Mid-season slump proves costly

PUBLISHED: 13:53 08 June 2006 | UPDATED: 13:30 04 May 2010

SATURDAY FOOTBALL REVIEW By STEVE GREEN KERSHAW LEAGUE SENIOR DIVISION B Ely Crusaders P30 Home W9 D5 L1 F39 A20 (3rd of 16) Away W9 D0 L6 F46 A38 Pts 59 FOR a long time it looked as if Crusaders would be able to match their trail-blazing Ci

SATURDAY FOOTBALL REVIEW By STEVE GREEN

KERSHAW LEAGUE SENIOR DIVISION B

Ely Crusaders P30 Home W9 D5 L1 F39 A20

(3rd of 16) Away W9 D0 L6 F46 A38 Pts 59

FOR a long time it looked as if Crusaders would be able to match their trail-blazing City rivals blow-for-blow in the Senior B promotion race.

But a mid-season slump saw them drop 19 points in 12 games to fall off the pace.

It is all hypothetical of course, but adding just 14 points to their final tally would have given Crusaders 73 points - enough to take the championship ahead of Ely City Reserves (72) and Fulbourn Institute Reserves (70).

That damaging sequence of results began with three home draws - poor stalemates against West Row Gunners Reserves (1-1) and Milton (0-0) followed by a 2-2 draw with the eventual champions.

They subsequently crashed 4-1 at home to Comberton United - their only home reverse of the campaign - before dropping more crucial points against teams that eventually finished in the bottom half of the table.

Crusaders shared the points with Haddenham Rovers (ninth) and Swavesey Institute (13th), and lost by the odd goal at Milton (10th) and Castle Camps (11th) - not the stuff of champions.

Injuries contributed to their temporary loss of form, and it is to the team's credit that they picked up again towards the end to secure a top-three finish.

Playing Lee Moll as a striker was instrumental in that late-season burst of seven victories and just two defeats - a run which included a 2-0 victory over Fulbourn that secured the title for City - and few would bet against Crusaders going one better next time around.

Haddenham Rovers P30 Home W6 D3 L6 F23 A24

(9th of 16) Away W5 D4 L6 F31 A23 Pts40

Newly-promoted Haddenham struggled at the start, recovered for a while, and then found life difficult in the middle of the season before finishing with a flourish to end up in ninth spot - a very respectable achievement for a team with relatively few resources to call upon.

After taking just four points from a possible 15 in their first five games, Rovers won four out of five to put themselves in the top half of the Senior B table.

They maintained that improvement by completing the double over Swavesey Institute and winning 3-1 at Soham United, only to watch their form unravel following the 2-2 draw at home to Sawston United Reserves on 10 December.

Eventual champions Ely City Reserves beat them 3-1 the following week, and a string of poor results followed, with Haddenham taking only three points out of 27.

They eventually stopped the rot with a 1-0 home win against Milton, and ended their programme with a five-match unbeaten run which included a 1-1 draw at Fulbourn Institute Reserves.

However, Haddenham's best performance of the season came in the First Round of the Cambs Challenge Cup, when they were edged out by the odd goal in five at Cottenham United - the team that eventually finished third in the Premier Division.

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