GOATACRE CC FC have reclaimed a share of top spot in Division Two with Staverton after they took full advantage of their rivals' inactivity and claimed a 7-1 win at Southwick Wanderers which saw them move level on 18 points with Aaron Latchem’s side at the summit.
Goals from Jon Gale and Mike Coulson gave the Cricketers a 2-0 interval lead and after the break the visitors cut broke free of their shackles as goals from Darren Holcombe, Harry Warner and a second from Gale put them five goals to the good before Jack Parker replied for Southwick.
A second of the morning from both Harry Warner and Mike Coulson sealed victory for a Goatacre side who are now to be considered serious contenders for a top two placing along with Staverton and White Horse.
GRFC 3 Miller Sports 2
AN IN-FORM Miller Sports side suffered a 3-2 defeat at GRFC who, after four straight defeats, claimed a victory that moved them out of the bottom two at the expense of their opponents who find themselves in the drop zone for the second time this term.
GRFC made the perfect start and opened the scoring on three minutes when Robbie Burton scored from the penalty spot.
Miller went in search of an equaliser and were twice denied by the woodwork before GRFC increased their lead, Sam Myles firing home a stunner from 25 yards.
Nigel Decarteret got Miller back in the game before half time and Paul Walker restored parity in the second half, but it was Robbie Burton so many time the hero for GRFC in the past who popped up with their winner when he headed home a Sam Bendell cross 15 minutes from time.
Kings Arms (All Cannings) 2 Somerford FC 2
JUST three weeks after they met Kings Arms (All Cannings) and Somerford renewed their rivalries and an excellent advert for grass roots football saw the teams share the points as Kings Arms overturned a two-goal deficit to claim a 2-2 draw.
Chris Yeo put Somerford ahead and their lead was doubled by Dave Nolan who scored on his debut for Spike Chandler’s side.
Kings Arms gave themselves a lifeline just before the break when Luke Chant fired home.
The second half flowed from end to end with chances for both teams but the only goal of a thrilling half went to Kings Arms, Simon Drewitt and his 61st minute effort was enough to earn the hosts a deserved share of the points.
Sutton Benger 6 Wren FC 1
SUTTON Benger brought their five-match winless run to an end with a 6-1 victory over bottom of the table Wren FC who, after the opening 45 minutes, were drawing 1-1 and looking as if they could go on and claim their first win of the season.
Benger had the better of the first-half chances but failed to take any of them until the 35th minute when Mark Edwards burst down the wing and crossed for James Weston to score from a tight angle.
The Wren drew level just before half time when a good move resulted in Ben Buckley heading in a debut goal.
Benger started the second half with more purpose and regained their lead on 48 minutes with a superb curled shot into the top corner from Luke Todd.
Tom Bond scored from the penalty spot for 3-1 and number four came when a corner was flicked on at the near post was tapped in by Tom Merriman.
Another corner led to James Weston heading in number five and Jamie Cutting slotted the ball past the scrambling keeper for 6-0 after he pounced on a loose ball.
White Horse FC 7 Chippenham West End 0
WITH the two teams having not both played in the league on the same Sunday since the beginning of October due to cup commitments and postponements, the game at Leighton Sports Centre pitched the two sides that had played the fewest games in the division together, with both hopeful of keeping their promotion chances on track.
The contest was intriguingly poised with White Horse unbeaten at home in over 10 months and Chippenham West End having only suffered the one league defeat to date this term.
The first 45 minutes backed up the statistics, with White Horse somewhat fortunate to go in 2-0 up at the break, in what had been a fairly even half with chances aplenty at both ends.
However, as the second half unfolded, the visitors were to regret only having the bare XI to call upon as tired legs and frustration saw them succumb to a superior White Horse team, who ended up romping to a comfortable 7-0 victory, erasing the memories of the defeat at Goatacre three weeks previously.
Having only just arrived in the nick of time it was no surprise that West End stumbled out of the blocks and, with their hosts in no mood to break them in gently, they found themselves a goal behind with just 25 seconds on the clock.
A Jordan Gullis cross fell to Dale Rowland, whose shot from the edge of the area took a wicked deflection past stand-in keeper Paul Mannings.
With the guests clearly unsettled they somehow managed to cling on, as Rowland and Chris Stiles twice went close to adding to the lead in the first seven minutes.
Thankfully for West End they settled down and got themselves into the game, causing problems of their own.
The game was nearly all square in the 9th minute when Scott Nash picked out James Mulhall, only for his header to be acrobatically clawed away by White Horse keeper Rich Hunt.
It was the same two that continued to pose the greatest danger, Mulhall pulling the strings in midfield and Nash’s energy posing a constant threat to the Horse’s backline.
Nash was to waste the next opportunity of the match, stabbing wide in the 12th minute, having raced on to a long punt forward, before Mulhall’s clever dink was stabbed wide by Steve Coleman.
Testing Hunt continued to be West End’s biggest problem, Mulhall the next guilty culprit four minutes before the break, shooting wide from 15 yards.
The visitors were to rue the missed opportunities as White Horse finally managed to shake off the rustiness that had developed over the Christmas break.
Mannings did brilliantly to deny Rowland and then Pete Ayton in quick succession, but with a minute remaining in the half he was left helpless as Rowland’s free-kick was headed beyond him by Stiles, a sight the keeper was to get used to as the game went on.
The final chance of the half surprisingly fell to veteran Paul Whale whose outstretched leg was agonisingly unable to reach Ayton’s nod down.
After a cagey opening to the second period the Horse made it 3-0 in the 56th minute, Stiles finding himself with more room than he should have done from a throw-in and sending a sweetly struck right-footed half-volley into the far corner.
The goal saw West End heads drop and, despite Mike Murden heading against Hunt’s left-hand upright from a Coleman corner, the hosts began to up their game and turn the screw.
It was 4-0 in the 61st minute, when Stiles completed his hat-trick, latching on to a scuffed clearance, and 5-0 just five minutes later when Hunt’s goal kick was deftly flicked on by Rowland into the path of Ayton who fired home in typically bullish fashion.
Having seen the game ripped away from them, West End defied logic and, to great credit, dug deep, posing further questions of their own.
Nash caused confusion at the heart of the Horse defence and was only denied by the strong hand of Hunt, David Byatt rattled the crossbar with 19 minutes remaining and Nash was thwarted again by Hunt, having latched on to a crazy back pass from Gullis.
Knowing now that it wasn’t to be their day, the Chippenham side finally caved in as the Horse created chance after chance in the final minutes.
A sweet passing move, culminated in Tom Oakley teeing up Stiles for his fourth with 13 minutes left, Mannings denied Rowland a minute later as the striker latched on to substitute Andy Bartlett’s cross and soon after Gullis headed an Ayton cross over the bar.
It was left to Stiles to finish off proceedings and cap a stunning individual performance, completing his nap hand with seven minutes left.
In trademark fashion the midfielder lost his man and met Ayton’s corner with a bullet header at the back post to make it 7-0.
Although the margin of victory somewhat flattered the Horse, the win keeps them well and truly in the promotion race, the seven unanswered goals gives their goal difference a massive boost and their first clean sheet in over 15 months will fill them with confidence as they head into a series of crucial fixtures.
West End on the other hand will need to put the result behind them and bounce back quickly if they are to reignite any challenge of their own.
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