Heading for top division
SATURDAY FOOTBALL SENIOR DIVISION A ELY City Reserves saw their lead at the top of the table cut to a single point after they were held away from home by Fulbourn Institute, but the result virtually guarantees them promotion to the top flight. They didn
SENIOR DIVISION A
ELY City Reserves saw their lead at the top of the table cut to a single point after they were held away from home by Fulbourn Institute, but the result virtually guarantees them promotion to the top flight.
"They didn't make it easy for us," said co-manager Dale Spring in the wake of his side's 1-1 draw, adding: "but we had the majority of possession and they scored from virtually their only shot of the game."
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That effort, with 20 minutes remaining, cancelled out Gareth Arter's first-half goal, and although City went close to increasing their advantage - hitting the woodwork twice - they were unable to secure the points.
Soham Town Rangers Reserves can still catch Ely in theory, but even if their local rivals contrived to lose their remaining games goal difference would almost certainly prove decisive.
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Rangers kept their faint hopes alive by winning at Foxton, with leading scorer Alex Irvine finding the net twice in a 3-1 victory.
LITTLEPORT Town look destined to finish no higher than fourth in the table after losing 2-1 at home to close rivals Over Sports on Saturday.
Striker Nigel Smith fired a 25-yard shot into the bottom corner to give 'Port hope, but most of his team-mates had an off-day.
Replacement goalkeeper Andy Smart also performed well, and he produced a fabulous penalty save to prevent his side from going further behind.
In midweek they had beaten Cottenham United 2-1 away from home with goals from Will Ludbrooke and Andrew Francis.
A Mark Leonard own goal gave Cottenham a lifeline with four minutes remaining, but Littleport remained in control - unlike the home manager who was red-carded for venting his frustration at the referee.
Fordham gained revenge for last week's 3-1 home defeat by winning 2-0 in the return fixture at Newmarket Town Reserves.
They had several opportunities to break the deadlock, but finally did so in the 52nd minute when John Sands fired a stunning drive into the top corner.
Newmarket's recovery attempt with 10 minutes remaining ended when Daren Pryke made the points safe in the 80th minute with an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net.
SENIOR DIVISION B
SOHAM United still have their heads clear of the relegation waters, but only just.
They drew 2-2 at Castle Camps to reach 26 points, but four sides in the danger zone are now separated by just a single point and time is running out.
LITTLEPORT Town Reserves are virtually assured of promotion to the Kershaw League after recording successive 5-1 victories last week.
They won at St Ives Rangers in midweek with goals from Cavan Bennett (2), Nathan Bennett, Luke Hammett and Jordan Lenham, and on Saturday the second-half goals were shared between Nathan Bennett, Luke Butcher, Clive Lee, Paul Starling and Lenham again as Tuddenham Rovers were put to the sword.
SUTTON United looked destined for a top-two finish just a week ago, but three defeats in a row have condemned them to the scrap-heap.
A 1-0 home defeat by Longstanton was followed by a 3-1 home defeat by Ely City A, and they then compounded their misery by losing 2-1 at Newmarket White Lion.
To make matters worse it was a brace of own goals from Craig Faux that outscored Russell Mansfield at Newmarket.
Colin Coulson had been on target in the clash with Ely, but his effort was mere consolation after Steve Pollard, Stuart Seekings and Matt Brodie had put the visitors in control.
City are still in the promotion hunt themselves, following up their Sutton success with a 5-1 victory over Milton Reserves.
Pollard and Brodie were both on the scoresheet again, and they were joined by Jamie Gayfer, Rob Parker and Ant Brumby.
Witchford '96 commendably drew 3-3 with Wisbech St Mary, and there was a 2-2 draw for Isleham United in their home clash with Lode.
Stretham Hotspurs meanwhile completed a disappointing programme by losing 5-2 at Over Sports Reserves.
PYMOOR FC suffered a shock 3-2 defeat at St Ives Town A, but still look nailed on to clinch the championship.
Stephen Ball (3) and Sean Butcher had seen off Cottenham United A
4-2 in midweek, but Ball's double, which temporarily got Pymoor back on level terms, was not enough to salvage a point at St Ives.
Greg Saberton had a penalty chance to put Pymoor ahead at one stage, but his effort was superbly saved.
Full-back Shane Woodcock helped himself to two goals as Fordham Reserves won comfortably at Little Downham Swifts.
He was joined on the scoresheet by Harry O'Connor in Fordham's 3-1 win, and Downham conceded three more goals - this time without scoring themselves - as they crashed again at home to The Vine on Saturday.
Fordham were also in action, with Ian Butterworth's goal earning them a 1-1 draw in the home clash with Huntingdon United RGE Reserves.
BURWELL Swifts had three players sent off - one after the final whistle - as they were held to a promotion-damaging 0-0 draw at home to Exning United.
Their best chance fell to Lol Maskell, but his penalty kick was saved by the Exning goalkeeper and it remained goalless.
Haddenham Rovers Reserves meanwhile claimed their 10th win in succession, this time at home to Earith United.
An own goal set them on the road to victory, and Jamie Thompson grabbed the second in a 2-0 Rovers win.
Sutton United Reserves, who are looking for a new manager (the club's AGM is on May 8 at 8pm) went down by the only goal of the game at Wisbech St Mary A, but in midweek they had managed to edge out Willingham Reserves.
Lee Read and Duncan Turner put them 2-1 up at the break, and Vinny Freeland's cracking drive turned out to be the 3-2 winner.
Ely Crusaders overcame West Row Gunners Reserves 2-1, and Mepal Sports took four points out of a possible six to keep their championship pot on the boil.
Darren Murfitt and Chris Silvain saw Mepal come from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw at Milton A, but on Saturday they found the going much easier as they saw off Barton Mills Reserves.
Barry Silvain opened the scoring with a near-post header, and Matt Johannesen cut in from the left before unleashing a terrific left foot drive for Mepal's second.
Johannesen then latched on to Guy Habbin's 75th-minute pass to clinch a 3-0 victory.
MARK Finbow snatched a last-minute goal as The Vine Reserves beat Wicken Amateurs by the odd goal in seven.
Pierce Mason and Justin Challis scored for The Vine in the opening half-an-hour, but a 25-yard shot from Wicken's Josh Woodroffe reduced the deficit before the break.
Gavin Morgan looked to have clinched the points for The Vine with 15 minutes remaining, but Dane Turner pulled one back from close range and then nodded in the equaliser with 10 minutes remaining.
Finbow's great effort made it 4-3 to the visitors, but Turner then missed a great chance to complete his hat-trick when only six yards from goal.
The Vine Reserves crashed 3-0 at Cottenham United B, but Wicken returned to winning ways at the expense of Dataracks Elite.
Jamie Palmer broke the deadlock after 58 minutes following Jamie Kirk's break from defence, and Graham Hickmott made it 2-0 with a goal-line header from Craig Rogerson's in-swinging corner.
Littleport Town A lost 2-1 at Outwell Swifts Reserves and then 3-2 at Lode Reserves after scoring through Ben Bullman and substitute Andy Blackman, and Little Downham Swifts Reserves also lost twice - 3-2 at home to Longstanton Reserves and 8-0 at home to March Rangers.
Burwell Swifts Reserves goalkeeper Ryan King saved one of two penalties in his side's match at Outwell Swifts Reserves, but his side went down 5-1 despite a spectacular strike from Mark Taylor. In midweek they had seen off Lode Reserves 4-2, coming from behind twice to win with goals from Dave Fordham, Ollie Williams (2) and John Irvine.