Saturday Football: Port could storm into third berth

PREMIER DIVISION It s a case of so far, so good for both Littleport Town and Fordham, as they sit in fourth and eighth position respectively at the start of 2006. Littleport have been a little inconsistent, and, apart from a string of three victories in


It's a case of so far, so good for both Littleport Town and Fordham, as they sit in fourth and eighth position respectively at the start of 2006.

Littleport have been a little inconsistent, and, apart from a string of three victories in a row early in the season, they have failed to win successive matches in the league.

Having said that - the 1-1 draw at bottom of the table Hemingfords United apart - they have pretty much played up to form, and of the 16 points dropped thus far, nine were surrendered against the top two teams Sawston United and Great Shelford. Indeed the title itself would appear to be a duel between that pairing.

But 'Port have shown enough to suggest that they could finish as high as third if things go their way. Certainly the teams around them (Cottenham United, Great Paxton and Cambridge University Press) appear to be nothing special.

Goals can come from anywhere, although some may argue that Dave Cullum's side need a regular marksman if they are going to make a real impact at this level.

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Fordham meanwhile have recovered from a sluggish start which saw them yield just seven points from their opening nine matches, and prior to the recent 4-1 setback at Shelford they had been unbeaten in five games.

Daren Pryke and Ben Howe are providing most of the goals for Andy Pearson's side, but Fordham are currently letting in too many at the other end - 30 in their last 14 league outings no less.

But there have been some encouraging signs for Pearson in the opening half of the campaign: Wins against Cambridge University Press, Histon A and Over Sports, and a 2-2 draw with Great Paxton. They also led Shelford until an unfortunate own goal precipitated a 4-1 defeat.

Fordham would no doubt be happy to finish eighth, but they will be aware that only four points separates them from second-from-bottom Linton Granta.

However, following the withdrawal of Tuddenham Rovers from the league only one team will be relegated this season, and as things stand Hemingfords look the team most likely with just seven points at the moment.


Soham Town Rangers Reserves are currently third and look capable of staying there, but the gap between them and 10th placed Girton United is just four points so they are not guaranteed to finish in the top half of the table at this stage.

Rangers won three of their first four league outings and are currently unbeaten in five matches, but a win-less run of six matches - including defeats in both cup competitions - leaves them with little to aim for, because the promotion race is being dominated by Needingworth United and Wisbech Town Reserves.No-one else seems likely to get in a blow.


Ely City Reserves are eight points clear of second-placed Fulbourn Institute Reserves with less than half of their programme remaining, but they have played four more than their nearest pursuers.

Third-placed Comberton United (nine points adrift and recent 2-1 winners over City) also have two games in hand, and could still have a say in who gets promoted from the third tier of the Kershaw League.

City have points in the bag already, and that could prove crucial as Fulbourn's recent defeat against bottom-of-the-table Sawston United Reserves shows. The promotion race could go right to the wire in this section.

Ely Crusaders are not out of it either. They sit in fifth spot despite having played less games than any other team in the Division, and if they won their games in hand they would be level on points with the current leaders.

Several opponents have described Crusaders as the best side in the Division, but it's points that win prizes - not opinions.

They are certainly very strong going forward, but always likely to concede a couple in defence. Most of their wins have been of the high-scoring variety, and they have conceded at least two goals in each of their last five successes.

The Percy Oldham Cup remains on the agenda for Ely City Reserves and Ely Crusaders, with both sides having reached the last four of the competition.

Last season's 1B champions Haddenham Rovers are level on points with Crusaders in sixth position, but have played four games more than their rivals.

Rovers looked set to struggle after losing three of their opening five games, but they have won twice as many as they have lost since then and striker Kenny Holmes has found the net in the last seven league and cup fixtures. His form - and that of Tom Moden - makes Haddenham a potential danger to every other team in this section.

They have kept only two clean sheets this season (both against Swavesey Institute), but their firepower just seems to outweigh their defensive frailties and Rovers look set for a top-half finish.

Soham United on the other hand, will do well to avoid the drop. Promoted alongside Haddenham at the end of last season, they have struggled to adapt - particularly in defence, where they have conceded 51 goals in all competitions.

Andy Parker's team need to avoid finishing in the bottom four if they are to avert an immediate return to Division 1B football, and with only 10 points to show from the first half of their 15-match campaign they sit eight points adrift of safety.

Realistically, they may need to win more than half of their remaining fixtures in order to survive.