[P]irelli have one hand on the Westmorland League trophy after winning 3-0 against third placed Appleby, whilst current league leads Keswick could only manage a 1-1 draw at home against Kendal United. As the League stands, Keswick are still on top with 43 points from 18 games, but Pirelli are just one point behind on 42 points from 15 games, and Appleby are now a distant third and have 37 points from 18 games after their defeat.
The match at Pirelli Sports Field was a scrappy game on a bobbly pitch, and like other Saturday matches suffered from windy conditions which suit very few teams. Jordan Irving tapped home the opener for Pirelli from a Matty Story cross, but then Appleby missed a big chance to get back into the game when Pirelli’s goal keeper Luke Miller saved a penalty to keep the score at 1-0. Scott Priest made it safe for Pirelli with two class strikes from outside the box with his left foot. The title is now Pirelli’s to lose, or to win.
Keswick went into their match with Kendal United knowing that only a win would do, but missing most of their regular attackers, with strikers Richard Bannister and Declan Robinson out injured, and Andy Rigg unavoidably away. They were similarly depleted in defence with Stuart Dowson injured and Sam Reilly starting, but with injuries. But let’s be fair, this time of the season it’s the same for everyone, and Simon Hansen’s Kendal were in the same boat, with their leading striker another injury omission, and their regular centre back suspended.
The positives were that Keswick did have Chris Rowley back for his first game of football in six months, and new signing Connor Hammell in fine form, and Kendal had some excellent youngsters available. The first thirty minutes were a very well matched affair, with both sides having possession and launching attacks, although Keswick certainly had more chances, even against a blustery wind that funnelled down the pitch against them. With Thomas Atkinson mostly on his own up front, Keswick missed numerous chances, and the Kendal defence held firm.
Keswick kept up the pressure in the second half but were faced with Kendal’s young ‘keeper Luke Hansen who was in top form, pulling off a number of excellent saves. But Keswick now had the wind behind them, and on 50 minutes Atkinson waltzed round Hansen and a United defender to find himself in front of and empty goal, and with Jamie Little on his right, Atkinson tapped the ball in for 1-0. Kendal immediately responded, and drove towards Dan Gaskell’s Keswick goal with a shot fired just wide across the box and past the left hand post.
Kendal now took control of the game. with their 17 year old captain Bailey Kenny running the Kendal midfield with quality and experience beyond his years, and Kendal deservedly equalised on 70 minutes from a Matt Kennedy strike. Both teams then and had chances to win it as Keswick pushed for their much needed winner and Hansen showed some real skill and bravery in the Kendal goal, but in the end this was an excellent draw for Kendal, and two points lost for Keswick.
Elsewhere in Division one, Sedbergh Wanderers had 2 v 0 victory over Penrith Reserves, with goals from David Burton and Oliver Wales, and move into sixth. Wetheriggs United’s 1-0 win over Ambleside United from an Alex Johnson goal and sees the Penrith lads move into seventh in game that saw an Ambleside player taken off to hospital in an ambulance. Get well soon. Finally in division One, Ibis lost 1 -2 to Kirkoswald, with Kirkoswald now Fifth,
In the Mason & Freeman Cup Semi Finals, Castletown Utd won out 3-0 over Keswick Reserves on a very windy afternoon at Frenchfield. The Castletown goals came from Brad Shearer, Ryan Gate and Jamie Roper. The second Semi Final between Kendal Utd Reserves and Eden Thistle ended 0-0 after 90 minutes, and Eden Thistle had the best chance, with a last ditch clearance from Kendal’s James Wilson the only thing that kept United in the match. But at the beginning of extra time Kendal took the lead from a Declan Thompson penalty, and Sam Hunter added a second soon after that to win the tie in the first half of extra time on a food day for Kendal United.
In Westmorland League Division Two, Endmoor KGR now have to catch Shap, who took a seven point lead at the top of the table after a 5-0 win over Staveley United. But it wasn’t easy for Shap, and this game was goalless at 70 minutes and the visitors defended well. However in the last 20 minutes Shap picked up their game, and after the first goal went in the next four came in quick succession.
The Shap scorers were Tim Fraser, Ben Palmer and a hat trick for Jordan Palmer. And it was the chasing Endmoor who stalled, and what a stall, only managing a 0-0 home draw with basement side Langwathby United, who seem to have found some form late on in the season, drawing with Carleton Banks mid week and giving a good account of themselves against Keswick last week. Despite the draw, Endmoor can still catch Shap, just, but this is going to be a real battle now. Shap have four games remaining, and Endmoor seven.
Carleton Banks had a good 2-0 over Braithwaite to go fifth, and after six league losses in a row, Dent finally found some form and edged a 4-3 win over Ullswater United to go eighth. Finally in Division Two, Windermere SC Reserves lost out 1-3 to visitors Greystoke with Greystoke now eleventh and Windermere twelveth.
In Division Three, league leaders AFC Carlisle had no game, and second placed Appleby Reserves closed the gap on AFC with a 4-0 win over Penrith AFC Academy with goals from Andrew Butterworth, Roger Thompson, Scott Forrester and Josh Addison-Adams, but with only three games left for each side, a five point gap looks like too big hill to climb for Appleby, and third placed Ambleside Town are now too far adrift to catch AFC, despite a whopping 0-16 away win over Penrith Saints.
Lunesdale Utd gained revenge for a 4-1 loss at Burneside in February, winning out 2-0 at home at a bright and breezy Maurice Park, with goals from Thomas Jackson and John Wolstenholme and LUFC go sixth, equal on points with Burneside who are in seventh, and Penrith Town in eighth. Kirkoswald Reserves remain in thirteenth position after losing 1-3 Sedbergh Wanderers Reserves, who are now in tenth place after goals from Elliot Beagan, Ben Ferguson and Ben Thompson.