Pirates miss out on cup final

Two of the League’s new clubs fought out an epic game of football in the semi-final of the M & DH Insurance Cup. Shillington Pirates hosted GNG Tigers at Greenfields, Shillington in a frenetic game which produced only one goal, but lots of goalmouth action and pitch-wide endeavour.

The pace of the Tigers was a constant threat, whilst the Pirates tried to play their football but were hurried out of their stride, and consequently forced into using the long ball instead of their passing game to feet. There was last ditch defending at both ends with the Pirate’s excellent keeper, Rees Lewis, being the busier of the two. In the first half GNG had the most opportunities to score but were wasteful.

Danger man Andrew Hayday hit the Tiger’s post and Shillington had their goal-post rattled also. There was no score at half-time although Nathan Allbury should have done better with a one-on-one situation with the Pirate’s keeper three minutes before the break.

The second half was a re-run of the first half, but with the Pirate’s playing more of their usual football, although GNG were a constant menace to Shilllington’s defence. With extra time looking most likely, Tigers scored with thirty seconds left on the clock. Midfield dynamo Hassan Yusaf produced a peach of a ball which was threaded through a square Shillington defence to Nathan Allbury who hooked the ball into the Pirate’s net past the oncoming Lewis.

That was it, the Pirates felt the sting in the Tigers’ tail and had no time to react.

Now GNG will meet M & DH Clapham Sunday in the Cup Final at the end of April. Clapham beat Grafton Celtics three / nil in their semi-final at Moor Lane, Bedford.

There were several league games going on at the same time. In the Premier Division, the top two clashed at Jubilee Park, the game ending all square at one apiece. Atletico took the lead through Ben Flatters in the first half, and Sam Bedingfield equalised for Rangers after the break. An excellent goal-line clearance by Atletico prevented Mark Reed winning the game for Lawson Park at the death. This means that Atletico Europa are still top with Lawson Park Rangers one point behind but with a game in hand. These two clubs and Oakley appear to be the only ones vying for the title at the end of the season. Oakley did not play this week but are only one point behind Lawson Park. Haynes are in fourth place despite losing two / nil to bottom placed Dunton Sunday. Esquires drew at London Road Supreme. Queensmen returned to winning ways with an eight / three tally at home to Caldecote Young Boys, and this should start Queens moving up the table with their games in hand.

Meltis Mexicans, Sharnbrook Casuals and Constant & Co. are in fine fettle for the run-in to the end of the season in Division One. They all won this week against Old Hastingsburians, London Road Supreme Reserves and Newtown Rangers respectively. The Mexicans and Constant have Cup semi-finals coming up so it is anybody’s guess whether this will adversely affect these two teams and let Sharnbrook in for the title. It is that close. Meltis were two / nil up at half time through Scott Alleyne and Danny Pilgrim. Pilgrim scored his second and the Mexican’s third in the second half with Old Hastingsburians reducing the arrears ten minutes from time. Bird in Hand hammered 21st Century six / nil to put Bird safely into mid table. Kempston Hammers continue to pick up points near the bottom, this time relieving the pressure by beating Stewartby four / one.

Kempston Sunday now lead Division Two, leaping above second placed Eagle Heating by ending Eagles’ winning run with a six / one away win. Eagle were on top in the first half and scored their goal through Dan Tyler after twenty-five minutes. Bazz Clarke and Paul Carey went close for Eagle but it remained the same score until half-time. Kempston forced a number of corners in the first half but could not capitalise on them with goals. The second half was a different story, the catalyst being a ‘Moule mauling’ at half-time to gee up the team. Reportedly the second half was Kempston’s performance of the season. Kempston rattled in six goals without reply, leaving the Eagle manager scratching his head in bewilderment. Stacey Field was Kempston’s star with three goals, with Shaun Winconeck pulling his weight with two goals. Jordan Jarrold supplied both Winconeck goals with some excellent wing play, and Jordan rounded his game off nicely when he scored a goal of his own from a long throw-in which he flicked into the net. Wootton Wanderers continue to impress, now lying third after their four / nil win at Drager United. New Inn Biggleswade are threatening in fourth after beating Crown Flitwick four / two, and they have sufficient games in hand to top the table. Ship Inn won their first game of the season, but remain in bottom place. Marston Reds were the visitors to Bedford Park and lost two / one. Cranfield beat Sharks three / nil to ease their problems near the bottom, but Sharks are still only a point off the bottom two.

Old Boys and Caldecote YB Reserves are both on course to finish the season at or near the top of Division Three. Old Boys beat bottom club Dunton Sunday Reserves three / one with a goal from Michael Kirby and a brace from Darren Watts. The Boys’ have games in hand over all the teams above them, as have Caldecote who won this week four / two at Wells Stars. Mowsbury Athletic, who began the season well, have fallen away, this week losing three / two at home to Flitwick Eagles in a game in which Mowsbury played poorly, and all five goals were reportedly ‘sloppy’. Bedford Allsters are coming in with a late run of form. They thrashed Black Tom Rangers eight / nil but may have left it too late to lift any silverware this season.

Gardeners Arms Biggleswade are in the driving seat at the top of Division Four but Moor Lane Meltis and M & DH Clapham are leading the pack of others still capable of ending up in the frame for silverware. Gardeners beat local rivals Rose Biggleswade one / nil at Stratton Way to dent the Rose threat, whilst Moor Lane Meltis kept their end up by getting both points off Bedford Albion, winning four / nil. Bedford Panthers also kept in the hunt with a five / nil victory over bottom club Embankment.

With GNG Tigers and Shillington Pirates doing battle in the League Cup, Goldington Rangers grabbed two more points to extend their lead over the favourites at the top of Division Five. Rangers trounced bottom club Kempston Wanderers eight / nil. Meanwhile, second placed Sandy Badgers scored six of the ten goals in the game against Santaniello’s. Shillington and GNG have games in hand but they do have to meet each other in April, and Sandy Badgers have to play GNG twice, which could have a bearing on where the divisional trophy will end up. AC Atletico got a welcome two points after defeating Sir William Peel one / nil to put the Peelers in peril in the bottom two, and Bedford Cupids made themselves safe by beating Harrold & Carlton Reserves by the same score. H & C are not out of the woods yet.

On Sunday there are just league games on the fixture list.

Clive Milton.