SSMFL: Newsletter 24 – Saturday 27th January 2018

Picture by Dale James

NEWSLETTER NO 24
SAT 27th JANUARY 2018
It’s amazing how time does start to fly at this time of the season. January is now behind us and as we head into February there are just three months of the season left. The bookies are beginning to stop taking bets on Division One, with Southall looking to be a good banker, but there is often a slip between cup and lip. The Premier and Division Two are much more difficult to call, and although there may be favourites for each, there are a number of good teams in both Divisions very capable of causing a few upsets.

PREMIER DIVISION

It’s very much as you were at the top of the Premier Division table as the top four all recorded wins. Berkhamsted sit top of the pile after an emphatic 5-0 win away to London Tigers. Ashton Campbell and Ben Bateman gave the Comrades a two goal interval lead before both players doubled their tally’s in the second half with the fifth scored by Adiel Mannion. Welwyn Garden City remain just a point behind in second after they also hit five as they beat Edgware Town 5-2 at home. Dan Bond and Jon Clements put the Citizens two up inside ten minutes before Ash Kersey grabbed a brace and Charlie Joy finished the scoring. Leighton Town stay third after they won 3-2 at home to struggling Crawley Green. Despite roadworks outside the ground which brought Leighton Buzzard to a standstill and made a couple of players and the referee late, those who managed to get to the ground saw an entertaining match on a slippery but playable field of play. The match belied the big difference in League positions between the two sides. Having taken an early lead in the 8th minute through Alex Condon, home supporters settled down hoping for more goals, but despite fairly continuous pressure, Leighton were rocked back when in the 25th minute an obvious foul challenge in the Home penalty area, resulted in a calmly put away equaliser by Aaron Browne. The game continued to flow with long periods of uninterrupted open play with very few free-kicks, o On 41 minutes Leighton Town regained the lead with a shot from the edge of the penalty area by Alex O’Brien.. The home advantage was cancelled out in the 56th minute with a crisp shot from the edge of the box by the penalty taker Aaron Browne evening things up. With both sides playing well and making chances, the match was there for the taking. A goalmouth scramble in the home penalty area in the 80th minute, resulted in a rebound off the bar presenting an away attacker with an open goal from 8 yards, but unfortunately he hit his shot straight against the chest of a home defender and the ball was kicked to safety. A really big chance not taken which would prove decisive. In the 86th minute, following a run down the inside right channel, Alex O’Brien outpaced the Away defence and shot home for the winner. Leighton had left it late and again hard luck to Crawley Green who had played really well with nothing to show for their efforts. Harpenden Town stay 4th after James Yates and Dave Keenleyside scored in their 2-1 win at 5th placed Leverstock Green. Following this defeat, the Green drop back a place , being replaced by Biggleswade FC who enjoyed a 4-0 home win over Wembley. Star man was Tom Cookman with three goals whilst sub Lawrie Marsh added a fourth right at the end. It was all happening at Hoddesdon Town where visitors Colney Heath continued their rejuvenation with a 4-2 victory over the home side. Colney stunned the home crowd , hurtling into a three goal lead in the first 15 minutes, Jimmy Hill turning the clock back as he notched all three, and worse was to come as Reece Cameron added a fourth 3 minutes later. Hoddesdon could have reduced the deficit ten minutes when awarded a penalty, but the spot kick failed to hit the target, but two goals from Emanuel Melford- Rowe and Jack Riddle brought a degree of respectability to the final score. Hadley twice came behind at St.Margaretsbury to draw 2-2, goals coming from an OG and Samuel Aggrey-Adams, whilst the remaining two matches – Holmer Green v London Colney and Tring Ath v Oxhey Jets both resulted in 0-0 draws. Dave Henman’s game of choice was Cockfosters vs Biggleswade United which got the go ahead – quite rightly – but the surface wasn’t ideal to play tip tap football on. Although not always pretty on the eye both sides must be commended for giving it 100% effort. The game got off to a flyer with Cockfosters number 11 – Matt Sinclair – firing home when in plenty of space after receiving a short pass after only 3 minutes. The game ebbed and flowed and there wasn’t too much in it during the first half although I thought Biggleswade were slightly the better side. Half time and it was still 1 nil. Rather surprisingly when the next goal came – after 50 minutes – it was the home sub Piero Bagarone who finished off the move virtually on the line when a shot was deflected into his path past a wrong footed keeper. At 2 nil I thought it was game over, but then what do I know! Biggleswade obviously had other ideas. From a well worked free kick Lee Bilcock finished off the move after 65 minutes, and eleven minutes later James Cooper levelled matters. After 87 minutes Biggleswade needlessly conceded a penalty and one of Cockfosters best players – midfielder Bruce Ndala converted although only just, as Carlos Vivas got more than a hand to it. In my opinion a draw would’ve been a fair result, in a “nothing” mid table clash, but as the excellent long serving secretary Graham Bint pointed out it is very tight at the bottom, and with Cockfosters nervously looking over their shoulders it was a much needed 3 points, and I couldn’t argue with that!

DIVISION ONE
Southall continue on their merry way at the top of the table, a 6-0 win away at St.Neots Reserves helping them to maintain an 11 point lead over second placed London Lions. Star man was Adam Louth (remember him from the successful Chalfont St. Peter side of a few years ago) with a hat trick, whilst Ryan Hope chipped in with a brace. The real battle in this Division would appear to be for that coveted second promotion slot, with four clubs currently in the running. At the moment the London Lions have their noses in front, but the other contenders all have games in hand and there is all to play for. Lions 6-2 win away at Codicote made it 5 out 6 and the return of Adam Bolle earlier in the season has certainly added to their firepower – he added another brace in this game. In third place, but with 4 games in hand, are Baldock Town, whose 4-1 win at home to Ampthill Town was their 6th on the bounce. Sub Alfie Barker contributed a couple, with singles from Lewis Barker and Joshua Coley, whilst Pat Daley replied for the visitors. Wodson Park were held to a 0-0 draw away at Buckingham Athletic, and this result enabled Winslow Utd to move above them into fourth place. It was a great effort by the Winslow ground staff to enable their match against Rayners Lane to go ahead and on a sticky pitch, Winslow won a close game by 4-2 in front of over 50 spectators including Bob Flight and his trusty notebook. Both teams started well and only a magnificent save by Luke Daley in the Rayners Lane goal prevented a score from Sean Coles. The visitors should have taken the lead on 13 minutes when a foul by home keeper Sam Ashmead on the Rayners forward Marcell Bascombe resulted in a penalty kick. However, Ashmead made amends by pushing the shot onto a post and away from goal. Winslow pushed forward and had numerous efforts on goal but a combination of blocked shots and missed chances saw the game goalless. Just when the home supporters though a goal would never come, Winslow scored on 39 minutes when Dan Delderfield hit the ball into the net from close range. Rayners Lane had a chance to equalise just before half time but Saleh Zaheer saw his goal bound shot blocked and the follow up blasted wide. The second half saw Rayners Lane quick out of the blocks and they scored on 48 minutes when a cross from Jamie Doolan was forced into the home net by Marcell Bascombe. A fast response from Winslow saw a great chance missed when Delderfield had a shot that went wide when it seemed easier to score. The home team continued to dominate the game and went ahead on 64 minutes when Aaron King ran onto a through ball to score past a stranded Daley in the visitors goal. Worse was to follow for Rayners Lane as they conceded a penalty kick on 67 minutes and Sean Cole stepped up to score. Still the visitors refused to wilt and they scored another goal on 89 minutes when Saleh Zaheer ran through to beat Ashmead in the home goal. The visitors played the final few minutes with ten men as Doolan received his second caution of the game and was rightly sent off. With this, the expected revival disappeared and in the final minute of the game Daniel Parsons scored Winslow’s fourth and final goal. It was an entertaining game to watch despite the difficult conditions and had Rayners Lane converted their first half penalty kick it could have been a different story. The win lifts Winslow into the top four in the table with a chance of the runners up spot. Broadfields are having probably their best season since joining the SSMFL and they are currently in 6th place, heading the small number of 3 or 4 clubs who are just slightly adrift of the top 5. A brace from Connor Spinks and one from Dene Gardner helped them to a 3-0 win at home over rivals Risborough Rangers, leapfrogging their visitors in the process, whilst early pace setters Enfield Borough, who have slipped off the pace, emerged as 4-3 victors after an amazing comeback at FC Broxbourne Borough. The home side were three nil up at half time, but Enfield, aided by a hat trick from Tage Kennedy, scored four times to claim the three points. Hillingdon Borough sat at the foot of the table going into the weekend, but a 2-1 win away at Langford rocketed them upwards and out of the bottom three. No record of the goalscorers on Full Time. The match between Brimsdown and Hatfield, due to be played at Ware FC, was postponed.

DIVISION TWO
It was raining goals at Totternhoe as the home side romped to a 10-1 win over visiting MK Galacticos, and moved themselves up to 3rd place as a result. Joel McCormick led the way with a hat trick and Aidan Murray and Jonny Clarke both chipped in with doubles. Also on the scoresheet were Sean Bishop, Andy Cleere and Jack Lauder, whilst Juan Bosoka got GMK’s sole reply. Leaders Park View retained their unbeaten record after a 3-2 away win at Unite MK , with the hosts making a spirited comeback after going three down. The homesters were pushed all the way by the home side, for whom Luke Little scored both. The leader’s goals came from Bright Debra, Albert Ofori- Mensah and Javier Sanchez. Two goals from Marius Serwin helped second placed AFC Southgate keep up the pressure at the top after their 5-0 win at home to Berkhamsted Raiders, but Mursley Utd dropped a place to 4th after being held to a 2-2 draw at home to Tring Town. Adam Bone and Lewis Delahaye were on the money for Mursley whilst Ryan Shefras and Ashley Wadhams replied for the visitors. A second half hat trick from Ben Green helped Old Bradwell to a 6-0 away victory over local rivals Clean Slate. Tommy Cooke contributed two more and Peter Maxey completed the scoring. Grendon Rangers moved themselves out of the bottom two after their 4-1 win at home to Tring Corinthians. Joe Walls and Nathan Riddell put the Rangers into a two one lead at half time and they doubled their total in the second half with a brace from Mathew Ginger.

DIVISION TWO CUP – SEMI FINAL
Aston Clinton reached the South Midlands Division Two cup final on Saturday but had to go through the agony of a penalty shoot-out against Pitstone & Ivinghoe after ninety minutes of football could not separate the sides. A wet & windy afternoon greeted the two sides as they battled for a place in the showpiece final, on a pitch that looked fantastic considering the recent weather and beatings that local pitches take at this time of year.
An early goal from Lewis Workman looked to set Aston well on their way, however Pitstone dug in and equalised through Josh Webster before the break & both sides had chances to win it in regulation time but it took penalties to decide the tie. Aston didn’t miss, whilst their keeper Liam Smith pulled off one crucial save, and the final Pitstone spot kick crashed off the bar to send Jordan Kings side through to face league leaders Park View in the final on a date yet to be confirmed. Pitstone had the first chance when Albie Hall tried his luck from twenty yards but fired wide of Smith’s right hand post, before Workman saw a curling shot sail past Paolo Aquila in the Pitstone goal. However within a minute the Clinton leading scorer did open the scoring when he was fed in behind the home back line by David Brown and he made no mistake slotting past the advancing Aquila.
The hosts equalised on twenty-four minutes when a throw out on their right saw the Aston defence switch off and as the ball looked to be drifting out for a goal kick, the Pitstone winger refused to give up and pulled the ball back across the penalty area where Webster was unmarked and couldn’t miss.A long range shot from Elias Williams almost caught Aquila out when he slipped in the wet and had to desperately push away for a corner after his initial block left the ball open to attack in front of goal, and in the dying moments of the half Pitstone almost blew all their hard work when a defensive clearance was intercepted by David Brown and as he approached Aquila he had options to square however opted to shoot straight into the keepers gloves. H/T: 1-1
The second half started with Pitstone striker Kieran Doughty looping an effort from twenty-five yards narrowly wide of Smiths right hand post, before a throw to the visitors on their left was worked up to Brown who crossed to Vinny Greco who turned and drove over the crossbar.Aston missed a glorious chance on fifty-six minutes when Workman drove at goal before feeding Greco in the channel, he advanced into the area before squaring back to his striker partner who fired straight at Aquila. A Pitstone attack then broke down deep in the Clinton half, the ball fired up to Greco in midfield who in turn sent Brown scurrying away down the right, avoiding a tackle he crossed over to substitute Joe Kittle whose first time shot crashed off the crossbar and over for a goal kick. Hall had a chance for the home side when he found himself through on goal after a lucky ricochet but he could only fire into the waiting gloves of Smith, and at the other end a cross from Kittle saw a glancing header from Greco comfortable for Aquila to catch. A free kick from Greco was driven into the Pitstone wall, and a late header from Workman was never any real threat as the chances came and went. The away side had a very late chance in the game when a Pitstone corner was cleared long to Workman, as he bore down on goal he was marshalled all the way by Luke Williams who got in a superb tackle just as the Clinton man shaped to shoot, to deflect for a corner. Pitstone then saw Harry Elliott thump into the gloves of Smith from eighteen yards, and there was still time for Kittle to cut in from the Aston left and curl an effort into the hands of Aquila.
F/T: 1-1
With the rules of the competition already set, the game went straight to penalties, with Pitstone up first. Alex Groom sent Smith the wrong way, before Alex Bell levelled firing into the top corner. Doughty put the ball right into the bottom corner giving Smith no chance, followed by Kittle completely wrong footing Aquila to level.John Damian restored the Pitstone advantage firing into the bottom corner, and David Brown followed suit to level up again. Then up stepped Albie Hall to see his spot kick brilliantly saved one handed by Smith, before Greco stepped up left footed to give Clinton the lead. With Pitstone now having to score, Ryan Mellor smashed his kick against the crossbar to send Clinton through to the final. F/T: 3-4 (on penalties)
Thanks to sportsshots.org.uk for the above report.

SUBSTITUTE BOARDS;
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.

MIND YOUR LANGUAGE:
A 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. Non compliance with this Directive may well result in a charge being levied against your club.

LATEST TRANSFERS
Thomas Vandenbergh Harpenden – Ampthill Town
Gerad Martinez London Tigers – Biggleswade United
David Parkinson Colney Heath – Biggleswade United
Nathanial McCarthy Berkhamsted – Leighton Town
Jamie Sylvester Buckingham Athletic – Old Bradwell United
Nathan Dimmock Colney Heath – Codicote
Robert Newman Crawley Green – Ampthill Town
Dominic Fraser Stotfold – Colney Heath
Jarrad Isles Stotfold – Colney Heath
Joshua Murray Stotfold – Colney Heath
Frankie Atwell Wembley – Southall
Jamie Gilbert Biggleswade United – St Neots Town Res
Mark Ansell-Carter London Tigers – Stotfold
Zang Gangadeen Hadley – Wembley

CHANGE OF VENUES
There have been a couple of changes of club’s venues in the last couple of weeks.
Hatfield Town will be playing all their home games at London Colney for the remainder of the season. Assistant referees will no doubt be very pleased as they will no longer have to negotiate long jump or high jump pits in the course of their duties. Spectators will also be able to leave their binoculars at home.
Loughton Manor, with immediate effect, will now be playing all their home games at The Recreation Ground , the home of New Bradwell St. Peter.

Grateful thanks to Chris Mitchell, Bob Flight, Dave Henman, Tony Weight and Sports Shots for their reports.

All news, views etc welcome, particularly from our refereeing colleagues.
Enjoy your football and remember MIND YOUR LANGUAGE

Bill Scholes

bill@spartansouthmids.co.uk

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