Picture by Dale James
SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS FOOTBALL LEAGUE
NEWSLETTER NO 37
SAT 28th April 2018
Well, here we are heading down the home straight, with just a couple of fun filled football weeks before we reach the tape. Congratulations to both Welwyn Garden City and Park View who have won the Premier Division and Division Two respectively , whilst Southall only need a point from Tuesdays game against Codicote to be mathematically certain of joining the triumvirate. Also congratulations to AFC Dunstable Development for winning their Division at the first attempt. Three of the 5 League Cup competitions have been decided and congratulations go to Harpenden , twice,and London Lions for winning their respective Divisional Cups. Just two left – the Challenge Trophy at Colney Heath which will be contested between Broadfields and Risboro Rangers this coming Saturday, the first time ever that two clubs outside the top flight have reached the Final, whilst the Div Two Final between Aston Clinton and Park View will be on Wednesday 9th May at London Lions FC.
Champions Welwyn Garden City were presented with the Premier Division trophy at their home game with Biggleswade Utd, but there was no happy ending as they went lost 3-1. Justin Leavers , Darren Woodend and Alex Marsh, with a penalty, were the scorers for the visitors. Berkhamsted secured the runners up spot, as well as promotion, after a 3-2 win at Edgware Town. The Comrades raced into an early three goal lead thanks to strikes from Ashton Campbell, Dan Jones and Adam Mead, with the goal of the day but although Mikkel James and Daniel Pett replied for the home side, Berko eventually held on for a historic win. With the runners up spot now out of reach, Leighton Town are locked in a battle with Harpenden for third place and Lorrel Smith, Carl Tappin and Tom Bryant were all on the mark as they came away from Wembley with a 3-3 draw. Meanwhile, Harpenden Town, fresh from their midweek Premier Division Cup Final victory over Welwyn G.C, . beat Tring Athletic 3-2 with goals from Jack Cartwright, Charlie Gould and Mathew Sutton to give themselves a fighting chance of overhauling Leighton on the run in. At the foot of the table, Mark Summer’s hat-trick helped St Margaretsbury to a 3-2 win at Oxhey Jets who remain second bottom. Cockfosters are also in deep in trouble after they lost 2-0 at Biggleswade United, with Abraham Eze scoring twice. Holmer Green’s four match winning run came to an end as they drew 2-2 at home to Colney Heath, but were happy to remain unbeaten as they aim for a top half of table finish to the season. After a fairly even 20 minutes or so, young Adam Riley’s speed took him clear of the defence, rounded the keeper , only to see his shot hit the far post. Unlike a certain Arsenal defender on Sunday, Riley didn’t stop to tie his laces up as Pogba threatened, and continued his pursuit of the ball, and had time to pull it back into the path of the onrushing Tom Fifield, who made no mistake from close range. Colney equalised early in the second period when a cross from the right was headed home by Joe Newton. This goal seemed to energise Colney and they looked the more likely to score next, and so it proved when another cross from the right took a deflection and and bounced up right in front of the old war horse Jimmy Hill who has not made his reputation from missing opportunities such as that. By now the Old Bankers were baying for their two strikers confined in the dug out to be released, and with 10 to go they were finally rewarded as Pawel Kotwica and Paul Nicholls joined James Britnell up front. It just goes to show how much easier it is from the sidelines than from the bench (!) as the extra power up front paid off with Kotwica doing what he does best, winning the ball and laying it off to Britnell who made no mistake with his fierce drive past the keeper. The Old Bankers erupted as Holmer stretched their unbeaten run to 5 matches. It was a good game to watch, with no malice, and was very well controlled by Referee John Perry and his two assistants, Simon Cudner and Neil Lawrence. Elsewhere, Chris Griffin scored a brace in London Colney’s 4-1 win over Crawley Green.
PREMIER DIVISION CUP FINAL – Harpenden 3 Welwyn Garden City 1
Two goals in the last 5 minutes saw Harpenden Town to victory over Welwyn Garden City in the Dudley Latham sponsored Premier Division Cup. A classic game of football it was not – certainly not one for the purists but Harpenden fully deserved their victory for their effort and commitment. Welwyn took the lead in the 26th minute through Jonathan Sexton straight from a corner but a David Keenleside free kick Kyle McLeish brought the Hares level ten minutes after the break. It remained level pegging until 5 minutes to go when Keenleyside, converted a hotly disputed penalty to put Harpenden in the lead. With Welwyn throwing everything at the Harpenden goal in search of the equaliser, including keeper Charlie May, a breakaway was always on the cards and Kyle McLeish was left with a clear run down the hill, with no one in sight. With an empty goal in front of him, amazingly, he managed to miss and it was left to Steve O’Reilly to retreive the ball and slot home to seal the win. This win completed a cup double for Harpenden following their win in the Development Final a week ago.
We start alphabetically with Risborough Rangers winning 6 1 at Brimsdown in front of all 7 spectators! Marcus Wylie notched a hat trick for Rangers but Brimsdown’s scorer – Mad Nicholson if Full Time is to be believed – certainly lived up to his name. He received a yellow on 70, scored on 80, and got a red on 85. Quite an eventful performance! Mike Taylor made his first visit to Coles Park in many years to watch a team scheduled to play in the Challenge Trophy Final next week and one languishing in mid-table. The visitors from Risbro’ were certainly quickest off the block and were soon into a two goal lead, only prolificacy of the visitors forwards kept this score at the tea break. Brimsdown rolled up their sleeves at the start of the second half and were quite enterprising up front. However the visitors were having none of this and three goals in six minutes knocked out any ideas of recovery by the hosts. Perhaps the drizzle matched the final result, Brimsdown pinching a consolation goal, but 1-6 the final score, was definitely a dull day for the hosts, as one of their full backs went for an early bath…he could have little complaint, leaving Referee Theaker no option. Pleased to report that the 4G pitch proved to be a good playing surface and equally how both teams did manage to ’Mind Their Language’…very pleasing to note.Bob Flight was at Buckingham Athletic to see them extend their end of season unbeaten run to ten games when they comfortably overcame visitors Hatfield Town by 3-1 at Stratford Fields. On a wet afternoon and on a soggy pitch, it was Buckingham who dominated the first half as several efforts were either saved or went wide of the target. Indeed, if it was not for the Town keeper Kieron Extence who made several very good saves, the home team could have been out of sight by half time. However that was not the case and although Matt Cruse hit the top of a post with a header, the game remained goalless at the break. The second half stared in the same fashion with Buckingham on top and their persistence was rewarded on 53 minutes when Chris Stapleton shot the ball back into the Town net after it had been saved and pushed out by Extence. Buckingham got their second goal on 65 minutes when Cruse ran through and shot the ball past a helpless Extence and into the corner of the net. Town responded and James Green in the home goal was called upon to save from Darren O’Brien. The home team mostly through Cruse, had other chances but these either went wide or were saved. Buckingham missed another glorious chance when substitute George Ford missed the goal when almost on the goal line. However, the reprieve was short lived as Sam Olawale ran through to score on 87 minutes. There was just enough time for a lack of concentration by Buckingham which allowed Town to score a consolation goal through Toby Kikham in the first minute of injury time. Despite the conditions, both teams tried to play football and the three officials handled the game well which made for an entertaining match to watch for the spectators. It was a close run thing at Codicote where the hosts came off second best in a 5 goal thriller when hosting high-flying Broadfields United. Apart from a decent crowd of 36 at least the evergreen Ben Andreos notched both of Codicote’s goals, which shows there’s still goals in those old boots. Enfield Borough went berserk in front of another sparse crowd by thrashing visitors Bedford 8 nil. Sometimes I wonder at this time of the year when there’s nothing to play for teams give some of their younger and/ or reserves players a run out. Maybe that’s what Bedford did? Or maybe Enfield recaptured some of their early season form? Glad to see at long last Langford stopped the rot of losing by actually winning a game, and it appears to be a very comfortable one too. They beat FC Broxbourne Borough 4 1 with Michael Payne notching a hat trick ( 39 : 58 : 70 ) with Ricardo Green getting the fourth one after 83 minutes. Rayners Lane lost 2 – 1 in a close goal against Baldock Town. Once again Sekani McCalmen was on the scoresheet for the Lane, whilst Alex Coppin scored from the spot after 42 minutes, and Owen Robertson getting the other one after 63 minutes. Not surprising the biggest crowd of the Division was at the top six clash between Winslow United vs Wodson Park. There was only the one goal in the contest, scored by Daniel Delderfield for the hosts, in front of 83 spectators. Unless they have a total meltdown Winslow now look to have secured the third spot in front of Broadields. An Adam Burchell double plus singles from Adam Bolle and Leiron Mannie enabled London Lions to see off visitors Hillingdon Boro by four goals to two whilst Harefield
Utd’s 7-1 victory, which included a hat trick from Leonard Farhall, means that St. Neots Reserves will join FC Broxbourne Boro in relegation.to Division Two.
Park View were confirmed as worthy champions on Saturday after a hat trick from Francis Williams helped them to a 4-0 win at home to Clean Slate. An excellent performance from Park View in their first year in the League, emulating the record of Thame Rangers last season who also won the title in their first season. Let’s hope they don’t go off to the Hellenic as well ! The runners up spot is still up for grabs, although Aston Clinton do look to be just favourites after Lewis Workman gave them a narrow 1-0 win away at Mursley Utd. However they do have to survive their very hectic last couple of weeks. Totternhoe look to be their closest rivals and they kept up the pressure after a 3-0 win away at Tring Town. AFC Southgate are also in with a shout but have played a couple of games more – they can do more than keep winning which they did , achieving a comfortable 5-1 win at home to Tring Corinthians. One of the Milton Keynes derbies – there seem to be several- saw MK Galacticos beat Old Bradwell 2-0 on the all weather pitch at Sir Herbert Leon Academy. In the only other match played. Pitstone & Ivinghoe romped to a 5-0 win on their home turf over Unite MK.
DEVELOPMENT DIVISION – Champions AFC Dunstable
The mad Scot, Bill Hamilton, saw the Development Division Champions, AFC Dunstable, finish the season in style with a comprehensive 4-0 win at Cockfosters. Dominating possession and playing an expansive game, their technical skills, speed of thought and neat swivels gave the Cockfosters defence a torrid afternoon. That said, the home side defended resolutely and had a couple of chances on the break but a missed penalty midway through the second half did nothing to raise their spirits. Dunstable were ahead as early as the 8th minute when Steve Amadi turned in Sonny Newbury-Barr’s inch perfect cross. Speedy winger Lawrence Burton headed in No2 before Daniel Blackman hammered in a free-kick from the edge of the penalty area right on the stroke of half time. Terry Daniels wrapped things up by lobbing the keeper early in the second half. Both sides were full of praise for one of the League’s youngest referees, Joseph Cannon, who took charge of the game with the confidence of a veteran. Cockfosters were magnanimous in defeat and the club officials went out of their way to ensure Dunstable’s feat was fully recognized during the presentation of the Cup to their captain Sam McClelland by Maureen Kennedy.
WYCOMBE SENIOR CUP SEMI-FINAL
Aston Clinton reached the Final of the Wycombe Senior Cup last night ( Monday) after beating Thame Rangers 1-0 in the Semi, played at Thame. The vital goal came in the 6th minute – a penalty scored by Joe Kittle. Aston will meet Flackwell heath in the Final, to be played at Marlow FC.
REFEREE JOHN NETTLETON.
AND FINALLY (some might say AT LAST!)
On Saturday, at 4.53pm, John Nettleton’s refereeing career came to an end after 29 years and 849 SSMFL games. The game between Langford and FC Broxbourne Borough was halted in the 65th minute (it was John’s 65th birthday) and players, officials and spectators alike participated in a tribute of applause to acknowledge John’s service to the league.
A reminder to all clubs, particularly those in Division Two , that the use of Substitute Boards in a match is a League requirement. The home side are responsible for providing the Boards, and they are normally placed on the half way line, so that they can be used by both sides as required. Non compliance of this League requirement , either in not providing the Boards or in not using them, may well result in a charge being levied against the offending club.
A TIMELY reminder to all clubs that it is a League Directive that the laminated A3 MYL posters must be displayed in all 3 changing rooms and in the clubhouse or refreshment area. Extra posters are available if clubs wish to place in their stands or around the dug outs. Non compliance with th is Directive may well result in a charge being levied against your club.
PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THE HOME CLUB IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BEHAVIOUR OF ALL SPECTATORS
LEAGUE CHALLENGE TROPHY FINAL – SATURDAY 5th MAY at Colney Heath FC
Broadfields v Risborough Rangers
DIVISION TWO CUP FINAL – WEDNESDAY 9TH MAY at London Lions FC
Aston Clinton v Park View
Grateful thanks to Chris Mitchell, Bob Flight , Dave Henman, john Chidley and Sports Shots.org.uk for their reports and contributions.. All news, views etc welcome, particularly from our refereeing colleagues.
Enjoy your football and remember MIND YOUR LANGUAGE