United survival hopes still hang in balance
SENIOR DIVISION B Soham United did their best to avoid finishing in the bottom two this season as they wound up their campaign with a 2-1 victory over Swavesey Institute. But their survival hopes will ultimately depend on the decision of the Cambs FA. T
SENIOR DIVISION B
Soham United did their best to avoid finishing in the bottom two this season as they wound up their campaign with a 2-1 victory over Swavesey Institute.
But their survival hopes will ultimately depend on the decision of the Cambs FA.
The Kershaw League may be restructured after the early season withdrawal of Tuddenham Rovers, and the recent defection of Needingworth United to the UCL, but Soham's fate - despite rumours to the contrary - has not yet been decided.
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"It's still not official yet," said Soham player-manager Andy Parker earlier this week, although he was prepared to admit that the likelihood of only two teams being relegated from Senior Division B had been mentioned to him by a league official several months ago.
Soham outplayed their final day opponents to a large extent, and took a deserved lead when Parker's determined run caused confusion in the Swavesey defence.
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The goalkeeper's attempted clearance was spooned into the air, and Ali Mohammed was on hand to nudge a header over him and into an empty net for the opener.
Parker then screwed a penalty wide of the target after Tom Christie's shot had struck a defender on the arm, but Soham extended their lead at the start of the second half.
Parker was again involved, his flicked header releasing Mohammed for his second goal of the afternoon.
Other chances went begging as Swavesey's defence was stretched to the limit, but with three minutes remaining the visitors pulled one back after Christie was unluckily caught in possession.
The visitors never looked like redressing the balance however, and in fact United could easily have extended their advantage before eventually running out 2-1 winners.
Soham's win would have been insufficient if fellow strugglers Sawston United Reserves had managed to beat champions Ely City Reserves, but their rivals could manage only a desperate 1-1 draw.
City established a first-half lead when Simon Warren nodded home a Martin Gray cross, but Sawston got back on terms after capitalising on a defensive error.
They needed to win to release themselves from the bottom two, but City never looked likely to relinquish another goal against inferior opponents.
Fulbourn Institute Reserves - devastated by their recent failure to stay in touch with City in the Senior B title race - looked imperious in the 9-1 defeat of Ely Crusaders on Saturday, but in midweek Crusaders had themselves looked equally dominant in the 8-3 hammering of Cherry Hinton.
Brett Fuller - the consolation scorer on Saturday - was also on target during the midweek win, and he was joined on the scoresheet by Lee Moll (2), Ben Fuller (2), Simon Farrow, Michael King and Ross Knappett.
Haddenham Rovers completed their season by coming from behind to beat the Cherries 3-1 on Saturday.
They looked good despite suffering an early setback, getting back on level terms through Geoff Buck before half-time. Substitutes Keiron Granger and Jamie Peacock were introduced after the break, and after Robbie Keen had put Rovers ahead it was Granger who found Peacock with a header to make the final score 3-1.
Littleport Town eventually had to settle for sixth spot in the Premier Division table after going down 4-1 at Newmarket Town Reserves in their final game.
"In the first half we were absolutely terrible," said Port manager Dave Cullum after seeing his team trail 3-0 at the interval, but the visitors improved dramatically after the restart. "It was like watching a totally different team," he said.
The Jockeys scored another goal against the run of play, but Littleport at least managed to convert one of the many chances they created when Nicky Martin found the net in the closing stages.
Port's Premier League Cup Final clash with Over Sports has been rescheduled for Tuesday at Histon.
Fordham could still finish eighth in this division, depending on the outcome of Histon A's final match at home to Great Shelford.
If Histon lose 1-0, the teams will be level in terms of points, goal difference, goals scored, and goals against.
If Histon lose by the odd goal but manage to score themselves, then they will finish ahead of Fordham by virtue of having scored more goals.
If they should lose by more than one goal, then Fordham's goal difference will be superior and they will move up to eighth spot.
SENIOR DIVISION A
Soham Town Rangers slipped to sixth spot in the table as they took only a single point from a possible nine in their last three outings.
They went down by the odd goal in seven at home to Bluntisham Rangers in midweek, and on Saturday Wickhambrook beat them 3-2 to claim the championship by a two-point margin as Needingworth United surprisingly lost 2-1 at Foxton.
Littleport Town Reserves - who were outclassed by Wimblington Harriers in the midweek final of the Junior Cup - finally lost their Division 1B status, despite winning their final match at home to Buckden.
Neil Cullum found the net to make the final score 3-1 in that match.
But Gransden Chequers recorded a 2-1 victory at Godmanchester Rovers Reserves to finish above Port on goal difference.
In the cup final against Wimblington there were good defensive performances by Cullum, Jason Walker, Michael Shay, Nathan Bennett and goalkeeper Andy Smart - particularly in the first half - but in the end Port were lucky to lose only 3-0.
Clark Green scored a hat-trick for Ely City A in the home clash with Longstanton, but his side eventually went down by the odd goal in 11.
Sutton United completed their fixtures with a 2-2 home draw against Somersham Town Reserves.
Witchford 96 crashed 6-1 to Griffin Park in the midweek final of the Lower Junior Cup, but on Saturday they secured runners-up spot in the league by holding their closest rivals Wisbech St Mary to a 1-1 draw.
After the cup final thrashing, Witchford decided to move Ross Spencer into a sweeper's role for the match against Wisbech, but he was initially redundant as the hosts took the game to their opponents in the early stages.
Man of the match Robbie Scarrow crossed dangerously in the 25th minute, and Michael Ward found the net with a spectacular diving header to make it 1-0.
Colin Coulson and Aaron Spencer - both with 42 goals this season - missed numerous chances as Witchford tried to press home their advantage, but they had to endure a nervy final 35 minutes after Wisbech had scrambled an equaliser. Chances were created and squandered at both ends, but the 1-1 draw was sufficient to keep Witchford ahead of their opponents on goal difference in the final table.
In the cup final the direct style of Griffin Park paid dividends as beaten Witchford were outscored but definitely not outplayed.
Jonathan Chase pulled a goal back from Aaron Spencer's cross when his side trailed 4-0, but their Wisbech-based opponents grabbed two more goals in the closing stages to give the scoreline an unbalanced look.
Little Downham Swifts were unable to raise a side for the visit to Dullingham, so their opponents were awarded the points.
Pymoor FC beat Ely Crusaders Reserves 5-1 in their final outing, but failed on goal difference to clinch runners-up spot in the 4B table as St Ives Town A scraped the 0-0 draw they needed at Swavesey Institute Reserves.
Champions Wisbech St Mary Reserves meanwhile increased their advantage at the top of the table by winning 4-3 at Burwell Swifts.
Nigel Rayner nodded home a Lol Maskell free kick after Wisbech had established a two-goal lead, but the visitors struck again at the start of the second period.
An own goal gave them renewed hope of salvaging a point, but with five minutes remaining a close range finish secured a 4-2 lead for the visitors.
Mike Edwards pulled another goal back for Swifts with a header from point-blank range, but that proved to be the last action of an entertaining affair.
Haddenham Rovers Reserves - already considerably disgraced this season - failed to arrive for the local derby clash at Mepal Sports.
Burwell Swifts Reserves wrapped up their season with two goals in each half against Isleham United Reserves.
Kevin Driver opened the scoring with a majestic header from a corner, and Chris Grant volleyed into an empty net from six yards after Ollie Williams had chased a lost cause to the bye-line. Darren Lindsay finished coolly to make it 3-0 from Nathan Hull's cross, and an own goal made it 4-0 before Isleham finally applied some pressure of their own. They hit the bar,and then forced Swifts goalkeeper Simon Hurrion to make a fingertip save in the closing stages.
The Vine Reserves finally moved out of the bottom two by virtue of a crushing 8-0 win against Walsoken United, but Littleport Town A went down 4-2 at home to high-ranking Newmarket Town A.
Division 2A champions Ely Park Rangers Reserves concluded their successful league campaign with a 4-4 draw against QPR Ely. Martin Blakeley and Danny Mitchell put them 2-1 ahead after QPR had opened the scoring, but the hosts struck either side of the interval to go back in front.
Dale Spring levelled matters once more with a far post header from Andy Chatters' cross, and Chatters scored himself to make it 4-3 before QPR grabbed another goal to salvage a point.
In the Senior Division there was another poor result for last season's champions Triple-S, this time a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Bar Hill.