It’s bleak Saturday for cup semi-final hopefuls
THREE teams in the area contested cup semi-finals on Saturday – and all were beaten by the odd goal. In the Creake Charity Shield Littleport Town Reserves faced St Ives Reserves, and despite taking the lead they finally succumbed in extra-time. Richard Ke
THREE teams in the area contested cup semi-finals on Saturday - and all were beaten by the odd goal.
In the Creake Charity Shield Littleport Town Reserves faced St Ives Reserves, and despite taking the lead they finally succumbed in extra-time.
Richard Kent's goal put the home side in front, but St Ives looked the better side throughout and deservedly secured extra-time when Port's goalkeeper Andy Smart dropped the ball in front of a visiting striker.
Teenager Jim South played well for Port's second string, but his side were eventually beaten 2-1 in extra-time.
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In the John Ablett Cup, Witchford 96 and Fordham Reserves both went down away from home.
Ollie Foreman squirted a second half penalty wide of the target as his side trailed in by the only goal of the game at Whittlesford United Reserves, and Witchford were beaten by the odd goal in seven at Withersfield despite leading on three occasions.
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Littleport Town manager Dave Cullum described it as "a funny old game" as his side shared the spoils with Cambridge University Press on Saturday.
Press - who flooded the penalty area with players at every opportunity - deservedly took the lead in the opening half, but Port levelled when Nigel Smith scored from the spot to make it 1-1.
The visitors had been rather lucky, because Press had a spot-kick of their own in the opening 45 minutes, but the first successful attempt was ruled out, and goalkeeper Mark Brown managed to save the follow-up.
"I suppose you could say that we were a bit fortunate really," said Cullum afterwards, "but I've no complaints about the result! We looked really tired this week."
In the same section Fordham moved further clear of the relegation zone by scoring the only goal of the game at Linton Granta.
"It was a scrappy game to be honest," Fordham secretary John Pryke admitted afterwards, but his side secured all three points in the fourth minute of time added on.
Daren Pryke's pass split the Linton defence, and Jamie Palmer raced clear to score the only goal of the game.
Goalkeeper Simon Martin made two tremendous saves to keep the Fordham goal intact, but it was otherwise "simply a lot of endeavour" according to Pryke.
SENIOR DIVISION A
Soham Town Rangers Reserves finally saw their hopes of top-flight football extinguished with a 2-1 defeat at Wickhambrook.
SENIOR DIVISION B
Soham United now look certain to make an immediate return to 1B football as they lost 4-0 to title-chasing Fulbourn Institute Reserves, while their closest relegation rivals - JM Sports - won for the second week in a row.
Fulbourn's victory keeps them two points clear at the top of the Senior B table, just ahead of Ely City Reserves, who scored four times in the second half to claim all three points at Sawston United Reserves.
Lee Follen's fine save kept the game goalless at the midway stage, and City finally broke the deadlock when a cross-cum-shot from Andy Chatters dropped into the back of Sawston's net.
Simon Warren doubled Ely's advantage five minutes later with a fine header from Chatters' cross, and they went 3-0 up when Andrew Lee bundled the ball home following Liam Hart's blocked penalty kick.
Hart wrapped things up in the closing stages with City's fourth goal of the afternoon.
Haddenham Rovers lost 2-0 at home to West Row Gunners, but they appear to have sufficient points in hand to remain clear of the bottom four sides and will be safe.
Ely Crusaders conceded a spectacular fifth minute goal at Castle Camps as they contrived to lose 1-0.
The visitors created only two decent chances themselves in a tame affair, and Crusaders correspondent Vaughan Moll was singularly unimpressed.
"I don't think either side deserved to win to be honest," he said afterwards.
Goalkeeper Danny Arter made a string of fine saves as Ely City A earned a share of the spoils in a goalless encounter with high-flying Needingworth United Reserves.
Soham United Reserves continued their poor run with a 4-1 defeat at Huntingdon United RGE Reserves.
Pymoor FC saw their faint promotion hopes evaporate as they suffered a 5-3 home defeat at the hands of leaders Wisbech St Mary Reserves.
It was a well-contested affair and Wisbech soon established a two-goal lead.
But goals from Tom Higgs and 'Jez' Breedon got the hosts back on terms before half-time.
The visitors grabbed two more goals after the break however, and although Greg Saberton briefly reduced the deficit to a single goal his side conceded another one before the final whistle.
Improving Sutton United Reserves have now dropped the same number of points as Pymoor, following their latest 4-1 victory at the expense of Milton A.
The match was refereed superbly by young John Major, and goals from Richard Martin (2) and Lee Read saw the hosts go in at half-time with a 3-1 advantage.
Milton refused to buckle after the break, but Martin managed to complete his hat-trick with the only goal of the second period.
Ely Crusaders Reserves never looked like scoring as they plunged to a 5-0 defeat at home to Burwell Swifts.
Lee Hobbs outfought a Crusaders defender to half-volley the only goal of the opening 45 minutes, and Burwell dominated matters after the interval.
Ollie Williams saw his shot deflected in by an Ely defender after Tom Thatcher had sprung the offside trap, and Thatcher prodded home goal number three after Lol Maskell had followed up a blocked effort from Williams.
Thatcher then contributed the best goal of the match by chesting the ball down and volleying home from 35 yards, and Gary Jenkins wrapped things up with a fine left-foot shot from the edge of the box after collecting a throw-in from Steve Elmore.
An outstanding defensive performance by Mike Edwards enabled Swifts to keep a rare clean sheet - their first in 10 matches.
Wicken Amateurs showed improved form to share the spoils in their home clash with Swavesey Insitute Reserves, but they remain bottom of the table and are still well adrift of safety.
Leigh Williams drilled a shot into the corner after good work by Jamie Clay to make it 1-1 after 26 minutes, and Tom Claydon rounded the keeper to salvage a 2-2 draw.
Josh Woodroffe hit the post from an acute angle in the second half, and the match could have gone either way in the end.
Mepal Sports secured an unlikely point at St Ives Town A, drawing 1-1.
Stuart Freeland helped himself to a hat-trick as Isleham United Reserves' youngsters put Coldham United to the sword.
Substitute David Binns scored twice after his introduction, and other goals went to David Holmes, Mark Chinery and full back Shaun Downey in a 8-1 win.
Little Downham Swifts Reserves beat The Vine Reserves 2-1, but there were defeats for Littleport Town A, 3-0 at Cottenham United A, and Burwell Swifts Reserves, 3-1 losers at home to March Rangers.
Burwell began well and took the lead midway through the first half when Carl Saxby side-footed home from Glenn Carman's flick-on, but the visitors got back on level terms before the break and ran out comfortable winners in the second period.
Ely Park Rangers' Division 1A promotion hopes were blown out of the water by a shock 4-3 reverse at the hands of visiting Phoenix.
A win would have made them favourites for the title after Fen Ditton's dropped two points at home.
But goals from Richie Murfitt, Rob Parker and Matt Brodie, penalty, failed to paper over the cracks of a dismal display.
In Division 2A Ely Park Rangers Reserves remain on course for the title after Jamie Gayfer's hat-trick saw off Alma 3-0.
But in the same section QPR Ely crashed 4-0 at home to Cambridge Magpies.
In Division 4A AFC Witchford avenged an early season defeat at Girton Eagles Reserves by scoring the only goal of the game in the return clash.
The visitors squandered several first half opportunities, but Witchford otherwise defended well with Stephen Murfitt and Mark Heading particularly outstanding.
The decisive goal came on the hour mark, with Matt Monteith's wind-assisted effort proving too good for the goalkeeper.
West End House lost 3-0 at Manor Park Rangers in the same section, while in the Senior Division reigning champions Triple-S were toppled 2-0 at Newmarket Albion.