On-form Town get taste of three-dom
SATURDAY FOOTBALL by STEVE GREEN PREMIER DIVISION Littleport Town improved their chances of a top-three finish by winning successive matches last week against Over Sports and Eaton Socon. The midweek clash with Over was a dress-rehearsal for the Premier L
by STEVE GREEN
Littleport Town improved their chances of a top-three finish by winning successive matches last week against Over Sports and Eaton Socon.
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The midweek clash with Over was a dress-rehearsal for the Premier League Cup Final, and Port ran out impressive 2-0 winners.
"I'm not saying that means we're going to win the final," said Town manager Dave Cullum, "but it certainly helps you go into the match with more confidence."
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After a goalless opening period Nigel Smith managed to break the deadlock with a close-range finish, and in the closing stages Rob Foreman lifted his shot over the advancing goalkeeper after exchanging passes with Smith.
Littleport did not need to be at their best to win 3-1 at Eaton Socon on Saturday where, according to Cullum, his side might easily have rattled up a double-figure score.
As it was, three superb first-half goals from Jack Jordan, Nigel Smith and Dave Beeton were enough to see off a relatively poor Eaton Socon outfit.
Jordan broke from halfway to open the scoring, and Smith's side-foot volley finished off a brilliant passing move to double the advantage before Beeton nodded home Richie Murfitt's pinpoint free-kick.
Fordham were also in Premier League action on Saturday, overcoming Newmarket Town Reserves.
Both teams hit a post early on, but when Ben Howe did so for the hosts he was injured in a collision with the visiting goalkeeper and had to be substituted.
The first half ended goalless but when Fordham finally broke the ice it could hardly have been more spectacular.
Andre Novak collected a Matt Almond pass on the left wing, and his superb cross was rattled home by Daren Pryke's instinctive 25-yard half-volley to make it 1-0.
Dan Langley added a second goal from the penalty spot after Almond had been hauled down by the goalkeeper, but Newmarket pulled one back and then enjoyed their best spell of the match.
Fordham retained the initiative and eventually secured the points with another Langley penalty.
Novak's excellent cross was handled by a Town defender, and Langley put his effort into the opposite corner this time to make the final score 3-1.
SENIOR DIVISION B
ELY City Reserves maintained their goal difference lead at the top of the Senior B table by edging out Willingham with two goals in the last 15 minutes.
Andrew Francis put them ahead in the first half when his attempted left-wing cross crept under the goalkeeper's body at the near post, but the visitors levelled 10 minutes before the break and then stubbornly refused to buckle as City camped in their half throughout the second period.
Steve Pollard eventually broke through by chipping home after a quickly-taken David Cornwell free-kick, and as Willingham pushed forward Jamie Gayfer latched on to a long clearance from goalkeeper Lee Follen to make it 3-1.
Haddenham Rovers had leading scorer Kenny Holmes in goal as they recorded a comfortable 4-0 win at Milton that virtually guarantees them survival from relegation.
Robbie Keen nodded in the only goal of the first half after Rob Dewsbury and Ally Gilbert had combined to create the chance, and Keen struck again as the second period got under way.
Tom Moden added a third goal for the visitors and John Lee headed home a late free-kick to complete the rout.
Lee and Gary Goodjohn were outstanding at the back for Rovers, while two-goal Keen and Geoff Buck gave impressive performances in midfield.
Soham United's patched-up team retained the faintest mathematical hope of staying up by virtue of their 3-2 win against Castle Camps.
Andy Parker cancelled out Soham's early deficit by converting Ali Mohammed's cross, but full-back Jamie Randall - an impressive call-up from the Reserves - made his only error of the afternoon to gift Camps a second goal before half-time.
Lee Heading again redressed the balance for Soham, and with 15 minutes remaining Mohammed grabbed the winner.
Ely Crusaders were also successful on Saturday, winning 5-1 at the expense of relegated Great Chesterford.
Lee Moll opened the scoring after just five minutes, and further goals from Jim Brown (2), Brett Fuller and Matt Brodie secured an easy victory.
Littleport Town Reserves' dream of escaping the drop can still become a reality after yet another narrow league success, this time 2-1 at Great Paxton Reserves.
Richard Kent's goal was followed by Jason Walker's winner, but Port were again grateful for a string of crucial saves made by goalkeeper Andrew Smart.
Sutton United striker Will Ludbrooke helped himself to three goals in two matches as his side earned four points from the visits to Somersham Town Reserves and St Ives Town Reserves.
Ludbrooke was joined on the midweek scoresheet by Richard Martin (2) and Sam Oliver in a 4-1 win at Somersham Town Reserves, but on Saturday his side trailed 2-0 at St Ives with only four minutes remaining.
Ludbrooke managed to score twice in that time to secure an unlikely 2-2 draw.
Danny Mitchell was the lone marksman as Ely City A lost 3-1 at Huntingdon United RGE, and Isleham United also managed a solitary goal as they conceded six in their match at Needingworth United Reserves.
THE promotion ambitions of Witchford '96 are hanging by a thread now after successive defeats away from home.
They lost 2-1 against unbeaten Newmarket White Lion in midweek, but gave a good account of themselves after trailing by two goals at one stage.
Aaron Spencer managed to pull one back, and Witchford were otherwise denied by some fine goalkeeping and the woodwork as they attempted to salvage something from the game.
Saturday's performance at Huntingdon United RGE Reserves was not as good, however, and Witchford soon found themselves 2-0 down again.
Colin Coulson headed a Duncan Turner cross into the top corner to reduce the arrears, but Huntingdon struck again to lead 3-1 at the midway stage.
Jonathan Chase tapped home Aaron Spencer's pass at the far post to pull another one back, but the hosts led 5-2 by the time Robbie Scarrow converted a Ross Spencer cross with his head.
Huntingdon struck again before the final whistle to run out 6-3 winners, and Witchford must win each of their four games in hand if they are to overhaul Wisbech St Mary for the runners-up spot.
Fordham Reserves went down 3-2 at home to Hemingfords United A despite goals from Grant Pearson and Matt Davison, which twice brought them back on level terms, and Soham United Reserves - also decimated by first-team call-ups and absences - were unable to raise a team for the visit to Brampton Reserves.
Little Downham Swifts were the opponents for champions-elect Newmarket White Lion on Saturday, but failed to put up much resistance as they went down 11-0.
Mepal Sports continued their fine run with a 5-1 victory at the expense of Haddenham Rovers Reserves.
Guy Habbin made amends for last week's own goal by grabbing the opener for Mepal, and Paul Silvain doubled their lead from the penalty spot after a foul by the Rovers goalkeeper on Matt Johannsson.
Johannsson then exacted his own retribution with a fine double, and Darren Murfitt added goal number five with a fine diagonal shot before Haddenham managed to scramble one back in the closing minutes.
Ely Crusaders Reserves ended their lingering relegation fears with a 2-1 victory over Milton A thanks to a double from the lively Ian Starling, but Pymoor FC could only draw 1-1 at Swavesey Institute Reserves and Sutton United Reserves went down by the only goal of the game at home to Barton Mills Reserves.
A positive start saw Burwell Swifts Reserves take control of their game against Cottenham B, which they carried on to win 5-1 in Division 5B.
The opening goal was made by Ollie Williams who got to the byline and turned the ball back for Chris Grant to finish from six yards.
They doubled their lead again through Williams, who turned in from a tight angle after the keeper had failed to collect a ball into the box.
The Swifts were three up before half-time when Ben Hubbard picked up a loose ball outside the area and coolly slotted into the net as the keeper tried to scramble across his goal.
The fourth goal was a scored by Carl Saxby, who chased a long ball beat the keeper to it as he came out and touch it past him and into the net.
As the game went into the last five minutes, the home team scored from a penalty given for a foul to bring it back to 4-1.
The Swifts finished the scoring when they were also awarded a penalty for a foul, which Grant placed into the right-hand corner.
Isleham United Reserves suffered a fate identical to their 2B first team, losing 6-1 at March Rangers after Matt Bilinski's goal had briefly got them back on level terms in the first half.
Nicky Cornwell and substitute Colin Bell were on target for Littleport Town A in the 3-2 home defeat by Walsoken United, but Burwell Swifts managed to win 5-1 at Cottenham United B.
Little Downham Swifts Reserves were also in action, but crashed 8-0 in their home clash with Newmarket Town A.