’Port on top – and that’s final!
SATURDAY FOOTBALL By Steve Green KERSHAW PREMIER LEAGUE AND CUP LITTLEPORT Town will meet Histon A in the final after a superb opening half put the skids under Needingworth United in the semi-final. Jack Jordan was a surprise inclusion for the visitors a
By Steve Green
LEAGUE AND CUP
LITTLEPORT Town will meet Histon A in the final after a superb opening half put the skids under Needingworth United in the semi-final.
Jack Jordan was a surprise inclusion for the visitors after spending most of the campaign sidelined through injury, and his hard-working display was instrumental in 'Port's success.
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They were missing several key players, including Matt Parry, Mark Leonard, Chris Wilson and Andrew Francis, but produced an exhilarating first-half performance that effectively put the tie beyond recall.
Chris Lupson's 35-yard pile-driver was tipped on to the bar by the Needingworth goalkeeper, but Nigel Smith forced the ball over the line for Town's opening goal.
Ben Layn then doubled the advantage with a great half-volley, and Smith curled a 25-yard free-kick over the wall and into the bottom corner of the net to make it 3-0 at the midway point.
'Port had to defend well after the break, but they still created enough chances to keep the home side on their toes in defence.
Littleport were back in league action on Saturday, and they moved up to fourth spot with a 3-2 victory over strugglers Great Paxton.
They were very short-handed again - Andrew Francis returned, but both David Cullum (jnr) and Dave Beeton were out in addition to those players who missed the cup tie - but scored after just 30 seconds through Francis.
Smith then had a tame fifth-minute penalty saved, and 'Port struggled to assert their superiority for the remainder of the half.
James Francis followed up his own blocked effort with a clever header to increase the home side's lead, but Paxton scored a sensational goal out of the blue to make it 2-1.
Michael Ward restored 'Port's two-goal advantage after capitalising on good work by Andrew Francis, but the visitors responded again to leave the home side hanging on at the finish.
Young Sean Monigatti made his first-team debut as substitute in the 75th minute, and he had three chances to score as the hosts managed to open up the visiting defence with alarming regularity.
Fordham were in league action and went down 3-1 at third-placed Over Sports.
Substitute Lee Bennett turned the ball in following a corner, but his side were already three down at the time, having never recovered from a 2-0 interval deficit.
"The only difference was that they got the goals and we didn't," said Fordham secretary John Pryke.
Dan Langley had a shot well saved, Jamie Palmer was inches wide, and John Sands went close with two headers as Fordham dominated the second half of the game.
SENIOR DIVISION A
ELY City Reserves moved 11 points clear of second-placed Hundon as they won twice whilst their nearest rivals could only draw 0-0 with Foxton.
City trailed to an Alex Irvine goal in the midweek clash at Soham Town Rangers Reserves, but improved dramatically after the break to run out 2-1 winners.
Gary Dewsbury headed in the equaliser with 15 minutes remaining, and Richard Dewsbury tapped home the winner in the closing stages.
City consolidated their advantage at the top of the table with a 3-0 victory over Gamlingay United on Saturday.
Richie Murfitt's first-half double effectively put the match beyond recall, and Peter Munns wrapped things up with a great strike from the edge of the area.
Soham, meanwhile, fell further off the promotion pace after going down by the only goal of the game at home to West Wratting.
SENIOR DIVISION B
SOHAM United continued their recent improvement with a 2-1 home victory against title hopefuls Milton.
Ally Mohammed and Jim Brown put the home side in control with second-half strikes, and all the visitors could manage was a late consolation goal.
Haddenham Rovers remain in fourth spot after a 0-0 draw at Swavesey Institute.
CREAKE SHIELD SEMI-FINAL
LITTLEPORT Town Reserves completed a great week for the club, reaching the final of the Creake Shield at the expense of hot favourites Huntingdon United RGE.
Nathan Bennett opened the scoring, and Luke Hammett made the interval score 2-0 with a well-taken goal.
Huntingdon pulled one back from the penalty spot after Jason Walker had been penalised, but the visitors held on to win 2-1 and will meet Division 2B side Wisbech St Mary in the final.
SUTTON United and Ely City A both kept their promotion drives on course with comfortable victories against local rivals.
Matthew Keys, Colin Coulson and Steve Perry struck the goals in Sutton's 3-0 win at Stretham Hotspurs, but Ely scored twice as many in their home victory against struggling Isleham United.
Steve Pollard led the way with a hat-trick for City, and he was joined on the scoresheet by Stephen Tuck (2) and Jamie Gayfer as Ely ran out 6-0 winners.
Witchford '96's promotion stock slumped further with a 1-1 draw at Lode.
PYMOOR remain favourites for the title after returning to action with victory against lowly Hemingfords United A.
Tom Hicks' opener was cancelled out by a David Harvey own goal, and Simon Law's first of the afternoon was also negated before half-time.
Hemingfords again got back on terms after Law had made it 3-2, but further goals from Greg Saberton, Harvey and Law again - to complete his hat-trick - made the final score 6-3.
Ollie Foreman's double earned Fordham Reserves a 2-0 win over neighbours Soham United Reserves, and The Vine kept in touch with the leading sides after taking four points from a possible six.
They drew 2-2 with fellow contenders Somersham Town Reserves in midweek, and then earned a 3-0 victory against Cottenham United A on Saturday.
Little Downham Swifts, meanwhile, went down by the only goal of the game at Huntingdon United RGE Reserves.
MEPAL Sports maintained their bid for 4B glory after edging out Ely Crusaders.
But Haddenham Rovers Reserves are still the form side of the division, winning for the sixth time in a row at the expense of league leaders March Rangers.
Chris Silvain opened the scoring for Mepal after getting on the end of a Giles Peacock cross, and Darren Murfitt's 35th-minute half-volley through a crowded goalmouth left Crusaders with a mountain to climb in the second half.
Jim Rolfe did manage to pull one back for the visitors following a corner, but Mepal stayed resolute at the back and held on well to take the points.
Haddenham's 1-0 win was achieved by virtue of a solitary Chris Harle strike, but Sutton United Reserves went down 2-0 at home to Earith United despite a great defensive performance from Sean Marriott.
The same scoreline saw Burwell Swifts enhance their championship credentials at Milton A, and they remain three points adrift of Mepal.
A home defender turned Carl Saxby's cross into his own goal to put Swifts in front and Lol Maskell added a second from the penalty spot, and although Burwell dominated the rest of the match they were unable to add to their tally.
Central defenders Kev Driver and Mike Edwards were instrumental in keeping the Milton forwards quiet after the break, while at the other end Ollie Williams, Danny Jones and Saxby all went close.
FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD Quintin Young kept another stand-in clean sheet for Wicken Amateurs as his side made hard work of it against bottom club Coldham United.
Jamie Palmer slipped the ball in at the foot of a post after Craig Rogerson's 23rd-minute pass found him unmarked, and he cracked in a 15-yard volley to make it 2-0 after the visitors had been reduced to 10 men through injury.
Dane Turner added a lucky third goal when the goalkeeper's attempted clearance rebounded into the net off his chest, and the same player hit the woodwork in more conventional fashion before Graham Hickmott made the score 4-0 with 12 minutes remaining.
Isleham United Reserves beat Little Downham Swifts Reserves 5-2, but the new leaders in this section are Littleport Town A, 3-1 winners of a feisty derby clash with The Vine Reserves.
The visitors, who had four players booked, scored through Craig Finbow, but the home side took the points with goals from Jamie Doswell, Calum Havis and Mark Yardy - the only 'Port player to be yellow-carded.
Burwell Swifts Reserves led twice in the home clash with their Longstanton counterparts, but had to settle for a share of the spoils.
A defensive howler enabled the visitors to draw first blood, but Tom Thatcher equalised five minutes later after Glen King's long free-kick had been crossed into the area by Chris Grant.
John Irvine then scored with a looping shot to put Burwell in front for the first time, but Longstanton responded to level again before half-time.
Thatcher robbed a defender before rounding the keeper to make it 3-2 with 20 minutes remaining, but the visitors hit back straight from the restart and it finished all square.