugglers Sawston United Reserves.

Haddenham Rovers - promoted alongside Soham last season, and who themselves only recently secured their Senior B status for another season - survived intense early pressure at Great Chesterford before eventually running out 5-0 winners.

Kenny Holmes broke the deadlock against the run of play after 13 minutes, and he then added a second breakaway goal to put the visitors in control.

Chesterford had a 'goal' disallowed for handball just before the interval, and when Holmes was brought down on the edge of the penalty area at the start of the second half his free-kick was headed home by Geoff Buck to make the points safe.

Buck was subsequently injured and may miss the rest of the season, but there was otherwise no way of stopping Rovers as John Lee - nodding home an Aaron Collins corner - and Tom Moden completed the rout.

Ely Crusaders - almost certain to finish in third spot behind Ely City Reserves and Fulbourn - beat Cherry Hinton 2-0 in midweek with a brace from Lee Moll, but on Saturday they went down by the odd goal in five at West Row Gunners.

Matt Brodie's third minute opener was cancelled out five minutes later, and Crusaders found themselves 3-1 down at the interval after some debatable refereeing decisions.

Defender James Brown pulled a goal back when he headed home a corner with 10 minutes remaining, but his side were unable to retrieve the deficit and lost 3-2.

PREMIER DIVISION

Littleport Town's hopes of a top three finish are over following a 4-0 mauling away to newly-crowned champions Sawston United.

"To be honest I set it up wrong," said 'Port boss Dave Cullum afterwards with regard to his team formation. "I wouldn't argue with the result," he added, "but I felt that the scoreline flattered them."

'Port improved after going three goals down inside the first 20 minutes, but their first half cause was not helped by a Sean Ambrose own goal.

Despite clinching the title by virtue of this result, Sawston embarrassingly had their manager red-carded by the referee as the match reached it's conclusion.

'Port had beaten Histon A in midweek by virtue of a first half goal from Richie Murfitt, the young striker finishing off a right wing cross from Kevin Hills to decide a rather scrappy affair.

The visitors - who have now lost Paul Starling and Hills with ligament injuries - should have won more decisively than 1-0, but Nigel Smith's second half penalty kick was brilliantly saved by the Histon goalkeeper.

Fordham meanwhile continued their useful run with a 3-1 defeat of Great Paxton.

Jamie Palmer fired the ball home with the outside of his boot after being set up by Mark Blair and Daren Pryke in the 20th minute, and Dan Langley beat the offside trap from Blair's pass to make it 2-1 on the stroke of half-time.

Paxton missed a great chance to level the scores again with a close range header, and they were made to pay soon afterwards as Palmer set up Pryke for a low shot into the corner to make the points safe.

SENIOR DIVISION A

Soham Town Rangers Reserves have slipped to fourth spot in the table following Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Girton United.

DIVISION 1B

Littleport Town Reserves finally hauled themselves off the bottom of the table with a midweek 3-0 defeat of fellow strugglers Gransden Chequers.

Carl Ryan, Ben Layn and substitute James Kent were the players on target in this win, but on Saturday 'Port could only manage a goal from substitute Ross Wilding as they suffered a 2-1 home defeat against St Ives Rangers.

DIVISION 2B

Isleham United lost 1-0 at Bluntisham Rangers Reserves in midweek, but they gave themselves hope of avoiding the drop by coming from behind to edge out Lode by a 2-1 scoreline on Saturday.

The visitors had chances to build on their early lead, but failed to do so and were pegged back in the 75th minute by Isleham substitute Jamie Gould.

A draw was not enough for United however, and with time running out Thomas Sheldrick headed in to snatch all three points.

Isleham now require at least a point from their final match at Sutton United to have any chance of survival, but Milton Reserves can pip them by winning their last

Ely City A came from behind to beat Stretham Hotspurs 2-1 in midweek with goals from Lee Abbs - a 25-yard scorcher - and Danny Mitchell, who was again on target in Saturday's win at St Ives Town Reserves.

He was joined on the scoresheet by Joe Barham and Neil McKnight as City ran out comfortable 3-1 winners.

Stretham meanwhile lost again - this time by 6-1 at Huntingdon United RGE.

DIVISION 3B

Witchford '96 looked to be slipping out of the 3B promotion race after a string of defeats, but three successive wins have put them right back in the frame.

Fordham Reserves' Ian Butterworth was sent off as Aaron Spencer's goal provided Witchford with a 1-0 victory on the Tuesday, and two days later Spencer helped himself to two more as Dullingham were dispatched 9-0.

Colin Coulson led the rout with a hat-trick, and other goals for the home side went to Michael Ward (2) and Ben Barnwell (2).

On Saturday Witchford travelled to Hemingfords United A, where Coulson set the ball rolling with a 10th minute penalty.

Coulson, Ward and Ross Spencer all finished with two goals apiece, and there was another one for Aaron Spencer too as Witchford racked up a

7-0 victory.

Fordham Reserves recovered from their midweek exertions to beat Dullingham 5-2 away from home with goals from Ollie Foreman (2), Matt Axton (2) and Grant Pearson, but The Vine and Little Downham Swifts both went down on their travels.

The Vine lost 3-1 at Brampton Reserves despite a goal from Grant Spencer, and Downham lost by the odd goal in five at Cottenham United A.

The Vine had fared rather better in the week however, failing by a whisker to end the unbeaten record of runaway leaders Newmarket White Lion.

Visiting Newmarket - who led after just three minutes - subsequently found themselves behind on three occasions as Dan Cowley (2) and Spencer led a 'Jez' Cutter-inspired comeback, but in the final minute they salvaged a 3-3 draw.

DIVISION 4B

Sutton United Reserves secured their best result of the season on Saturday, winning by the odd goal in seven against already-crowned champions Wisbech St Mary Reserves.

The runaway leaders were stopped in their tracks as Richard Martin (2), Sean Bristow and Will Ludbrooke established a 4-0 interval lead for the visitors, and although Sutton visibly tired and contributed two own goals to Wisbech's cause in the second half, they still ran out deserving 4-3 winners.

Matt Johannsson was Mepal Sports' consolation goalscorer in the midweek 2-1 defeat at Milton A, but his second goal of the week helped Mepal come from behind to win 4-1 at Exning Athletic.

Darren Murfitt and Craig Williamson were also on target, and midfielder Adam Cross concluded the scoring with a fine solo effort from midfield.

Wicken Amateurs lost 3-0 at Swavesey Institute Reserves and Burwell Swifts crashed 5-1 at home to Willingham Reserves, but Ely Crusaders Reserves and Haddenham Rovers Reserves both drew 1-1 at home.

Crusaders shared the spoils with St Ives Town A courtesy of a goal from in-form Ian Starling, and Haddenham did likewise in their encounter with Milton A.

DIVISION 5B

Littleport Town A scored three times against highly-ranked March Rangers on Saturday, but still managed to lose 5-3.

The Vine Reserves drew 0-0 at home to Cottenham United B, but Little Downham Swifts Reserves (for the visit of Burwell Swifts Reserves) and Isleham United Reserves (for the trip to Outwell Swifts Reserves) were both unable to raise a side.

SUNDAY FOOTBALL

AFC Witchford finished third in Division 4A after a crushing 10-1 defeat of bottom club Wicken Maids Head.

Michael Ward - the Sunday League's leading marksman - missed a penalty kick before eventually helping himself to a hat-trick, and he was joined on the scoresheet by Matt Monteith (3), Mark Heading (2), Jonathan Chase and Richard Scarrow.

Heading in fact accompanied Ward and Monteith on the hat-trick roll of honour, but the referee somehow managed to chalk off one of his goals from Witchford's eleven.

In the final of the Millennium Cup at Soham's Julius Martin Lane, Ely Park Rangers Reserves did not have to be at their best to secure a 3-1 victory at the expense of Shelford Falcons Reserves.

Andrew Lee scored at the far post after Andrew Francis had directed a header across the face of goal, and Martin Blakeley lifted a shot just under the bar after latching on to another assist from Francis.

Shelford replied on the stroke of half-time as Ely failed to clear their lines, but Blakeley secured the match with a well-placed shot into the corner of the net midway through the second half.

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