It’s hotting up at the top of all divisions
ATLETICO Europa and Lawson Park Rangers appear to be the favourites to be fighting it out for the Premier Division title at the end of April, after beating close rivals Queensmen and Oakley respectively on Sunday.
Atletico won 2-1 at Lawrence Park, whilst Rangers defeated long time leaders Oakley 3-1 at Jubilee Park. Oakley took the lead on 55 minutes in a scrappy, tight game.
However Charlie Betts equalised very soon afterwards, and Darren Allen scored with a thumping header from an Aron Izzard cross. Man of the match David Powell made the game safe when he slotted the ball into the Oakley net.
It was a double celebration for the Rangers’ manager Dan Jones who has been adjudged the Britannia Harrison & Rowley Manager of the Month, after his team’s unbeaten record during January in the league and a tough County Cup quarter-final game.
Elsewhere in the top division, Esquires continued their excellent form of late by beating Caldecote Young Boys 2-1 and London Road Supreme picked up two useful points at home to Haynes, winning with the only goal of the game.
The First Division boasted a mighty encounter between Constant & Co and Meltis Mexicans. In a game that Constant could not afford to lose, they shaded the match but picked up only a point from the 1-1 draw to keep their hopes alive for the divisional title.
It was not until the half hour mark that the first goal went in. David Benson went clear and shot the ball into the Mexican’s net. Meltis forced an equaliser when Alleyne and Cook combined for the latter to smash home from eight yards.
Constant came under more pressure then but Meltis had no luck after Joswiak headed against the bar and had another header parried by the keeper only for Alleyne to miss the rebound. Constant almost got the winner in the last minutes, but the ball was blazed over the bar.
Meanwhile, Sharnbrook Casuals were thrashing Bird in Hand 8-1 and continue to have an excellent chance in the mix with the Mexicans and Constant. In the only other match in this division, Old Hastingsburians and pitch-sharers Kempston Hammers fought out a 2-2 draw.
Kempston Sunday have hit a sticky patch in the Second Division. This week they went down 1-0 to Wootton Wanderers after also losing last week in the County Cup.
New Inn Biggleswade appear to have suffered a hangover after their excellent win last week in the County Cup, managing only a point at home to Marston Reds, who themselves have been in very erratic form of late.
New Inn were below par but David Sells lightened the proceedings when he cut in from the left wing and unleashed a 20 yard shot into the Reds’ net. Almost immediately Marston attacked and levelled the score.
The Inn dominated most of the second half but despite a number of good chances the score remained tied to the end of the game.
Eagle Heating continue to creep to the top of the division after another emphatic win, this week it was 7-3 against Sharks. Ship Inn appear to be floundering at the bottom end of the division after Crown Flitwick launched an eight goal broadside with no returning fire from Ship.
Mowsbury Athletic got back to winning ways in the Third Division after beating Black Tom Rangers 6-3 at Mowsbury Park. But it took Athletic time to get going, going two goals down in the first 30 minutes, giving emergency stand-in keeper David Carr a torrid time.
Mowsbury finally got it together and equalised by half time. Black Tom took the lead again but Athletic made it three-all, and went on to rifle in three more goals in 15 minutes to finish the game well ahead. Andy Klein and Jack Cordell scored two apiece with Lui Spinelli and James Petty, on his debut, netting the others.
Renhold had another wobble, dropping a point at struggling Dunton Reserves. Bedford Allsters continue along in their topsy-turvy season by this week losing heavily 6-0 at Flitwick Eagles.
Old Boys are well in the hunt at the top end but made hard work of beating Wells Stars 4-3. This was Old Boys’ fourth win out of four this year giving Adam Piper a decent shout for the Manager of the month award.
It started poorly for the Boys when Wells scored first. A sight one doesn’t see very often then occurred when Adam Piper found himself ‘one on one’ with an opposing keeper, but he used his vast experience to slot the ball home to level the scores from a Paul Sims through ball.
The second half saw Wells concede an own goal to give Old Boys the lead but then let it slip allowing Wells to score twice more to make it 3-2 to the Flitwick side.
Boys’ substitute Steve Wilkins drove home his first touch to get the teams level and another substitute Mark Weir tapped in the Boys’ winner from a Michael Fry cross.
In the other game in this division, Caldecote Young Boys Res continued their good form in beating Salento 7-4.
Gardeners Arms are looking the favourites to lift the Fourth Division trophy after beating their close rivals Bedford Panthers at Everton. It ended 3-2.
Grafton Celtics followed up their excellent County Cup win last week with a 5-3 away win at Bellini’s. Howoever but it was a struggle with Grafton not playing anywhere near their optimum.
But Celtics went 5-0 up and conceded two goals in the last five minutes of the game. Sam Stewart scored a hat-trick for Grafton with the other two goals coming from Andy Harding and Kevin Malone.
M & DH Clapham kept themselves in the hunt with an 8-1 hammering of Bedford Albion.
Moor Lane Meltis are still not out of the title race especially after crushing BMC 7-1.
Bird in Hand Lower Stondon have done well in their second season in the league making themselves comfortable mid table after a 3-2 victory against Embankment.
Shillington Pirates and AC Atletico met in the quarter-final of the Beds FA Sunday Centenary Cup and the result went in accordance with league table positions, the Pirates winning the game 3-2.
Meanwhile in Division Five, with two contenders for the top on County Cup duty, GNG took their opportunity to strengthen their position with a 3-1 win against Harrold & Carlton Reserves.
Santaniello’s took their disappointing Cup exit out on bottom club Kempston Wanderers, scoring 12 of the 16 goals on show at Moor Lane, and Goldington Rangers beat Sandy Badgers 3-2 to record a winning January for their new team.
Fox and Hounds Clapham got back to winning ways with an emphatic 7-1 win at Sir William Peel.
The Peelers took the lead after only three minutes with a bit of good fortune when an own goal was conceded.
There the luck deserted them and Clapham went in at half time 5-1 up helped by a three minute spell when three goals were scored by them.
It was further downhill for the Sandy team when Clapham scored two more in the second half. Fox & Hounds’ Ashley Deverall was the torturer-in-chief with five goals, the other two coming from Michael Cook and Jason Ruff.
This Sunday is League Cup quarter-finals day in all three cup competitions tegether with a league programme.
The League is in need of new teams for next season and entry is absolutely free. Details from Russ Maddox on email [email protected] or 01234 404886. Clive Milton