HAVING seen their closest challengers Goatacre CC suffer a shock loss last weekend Division Two leaders Staverton were hoping to take full advantage of their slip-up when they visited Chippenham West End.
Despite being a man down the villagers took a 3-1 lead before two goals in the final minute saw them undo all their hard work as the West End fought back to claim an amazing 3-3 draw which is exactly how their earlier meeting back in September ended.
Josh Ferguson gave Staverton the early advantage before Scott Nash put West End on level terms before the break.
Staverton, who had Zac Manna sent off, regained the lead through Jason Povey and when Ferguson added his second of the morning to put Staverton into a 3-1 lead it looked as if it was game over for the hosts.
With seconds left Scott Nash grabbed his second of the game for West End and with one last throw of the dice and after a Staverton had given away a needless free kick, West End packed the box and the delivery fell to Jason Lovell who netted to earn his side a share of the spoils from a game they must have thought they had lost before the last-minute drama.
Southwick Wanderers 4 Kings Arms (All Cannings) 0
A 4-0 VICTORY for Southwick Wanderers over Kings Arms (All Cannings) saw them claim a third successive win. After success over relegation battlers Wren FC and Miller Sports, they were expected to face a stiffer challenge, but for Kings Arms their winless run is now at seven.
Pete Spong set Southwick on their way with a superb individual effort that saw him beat three players before firing home the opener.
Southwick doubled their lead when a delightful back heel from Paul Gittins played in Jack Parker for the second of the morning. Craig Sheppard then set up Gittins for the third of the morning and the scoring was completed in the second half when Spong added his second and Southwick’s fourth when he netted direct from a corner.
White Horse FC 6 Sutton Benger 4
AFTER last week’s defeat to Staverton a much-changed White Horse returned to winning ways against Sutton Benger, whose recent poor run continues.
Having produced eleven goals in the reverse fixture on the second weekend of the season the two sides produced yet another goalfest, but it was the Westbury side that once again came away the happier and with the two points winning 6-4.
Having come from 4-0 down last time around the Horse would have again feared an uphill struggle was on the cards as they made the worst possible start.
With under 30 seconds on the clock, and from an innocuous throw-in down Benger’s right flank, striker Chris Miles ran free of his marker, collected the ball and tucked it in Rich Hunt’s far-post before the keeper had even touched the ball.
Horse’s start to the game was as cold as the weather and it wasn’t until the 14th minute that they started to pose their first real threat of the morning, when Benger keeper Dan Young made an impressive double save from the heads of Chris Stiles and Tom Crawford.
It was the catalyst that the hosts had been looking for and within a minute they were back on level terms.
Danny Clarkson looped a ball into the penalty area, Crawford headed back across goal and Dale Rowland beat the keeper to it, poking home to return to the goal scoring form that had unusually deserted him a week earlier.
Having found their feet the home side grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck six minutes later, scoring twice in the space of 60 seconds.
Good work down the left by Clarkson and Gullis saw the latter cross for Crawford, whose sweetly struck first time effort flew past Young to make it 2-1 for the makeshift striker’s first goal of the season.
Before the visitors' defensive inquest had finished it was 3-1 as Rowland and Crawford combined clinically to set up another first of the season, this time for Craig Hatton-Pocklington who finished with impressive composure for a player who hadn’t seen any action since mid-October.
Young’s acrobatic save from Crawford just after the half hour mark was the last goalmouth action of a half that had gone with the form book.
The villagers nearly made the same instant impact at the beginning of the second period, only for Miles’ outstretched leg to come up agonisingly short of Matt White’s cross.
The reprieve was the inspiration the Horse needed and five minutes later a surging run into the opposition’s penalty area culminated in Rowland being upended and Crawford converting from the resulting spot kick to double his tally for the morning and make it 4-1.
Young saved well at full stretch to deny Rowland from long range just after the hour mark to keep his side clinging on by their finger tips, and real hope was ignited in the 66th minute when White got his head on to a speculative ball into the box and found the back of the net to reduce the arrears.
It was to prove a false dawn however, as within 10 minutes the Horse had wrapped the game up by scoring twice more.
Stiles got his regulatory headed goal, having got on the end of a Rob Hart freekick in the 71st minute and then Rowland put the result beyond any doubt five minutes later, finishing acrobatically after his own scuffed cross had been blocked at the near post to make it 6-2.
Jordan Gullis hit the crossbar with five minutes left for the hosts, but, with the game now won, his side shifted down a couple of gears and turned their attention to next week’s cup quarter-final, allowing the travelling side to score twice and add a degree of respectability to the final score.
With four minutes left Luke Watson burst through the offside trap and finished coolly, before substitute Karl Gibson became the grateful beneficiary of some slack marking at the far post to end proceedings, and make it 6-4 in the dying seconds.
Wren FC 2 Goatacre CC FC 3
AFTER seeing their title hopes derailed by last week's 7-0 loss to Somerford, Goatacre CC FC were tipped to return to winning ways with a victory at basement side Wren FC.
Although the cricketers got the win they were after their 3-2 success was a lot closer than they would have expected as they had won the reverse fixture 11-0 and they were really lucky to take maximum points from this game.
Matt Fenn gave Wren a shock but deserved half-time lead and when Chris Hancock put the bottom side two up it looked as if an upset was on the cards and Carl Murray’s side would at last get their first win of the season, however it wasn’t too be as Darren Holcombe started the Goatacre fight back.
Harry Warner got Goatacre back on level terms and they sealed their victory when Jif Wilkins shot took a huge defection off Ross Chrichton to wrong foot the Wren keeper and hand the cricketers’ a victory they didn’t really deserve.
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