Cumbria Crack

County football goal rush

Keswick attack the Kirkoswald goal (Ben Challis)
Keswick attack the Kirkoswald goal (Ben Challis)

[R]ain led to the cancellation of a number of county football fixtures across Cumbria, but it was still a busy weekend of soccer with plenty of goals.

In the Smurfit Kappa Cumberland County League Division One, three out of the four fixtures were postponed (Cleator Moor Celtic v Borough, Whitehaven Amateurs v Whitehaven Miners Reserves and Windscale v Unisun) with only the high scoring game between Gosforth and Bransty going ahead. In the Premier Division, league leader’s Carlisle City’s match with last year’s champions Workington Athletic was postponed.

With no games at all in Division Two of the Westmorland League (a mixture of waterlogged pitches and Junior Cup fixtures) and games at Ibis (vs Appleby) and Sedbergh (vs Penrith Reserves) postponed in the top flight, Keswick v Kirkoswald was the headline fixture from the two surviving matches in Division One.

For 75 minutes, current League champions Keswick were on top in this match, cruising to victory with two goals from the inform Declan Robinson, and a superb strike from Lewis Cumber making it 3-0. But on 75 minutes Kirkoswald got a goal back from Sean Elliott, and the last fifteen minutes were a scrappy affair for Keswick, with Kirkoswald coming close a couple more times, and only solid defending by Sam Reilly and Stuart Downson kept the home side safe.

Keswick are now five points clear at the top of the League. In the only other First Division One match, Kendal United eased past Windermere SC 2-1, putting an end to the South Lakelanders’ recent run of good form, but Winderemere remain in third place, behind Appleby in second whose game was postponed.

Saint's Stephen Kerr saves from AFC's David Barnes (Ben Challis)
Saint’s Stephen Kerr saves from AFC’s David Barnes (Ben Challis)

In Division Three, top of the table AFC Carlisle were at Frenchfield for a match with bottom of the table Penrith Saints. And Saints went down 5-0 after a devastating opening patch for the home side. Within ten minutes, AFC were 4-0 up. David Barnes opened the scoring, before Jack Crowther headed in superbly from a Dixon cross.

Barnes then scored his second after a great pass from Mason, and got his 3rd in five minutes for a hat trick after taking on a the Saint’s defence before a neat finish. Dan Dixon got AFC’s fifth and final goal from just outside the area in the second half after some resolute defending from the Saints stopped the threatened rout.

Penrith AFC Academy continued their recent run of good for with a 7-0 win over Ambleside United Reserves. Despite playing some good football, Penrith Academy lost five out of their first six matches at the beginning of the season, but since a narrow 4-3 loss to Ibis Reserves, Academy have turned their season around, with three wins and a draw – including a 1-0 away win over Ambleside just four weeks ago.

And this was another good result for the Penrith youngsters – a great victory and it could have been more: in the first 15 minutes Academy missed two clear chances, hit the post and Connor Shields missed a penalty. But then the home side got seven – the goals coming from Jack Lloyds, Brad Shearer and five from Shields.

In the other two Division Three matches, Penrith Town lost 1-3 to Sedbergh Wanderers Reserves. The visitors goals came from Dan McCandlish and a brace from Liam Mason and Sedbergh keep climbing up the League Three table, now with three wins out of their last four League matches. In the final Division Three match, Penrith Royal moved up to fourth place with a 3-5 win over Burneside Reserves, and the boys in purple are now snapping at the heels of the top three, third placed, Ambleside Town, second placed Appleby Reserves and AFC Carlisle.

In the Smurfit Kappa Cumberland County League Premier Division there were three fixtures: it was more bad news for Cockermouth, whose early season form has deserted them, and following recent away defeats by Workington Athletic and Carlisle City, they slumped to a 1-6 home defeat by Silloth that leaves them with just 11 points from 11 matches and in seventh place – a long fall for the early season table toppers.

Netherhall repeated their County Cup victory from last week with another win over Mirehouse, this one a 4-1 win. In a search to find a playable pitch, the game between Whitehaven Miners Reserves and Aspatria was moved to the 3G pitch at the Lakes College, and Aspatria took home all three points with a 5-1 win, with goals from William Hodgson, Matty Prior, Malcolm Graham, Darryl Creighton and Bradley Williamson.

Aspatria are now second in the League – just three points behind Carlisle City, whose game was postponed. Silloth move up to third, equal on points with Workington Athletic in fourth, but Athletic now have a game in hand.

The First Division fixture list may have been reduced to just one match – but what a corker it was! Gosforh could have topped Division One with a win, but in an eleven goal battle, home side Gosforth scored five, but Bransty Rangers got six courtesy of a hat trick for Stewart O’Pray, one each for Liam O’Pray and Connor Holliday and a Gosforth own goal.

The Gosforth scorers were Greg Bedford and James Woodall, each with a pair, and another own goal, this one from Bransty. The 6-5 win moves Bransty into third spot in Division One. Gosforth stay second, and Cleator Moor Celtic hold on to top sopt.

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