SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS FOOTBALL LEAGUE
NEWSLETTTER NO 39
MON 7th – SAT 12th – MON 14th MAY 2018
Well, this really is it – almost – for the season with both the Premier Division and Division One now all completed. It was announced by the F.A. a few days ago that Premier champions Welwyn G.C. and runners up Berkhamsted will both be promoted into the new Southern League – East Division, although there does seem to be a number of Midland based clubs in there! In their place we will receive Arlesey Town, who are relegated from the old Southern League – South East. The top two clubs in Division One should be promoted into the Premier, but as Southall will be ground sharing at Ashford Town ( Middx) next season, there is a chance they will end up in the Combined Counties League. No such problems for runners up Baldock Town, who will again be ground sharing at Arlesey. Apart from Park View’s promotion up to Division One, we will be unable to confirm any of the other relegation and promotion issues until the smoke issues from Wembley Towers, reportedly on 23rd May.
Champions Welwyn Garden City said goodbye to the SSMFL in style as finished off their season with a 2-0 win at Leverstock Green on Bank Holiday Monday. In doing so, they hit the 100 points mark as well as well as taking their goals for tally to exactly 100. Elsewhere, Stotfold kept their slim chance of avoiding relegation alive after a thrilling 4-3 win at home against Biggleswade FC only to see hope that dashed two days later as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Hoddesdon– only a win would have sufficed. After a run of 5 games undefeated , including 4 wins, Holmer Green fell to a 3rd defeat in a row as they went down 3-0 away to Harpenden in a morning kick off, but London Tigers claimed two wins in three days after beating London Colney 1-0 away and Leverstock Green 2-0 at home.
On Tuesday night, Southall were presented with their Championship Trophy (see last weeks Newsletter ) and Wodson Park finished a good season on a high with a 3-0 win at home to Enfield Boro,whose performance in the second half of the season did not match that of the early promise shown ,but none the less they must be pleased with their first season in Division One.
FC Broxbourne’s 3-0 win at home to Ampthill was not enough to stop them finishing in the bottom two, and it was honours even as landlords Harefield Utd and tenants Broadfields shared four goals and two points.
Park View were crowned champions last Wednesday evening and were presented with the Trophy by League Chairman Pat Burns before their Div Two Final with Aston Clinton.
Park View finished off their season on Saturday in fine style, winning 3-2 at home to Unite MK, thus completing the remarkable record of going through the season unbeaten – winning 27 and drawing 5. The visitors had the temerity to take the lead early in the second half through Cole Rawson, but the big man Francis Williams soon restored order with a quick fire double before Prince Gyimah added a third shortly afterwards. Rawson replied with his second but Unite could not muster the equaliser. The race for the runners up spot is still ongoing and Totternhoe, with a hat trick from Joel McCormick kept their faint chances alive after beating Tring Corinthians 5-3 at home. In the only other match to take place, Clean Slate recorded only their 6th win of the season, beating visitors Berkhamsted Raiders 2-1.
On Monday evening, Aston Clinton clinched the runners up spot in the Division after beating visitors Grendon Rangers 2-0 with goals from Sam Austin and Mitchell Collins.
Unfortunately there were two late postponements – MK Galacticos v Tring Town and AFC Southgate v Aston Clinton which left 6 very unhappy match officials kicking their heels .In both matches, the away team were the culprits. The problems with referee availabilities this season have been well documented – calling off games at the last minute does not help the situation, and clubs do not always realise the full consequences of their actions.
DIVISION TWO CUP FINAL – Park View 2 Aston Clinton 1 (aet)
Park View completed the League and Cup double on Wednesday night on the excellent surface at London Lions, but they were pushed all the way by opponents Aston Clinton who more than matched their divisional counterparts in an end to end final. Park View haven’t lost in the league this season, and with Clinton second in the league this was always going to be tight, Park took the lead a minute before the interval, an early second half equaliser took the game into extra time, seconds in came a fantastic strike worthy of winning any cup final. Both sides had plenty of chances but View held on to claim their third trophy of the evening, having been presented with their Division Two Trophy & December Team of the Month award before kick-off.
Although the first chance of the match fell to Park View when Kofi Appiah received the ball after some patient build up play but he drove high & wide, Aston were looking the more dangerous but several promising moved broke down in front of goal – the best chance coming after Lewis Workman got in behind the Park defence and squared to the incoming Mitchell Collins but from in front of goal he curled over the top. As the half then wore down, Park View started to assert some serious pressure. An Aston attack broke down high up the pitch and the ball sent long, some hesitancy in the Clinton defence allowed Steve Opuko-Domfeh to drive into the box, skipping three challenges he smashed at goal only to see the ball crash up off the crossbar and over. Then a minute before the break they broke the deadlock through Francis Williams when a clever routine saw a clip into the box for him to receive a header on and he was in behind, finishing well. H/T: 0-1
Aston Clinton came out from the break on the front foot and equalised just three minutes in, a long goal kick from Smith saw the ball bounce over the defence and in behind Workman took a touch before slotting home.
Park View played a good one-two on the edge of the Aston box resulting in Kofi Oti-Atakorah flashing a shot across goal but wide. Vinny Greco dragged a shot wide as Clinton enjoyed a good spell of possession but lacked that final ball. As the half wore on with both sides tiring, Park View got back into the game, and started to ask their own questions in search of a winner. Some good passing moves on the edge of the Clinton area saw the ball played out to Appiah who absolutely smashed at goal, the ball flying about a yard over the top, it would have ripped the net off had it been under the bar. In the final minute Aston won a free kick right on the edge of the area, a high tackle on substitute Luke Russell saw him felled and initially it looked as though a penalty had been awarded. However, after all the fuss died down it was signalled as a free kick right on the line, which Greco curled over the top. Full time and level at 1-1, and further 30 minutes to play – just what Aston wanted – not!
Before the whistle was back in the referees pocket for the start of extra time Park View retook the lead, a ball into the Aston end saw Williams hold off a defender down the right t and from the edge of the area he unleashed an unstoppable drive across goal and into the top corner, with just twenty seconds on the clock. A goal fit to win a Final. Aston tried to fight back, but were always suspect to a Park counter, one such saw Christian Agyapong feed Javier Sanchez who fired straight into Smith’s hands.Aston pushed on for the last 15 minutes but struggled to break down a resilient Park defence, Workman fed through early on but had three defenders around him, he got a shot away but the ball deflected off one of them to then trickle back for the keeper to collect. Greco curled an inviting cross over which was headed out to Workman, his first shot blocked, he followed up but curled straight at Silva. A plethora of niggly fouls, arguments & yellow cards slowed the game right down, Clinton unable to get any momentum going in their search of an equaliser, when play did resume Williams was played in at the Aston end but he fired straight at Smith. At the opposite end Workman was fed in down the right, he went for goal but Silva pushed away two handed and a defender was on hand to clear. In injury time a free kick to Aston was half cleared out to Elias Williams who over the shoulder went for goal, the ball brushing the top of the net as it went over, and there was still time for another ball for Workman to chase down the middle, Silva advanced but as the Clinton front man went to knock on the keeper got the merest of touches to divert and the ball was cleared long, with that came the final whistle.
All photos courtesy of www.sportsshots.org.uk
WYCOMBE SENIOR CUP FINAL – Aston Clinton 1 Flackwell Heath 0
Having already defeated three sides from higher divisions, Penn & Tylers (Hellenic Div 1 East) Holmer Green (Spartan Premier) & Thame Rangers (Hellenic Div 1 East) Aston made in four in a row with a victory over 5th placed Hellenic Premier side Flackwell Heath. A goal on the half hour from Lewis Workman settled the tie. It was a nervous last five minutes as Flackwell piled on the pressure but the boys in blue hung on to lift the trophy. .The large crowd, including a good number from Aston saw the Blues get off to a good start when Joe Kittle, always a handle for defenders, got to the byeline, pulled the ball back but Mitchell Collins could only poke the ball wide of the goal. Vinny Greco then had a shot off target before Flackwell had their first opportunity. Jordan Dowdican had a shot which whistled past the post after the ball was cut back to him on the edge of the area. All season long Liam Smith’s long goal kicks have troubled defences and tonight was no exception.. Flackwell should have taken the lead on twenty seven minutes as top scorer Dean Allen found himself eight yards out, with just Smith to beat, but somehow he didn’t quite connect cleanly and the ball was easily saved by the big Aston keeper. Aston scored the only goal of the game on the half hour, Alex Little was pulled down twenty five yards out, Vinny Greco’s free kick was palmed away by Flackwell keeper David Lyons but the ball fell to Aston talisman Workman who squeezed the ball home from six yards.
Aston were again quick off the mark as the second half began, and there were half chances for Elias Williams, Mitchell Collins and Lewis Workman, but came to nothing as the large Aston contingent were wondering whether their side would eventually be punished for these missed opportunities. Flackwell were now pushing forward and driving Aston back, but the back four was holding firm and not allowing their opponents to create any clear chances.
As the referee indicated five minutes of injury time , Flackwell were to have one more chance to equalise, the ball was lobbed into the Aston area, there was a melee in the box with what seemed like everyone involved, someone fired the ball toward the goal but from no where Liam Smith appeared to fling out an arm and somehow managed to scramble the ball clear. The referee finally blew for time, , cue the celebrations from fans, management and players alike as Aston Clinton finally clinched silverware after a long hard season.
THE LEAGUE AGM IS ON SAT 23rd JUNE at TRING ATH – 10.30am
Well, that is it, virtually all done and dusted apart from a couple of games in Div Two which will determine the runners up spot.
All that remains is to thank all who have contributed to the Newsletter over the last 9 months or so with their reports and titbits etc – Chris Mitchell, Bob Flight, Dave Henman, Mike Taylor, Tony Weight , Pat Burns, Larry Cordery, John Nettleton, and particularly Sports Shots, for both their reports and their photos. I am often asked who/ what are Sports Shots – hopefully below will answer your questions.
Welcome to Sports Shots!
Sports Shots is a sport-based news and images service run by Andy Bone and his wife Lorna, with the help from Dale & Gemma James, Darren Stanger, Luke Stafford and friends in the sporting community. Focusing in and around Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, Andy and Lorna came up with the idea to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and Vasculitis UK while following a love of local sport.
Sports Shots is not a charity. All donations are made to Macmillan Cancer Support and Vasculitis UK; every effort is made to distribute money raised equally between the two charities. No personal gain is made from Sports Shots. After starting a Facebook group for our action shots at local matches in 2009, we started a website in January 2011 with news to support our images. Sports Shots has evolved beyond our wildest expectations and to date the website is approaching 16+ million hits from around the world. Our social media following has 1,093 fans on Facebook and 1,392 followers on Twitter. Our ethos is to support local clubs by letting them use our reports and images for their websites, matchday programmes, Facebook and Twitter groups for no charge. We also supply local newspapers with our images free of charge as it is all about our community, not personal gain. All we ask for is an accreditation and that is with the aim of raising awareness into what we do.
Website : www.sportsshots.org.uk Twitter :@sportsshotsnews
It is highly unlikely that I will be editing the Newsletter next season so if there are any keyboard warriors out there who would like to take up the cudgel, please let me know. It would be a shame to lose this vital communication tool.
There will be one more final Newsletter over the next 10 days,– so still time to have a say should you wish !!
Bill Scholes email@example.com