IN A game at the bottom of Division One, Steeple Ashton knew that avoiding defeat would secure their own survival in the division at the expense of visitors Calne Eagles.
However, Eagles claimed a hard-fought 2-1 win which keeps alive their hopes of maintaining their stay in the top division for another season.
Calne’s win was gained thanks largely to a brace of goals from striker Billy Gleed and a hat-trick of match-winning saves from their goalkeeper and captain Andy Windsor.
On a bobbly pitch Steeple Ashton, playing into a brisk wind, started brightly and forced a lot of early pressure.
They were denied an opening goal after only 10 minutes when Guy Rowley’s rasping volley from a corner kick was neatly tipped over the bar by Andy Windsor. Then after 12 minutes, another smart save by Windsor following a goal mouth scramble also kept Ashton at bay.
As the half wore on, Calne seemed to adjust to the pitch and their pace and energy in attacking areas started to show through.
It was this pace that led to the opening goal after 24 minutes, when a 60 yard clearance down field by full-back Tom Evans was headed on by Lawrence Elliott to his strike partner Billy Gleed, who finished coolly from eight yards out.
Gleed once again showed his predatory instincts before half-time when he latched onto a cross from Jake Goodwin to once again slot the ball past the goalkeeper from close range.
In the reverse fixture in February, Ashton recovered from a 3-0 deficit at half time to gain a valuable 3-3 draw. However, Calne were clearly determined to hold onto the lead this time around and despite playing into the wind, Eagles continued to match Steeple Ashton.
Ashton did recover a goal after 65 minutes when Calne’s defence was caught square from a long clearance downfield.
Striker Kieran Stone raced through to pull a goal back with a neat finish.
With 10 minutes left, Stone had another good opportunity, when he once again got in behind Calne’s defence, but this time he was denied a goal by the legs of outrushing keeper Windsor.
At the other end, Leigh Haines, Jake Goodwin and Lawrence Elliott narrowly missed chances to extend Calne’s lead.
Semington Magpies 1 Freshford United 2
CHRIS Birleson’s long-time Division One tabletoppers Freshford United finally got to crack open the champagne bottles after a 2-1 victory at Semington Magpies was enough to see them crowned as champions for the first time since they beat Bradford United to the title back in the 2005/06 campaign.
In an evenly matched first 45 minutes that saw chances for both sides to take the lead it was Freshford who drew first blood when Jack Mitchell’s excellent through ball found Mark Gerrish, who turned his marker to drill home a brilliant goal from the edge of the area.
The second period saw Freshford get of to a flyer and they doubled their lead on 47 minutes, Mark Gerrish on this occasion turning provider for Chris Foley who fired home for 2-0.
Semington never gave up and they pulled a goal on 80 minutes through Mattie Jenkins but it proved to be a case of too little, too late as Freshford were able to see out time and wrap up the victory that handed them the title.
The Lamb FC 2 Trowbridge Wanderers 0
A 2-0 victory for The Lamb FC at home against bottom-of-the-table Trowbridge Wanderers means that Tony Stevens side can hold onto their dreams of finishing at runners-up to Freshford United for another week at least.
The Lamb take on Wanderers again next weekend in a match they must win and hope that other results go their way.
With neither side able to break the deadlock in the first half, the opening goal in the second period was always going to be important and it was Sam Stevens who made the breakthrough before a second for the same player sealed victory for the Lamb.
MATCH OFF: North Bradley v Westbury United Reserves.
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