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On a glorious Spring afternoon, we witnessed a day of high drama and ecstasy as three clubs were confirmed as this season’s first cup finalists.
Our roundup starts in the Premier Division Cup semi final where Eastside Rangers played host to Rainham Working Mens Club. With both sides looking to put indifferent league form behind them, this fixture came as a welcome relief in providing some respite from the battle to avoid relegation. What followed was a fantastically close encounter as the sides battled to a 2-2 draw, with Matt Humphreys and Tony Maynard on target for Rainham, meaning that the tie, and a resultant place at Dagenham & Redbridge in May, would be settled from the penalty spot. Nobody could have foreseen however that it would take a total of 32 penalty kicks to separate the sides as the 32nd spot kick was crucially missed by Eastside as Rainham booked their dream date in May! Rainham will now face either Cranes United or Chingford Town who feature in the other semi final.
Looking to also book a date in May were Division One Cup pair Vittoriosa Falcons and Blue Marlin who faced off in semi-final action of their own at Wanstead Flats. With Blue Marlin having already secured the league title a few weeks previous, all eyes were on them to see whether they could confirm a double. Third placed Falcons on the other hand were looking to be the party-poopers and make a second cup final appearance in consecutive seasons. Blue Marlin took an early lead and it was looking to be a blue day once again but Vittoriosa Falcons hit back in style to win comfortably 4-1 with Nathan Scarborough once again the hero for his side adding to Daniel Vearer’s strike to confirm their place in the final. Falcons will now face either St Johns Deaf or Northend in what should be a fascinating final.
In the Division Two Cup, another cracking looking tie saw Grove United play host to fellow in-form high-fliers Leyton Green in the semi final. Grove United’s own league crown was confirmed only seven days ago and they are now very much remain in the hunt for an incredible treble as they edged to a narrow 2-1 victory over Green to book a place in the final. Tom Blackmur and Matt Carmody were the men on target to carry Grove to victory.
The action was not confined to the cup competitions as, in the Premier Division, Melbourne Sports upset title-chasing Chingford Athletic with a 2-0 win as Anthony Hawe’s stunning long range effort added to a John Shubert effort from much closer to take the Mels to the nose-bleed heights of third position. Leaders May & Baker EC A took full advantage of their rivals slipping up by recording a comfortable 6-0 win against Chingford Town. Joshua Lowbridge grabbed a brace to go with strikes from Jack Boys, Jordan Harris, Kane Messenger and Carl Patten to keep Baker nine points clear of Athletic but from three games more. The destiny of the league title will now surely rest on the deciding fixture on 2nd May as May & Baker EC A host Chingford Athletic in Dagenham. St Francis secured a massively important win for themselves at Newham Res as brace apiece from Jake McMullen and Charlie Rood saw them win 4-0 and move out of the relegation zone on goal difference. Chingford Harriers will need a positive result from their final fixture of the season following a 4-1 away defeat at Cranes United consigning them, temporarily at least, to eleventh position despite Adam Fernandi’s strike.
There was just a single game in Division Two where Singh Sabha Barking ended their season on a positive note with a 3-0 home win against St Francis Res, a result which secures a credible sixth place finish for the hosts in a high quality division this season.