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(Thank you to Lamo the Lion for this weekend's headline photo)
PREMIER DIVISION CUP
It was a busy day in the Premier Division Cup competition on Saturday as the action continued with the completion of the first round matches alongside the second of the quarter-finals. The result of the day saw West Essex Reserves travel to Chigwell to take on leaders Colebrook Royals at the Grange. A competitive match ended at 1-1 with Ronnell Rochester netting for West Essex to carry the sides to a penalty shootout which West Essex prevailed from in a 5-4 scoreline.
In the day’s other first round action, Jolof Sports took on Blue Marlin once again, attempting to overcome a league defeat against the same opponents just a fortnight earlier. With this tie being played at Jolof’s East Ham base, they finally ended a poor run of results with a comprehensive 4-1 victory to send their side through to the semi-finals.
Booking a place in the semi-finals for the second consecutive season in this competition were United London who were on the road away at London Cranes for their last eight tie on Saturday, both sides eager to give themselves a shot at cup glory. Billy Teixeira and Harry Chalk found the back of the net for United but two goals from Cranes too ended the match at 2-2 to necessitate a another penalty shootout. In the end, United London were able to squeeze past the hosts, winning 8-7 on penalties.
DIVISION THREE CUP
The first of the Division Three Cup semi-finalists was confirmed on Saturday as New Star Soccer took on Custom House Community in Seven Kings as both sides battled for a semi-final place in an otherwise disappointing season. In a game of five goals, Connor Kingston and Muyi Akinsete both netted for Custom House but Nathan Bailey’s brace and an Alex Beveney effort sent New Star into the last four with a 3-2 win.
DIVISION FOUR CUP
In the Division Four Cup, the group stage is starting to reach it’s conclusion with a Avondale Rangers now assured of a place in the last four courtesy of results around them going in their favour. In the day’s Group A action, that rarity in grassroots football of a 0-0 draw prevailed in the match between Dagenham United Reserves and Debden Park with the former needing a victory from their remaining match give them a chance of a place in the semi-finals.
In Group B, there was a huge shock as league champions, Haver Town Reserves, slipped to defeat at home to Newham Royals in a 4-2 scoreline. Luke Waugh and Zak Robinson both scored for the hosts but four Royals strikes handed them the win. That gives Newham the faintest hopes of progressing on but they will rely on an unlikely Haver defeat by a huge margin in their remaining game to give them a chance.
Back to league action, there was a big clash affecting both ends of the table on Saturday which saw Lopes Tavares London on the road in Leyton to face Leyton Falcons, both sides needing points to enhance their respective campaigns. Indeed it was the visitors, Lopes, who will have gone home the happiest as they edged to a 2-1 win over Falcons to move third in the table with two matches to play.
There are new leaders in Division One following this weekend’s results as East Ham Inter reached the summit, making best use of previous leaders, Docklands Albion, being in cup action. Inter made the trip to Hackney Marshes to face Sporting Hackney Reserves looking to building on their victory over the same opponents before Christmas. That was exactly what they did as they ran out 2-0 winners.
There was also a shock defeat for promotion chasing Melbourne Sports who faced relegation-threatened Forest Green for the second consecutive week having knocked them out of the cup with a last minute winning goal last weekend. However this week, in league action the roles were reversed as Forest Green edged a seven goal thriller through strikes from Shaun Browne, Jonathan Landreth-Smith, Marcel Destouche and Adam Meragan in a 4-3 scoreline.
In a division packed with goals, it was therefore no shock to see ten efforts on the scoresheet in the game between Wapping and Three Colts. Wapping were able to net six of those ten in a result which carries them up three places in the table to third, while Colts remaining pinned in seventh place for a further week following this 6-4 reverse.
In the day’s remaining action, two of the sides who were looking over their shoulder prior to the start of Saturday’s fixtures saw tenth placed Cowley Community up against ninth placed Colebrook Royals Reserves. The three point gap that separated these sides was evaporated as Cowley cruised through to a 5-1 win as two goals from Takunua Ndadzungira and singles from Ryan Thompson-Cobham, Conor Harrington and Robert Cooper cancelled out a Chris Walling effort for the visitors.
In Division Two, there is no change at the top of the table this week as ACD United kept up their assault on the title with a comfortable 6-0 home victory against St Francis in Chadwell Heath. Scott Perkins paved the way to victory with a hat-trick with Ben Walker, Sam Payne and Michael Wade also in the act with a goal apiece.
Rainham Working Mens Club remain lurking behind the leaders by two points courtesy of a huge win at home against Forest Green Reserves on Saturday. The previous leaders therefore remain in the chase for a top-two finish aided by the 10-0 victory but it was a sad result for Forest Green which saw their relegation to the fourth tier confirmed having just four games and a fifteen point gap to overcome.
Remaining third in the table are United London Reserves who battled hard to a victory against seventh-placed Newham United Reserves in Plaistow. Connor Frost scored twice for the visitors adding to efforts from Ryan Stacey and James Dennis to secure a 4-1 win that maintains their outside hopes of promotion for another week at least.
United London’s position remains under threat however from the approaching Chingford Athletic Reserves who have made their ascent to fourth place in the table, two points off third, with matches in hand still. They didn’t get things all their own way at the weekend though, struggling through to a 2-1 win against Inter Plaistow as goals from Billy Harding and Jack Knowles overcame a Jason O’Hare goal from ten-man Plaistow.
And in the division’s remaining game saw Custom House visit’s to Leyton to face Lymore Gardens with both sides safely positioned in the middle cluster of sides in mid-table. Lymore Gardens made it nine wins from their sixteen league games so far with a comfortable 5-0 victory as both Ashley Godwin and Dushane Powell netted braces and a Dylan Roberts effort completed the scoring for the hosts.
It’s as you were at the top of Division Three with Chigwell clinging on to their leadership of the division following a narrow win at home to Redbridge Development on Saturday in Hainault. The hosts edged to a win by the odd goal in three in a 2-1 win to keep a two point gap over the second placed side, overcoming Jamil Shariffu’s goal for the visitors.
That second placed side are now FC Baresi once again as, now freed from the rigours of county cup football, they made use of one of their games in hand to move up a place as they played host to Frenford A. In a close match of just two goals, they were both scored by Baresi with Esat Saiti and Fusion Queta helping their side to the eventual 2-0 victory.
There was a stunning four-goal performance in the game between fourth-placed Kitroom and fifth-placed Chingford Harriers as Mark Makeri netted all four efforts for his Kitroom side, including a long-range opening goal, as they bounced back well from recent defeats to see off Harriers 4-2. Luke Edmead and Edwin Jabbari were the scorers with Chingford’s consolation goals.
And the theme of four goal performances was continued in the match between Glendale and Gatcliffe as the latter’s Chris Bird proved the difference between the sides on the day. Bird’s four goals added to Michael Desmond’s double and a debut strike from Ryan Parker to render Dales efforts from Leon Sterling and a wonder long-range volley from Zack Clark as just consolation in a 7-3 final scoreline.
In Division Four, there was just a single match but that saw a big change to the positions in the league table as Brook City kept up their quest for promotion with a sixth league win of the season. They took on second placed Royal Forest where just a single goal was scored by City to see their side up a number of places to fourth and in striking distance of a top two placed finish with four games to go.
We round off our action with the Essex Junior Trophy semi-final which saw Docklands Albion, the league’s remaining side in outside cup action, take on Olympian side Corinthians Under 21s in a tough match at Douglas Eyre in Walthamstow. Both sides went into the match with confidence following terrific seasons in their respective league campaigns and that was played out on the pitch in a tight encounter. With the sides level at 1-1 approaching the end, Corinthians broke Albion hearts with a later winner that sees them through to the final next month.