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County football heads toward a thrilling finale

[T]ake a deep breath. What a wild week in Westmorland football that was, with the leaders of all three divisions coming unstuck!

On Monday night in Westmorland League Division Two, the match between Dent and Windermere SC Reserves ended up a 1-1 draw, and Langwathby United were hammered 1-6 at home by Keswick Reserves, with the Keswick goals from a Charlie Robson penalty, Jake Sampson, Adam Gaskell, a Langwathby own goal, Cam Ball and Kyran Bertram.

In a very high scoring match, Wetheriggs Utd Reserves edged a win over Braithwaite with a 7-6 scoreline. The Wetheriggs goals came from Dan Lowes, Anthony Bailey, Alex Johnson (2) and a hat trick from exciting young prospect Stu Forrester. In a match that had sunshine, a snow storm and hail, BFC were 4-0 down after 15 minutes, but pulled back with goals from Jack Farley, Charlie, Andrews, Shane Smith, Matthew Fidrmuc, Aaron Stafford, Scott Howard and an Wetheriggs own goal (although Wetheriggs admitted to three own goals!). But BFC’s tally was one short of Riggs’ tally, and a win is a win, so all three points went to Wetheriggs!

One Monday in Westmorland League Division Three, Ambleside United Reserves had a very useful 5-0 win over Penrith Royal to move them up to eleventh – and United have games in hand and could have easily got to mid table by the time the season ended, if there wasn’t a curious twist in the tale. Sedbergh Wanderers Reserves picked up another 3 points with a 3-1 win over Penrith Town, with the goals coming from Daniel Mason and a brace from Chris Milburn

Tuesday was the turn of Division One with four league fixtures, including fourth placed Windermere SC at home to title challengers Pirelli, who have a packed mid week run-in after numerous early season Saturday cancellations. And in an eight goal epic, Pirelli had this 3-5 to go top of the League, with Pirelli’s goals from Jordan Irving, Matty Story, Ry Gill and two for Jamie Hull. Third placed Appleby won 4-1 at Ambleside United, Kendal County Reserves edged a 3-2 win over Penrith Reserves, and Sedbergh Wanderers lost 0-1 to Wetheriggs Utd, with the Wetheriggs goal from young Lewis Windle.

On Wednesday Division Two had another batch of evening matches and Greystoke had a useful result over Dent, coming out with a 4-2 win. Kendal Utd Reserves lost 0-2 to Keswick Reserves and goals from Cam Ball and Charlie Robson put Keswick into ninth spot, with eight placed Dent now in their sights. Ullswater United lost 0-4 to Eden Thistle, and Windermere SC Reserves reversed the form book with a 3-0 over Castletown United who dropped into fifth spot as Thistle moved back into fourth.

Division Three also had Wednesday evening matches and Ambleside Utd Reserves were at home to table toppers AFC Carlisle, and AFC won this match 1-7 and looked like champions as they were six points clear of second placed Appleby Reserves, who had two games left to play, and AFC have a superior goal difference (plus eighteen!). A draw in AFC’s final game on Saturday would guarantee the title – but curious news was on the way. Kirkoswald Reserves beat Penrith Royal 2-1 and Sedbergh Wanderers Reserves lost 0-1 to fourth paced Ibis Reserves.

Division One had two Thursday evening matches, and in the potential League decider, it was challengers against champions with Pirelli at home to Keswick. This was a ‘must win’ game for Keswick, but Pirelli won this by a tight 1-0 as Keswick were left to rue missed chances, leaving the Carlisle side top of the table and now five points clear and with two games in hand. In the other Division One match, Kendal County Reserves lost 0-4 at home to Kirkoswald. Braithwaite were also in action on Thursday, at home to Langwathby United but lost this 3-4, giving Langwathby three much needed points.

Richard Addison scores for Appleby against Pirelli (Colin Watson)
Richard Addison scores for Appleby against Pirelli (Colin Watson)

And finally to Saturday, with all of the top three teams were in action in Division One. In another critical match, it was third against first with Appleby at home to Pirelli, and having beaten Pirelli in the High Sheriff’s Cup Semi Finals last weekend, Appleby did it again, and won this match by an astonishing five goals, yes 5-0, with those goals from Jordan Crawford, Dan Robinson, Richard Addison, Charlie Addison-Adams and Josh Addison-Adams. So in an extraordinary late season surge, Appleby have defeated Keswick in the Benevolent Trophy final, reached the High Sheriff’s Cup Final, and put up a block Pirelli’s run in for the title.

On the news that Keswick had won 0-1 away at Sedbergh Wanderers thanks to an Andy Rigg goal, Keswick could still win the title, but only if Kendal County Reserves can beat Pirelli twice in the two upcoming midweek marches, and Keswick then beat Pirelli at home in the last game of the season next Saturday. Unlikely, but possible!

Elsewhere, Wetheriggs Utd beat Kendal County Reserves 2-0 at Gilwilly Rec, a Kendal own goal and an Alex Johnson strike sealing the win for the home side and putting them into fifth, and Kendal United defeated Kirkoswald with a 0-1 away win, with United’s captain Bailey Kenny scoring with an excellent header.

Endmoor KGR's goal scorer Connor Crawshaw-Collins (Ben Challis)
Endmoor KGR’s goal scorer Connor Crawshaw-Collins (Ben Challis)

In Division Two, both of the top two had away games, with Kendal United Reserves hosting Shap, and Keswick Reserves at home to Endmoor KGR. The big news was that Shap lost out 4-1, a real blow to their title chances, as Endmoor walked away with all three points from Fitz Park with a 2-4 win. Shap will be regretting a game which saw them go 0-1 up, before goals from Shaun Sorrenson (2), Brett Walker and Calvin Hunter-Dale for the in form Kendal Reserves sank the boys in black and white. At Fitz Park the Endmoor goals came from Connor Crawshaw-Collins, Nathan Dixon, a Keswick own goal and James Holton, and Keswick’s goals were from Charlie Robson and a Dave Gaskell penalty. Shap have one game left to play and are on 61 points. KGR have three to play and are on 60 points. Kendal United Reserves are in third.

Eden Thistle’s miserable end of season continued with a 5-2 defeat by Dent, Staveley United had a 1-0 win over Greystoke, Ullswater United were hammered 2-10 at home by Castletown United putting Castletown into fourth, back above Eden Thistle. Castletown’s goals were from Jonny Murray (4), Ryan Gate (2) and one each for Liam Robinson, Ewan Willacy, Jamie Street and Joe Oliver. Finally, Windermere SC Reserves drew 2-2 with Carleton Banks.

In Division Three, Endmoor KGR Reserves were at home to AFC Carlisle, but AFC were facing up to the news that they had suffered a six point deduction by the League after a previous game against Ambleside United Reserves was misreported to the League as a 0-1 AFC win on the 25th March, and the sanction removed AFC from the top of the table and demoted them into second place. Ambleside also had points deducted. This week AFC did win with a 1-4 victory, but on the back of a 2-5 win over Ambleside Utd Reserves, Appleby Reserves look set to take the Division Three championship now, although if Appleby lost their last match and Carlisle won, Carlisle would take the title on goal difference. Both have a final game against now second to bottom. Ambleside United Reserves. Third placed Ambleside Town had a comfy 7-2 win over Penrith Saints FC, and Burneside Reserves demolished Sedbergh Wanderers Reserves 8-0.

Niall Clifford speartheads a Penrith Academy attack against Lunesdale (Catherine Allen)
Niall Clifford speartheads a Penrith Academy attack against Lunesdale (Catherine Allen)

Lunesdale Utd and Penrith AFC Academy played out a very close match at Maurice Park, with Academy winning 3-4. Academy went into half time with a 0-1 lead from a Brendon Maddison strike. In the second half, Lunesdale equalised with a Michael Wilson left foot volley, and then Wilson put LUFC ahead for two minutes, before Penrith equalised for 2-2 from a powerful long range effort from Shaun Askins that went under LUFC ‘keeper Adam Ingledew. Niall Clifford then put Academy ahead when he squeezed his shot in from a tight angle, and Penrith made it 4-2 with Maddison’s second goal, before LUFC substitute Ben Moss pulled a goal back for 3-4 with seconds to go.

In the Smurfit Kappa Cumberland County League there was just one Premier Division mid week match where Cockermouth met Wigton Harriers at home, with Wigton looking for a win to go into second place in the league, and Cockermouth just looking for a result to salvage their season, which was made all the worse by Mirehouse’s sudden departure from the Division, leaving them in second to last place. but this was Wigton’s night with a 0-4 away win, to go second.

On Saturday it was the final two Premier Division matches, with bottom side taking Whitehaven Miners taking on Cockermouth, and Cockermouth’s season end disappointment continued with Miners winning 3-0. Workington Athletic, already champions, had Silloth AFC at home, with the Seagulls needing a win to have the chance of securing the runners up spot which was theirs to take by leapfrogging Wigton. But this ended as a 4-4 draw. Athletic took the lead, but Silloth pulled a goal back from Andrew Trestianu, and then Athletic went ahead again and went into half time 2-1 up. Stuart Gray then scored his second for Workington to put the home side 3-1 up, before Shaun Clark scored for the Seagulls to make it 3-2, and then Athletic extended their lead again from Matthew Perry to make it 4-2. Silloth brought on Dan Foster came in defence to replace Stuart Johnson and Adam Carr clawed another goal back for 4-3. In the last minute Gray, tripped Trestianu in the box for a penalty and Nico Watt slotted home the equaliser. For Athletic, both Gray and Perry bagged a brace. The final table is Workington as champions with 32 points, Wigton second with 24, Silloth third with 23 points on goal difference, above Apstatria (23), Carlsile City (23) and Netherhall (22) in fourth, fifth and sixth places.

Next weekend Silloth face Bransty Rangers in the Benevolent Cup Final (6th May) and on the 13th May Workington face Bransty in the Ken Glover Memorial Shield. On the 20th May, Workington face Wigton in the GMB Whitehaven Cup. Depending on results, and with the Smurfit Kappa Conway Cup already won, Workington could win the League and three trophies – but there again – Bransty could pull of an impressive double! All three finals are at the Falcon Ground in Egremont.

In Division One, on Tuesday night Windscale lost 0-3 to Cleator Moor Celtic, with Cleator Moor now just two points behind league leaders Frizington Whitestar with two games to go, one of which is the May 10th fixture between the two teams which may well decide the top two spots. On Wednesday, Bransty Rangers had basement side Whitehaven Miners Reserves at home and demolished Miners 9-0 with hat tricks for Liam O’Pray and Ryan Cornish and one each for Michael Garroway, Stewart O’Pray and Kyle Jenkins

On Saturday it was the Hunday Manor Divisional Cup Final at the Falcon Ground, wiyh Cleator Moor Celtic facing up to Borough. Cleator went ahead 1-0 and Borough then pulled a goal back just before half time. The game was decided in the last twenty minutes and it was Borough who won this with a 3-1 victory with goals from Andrew Marshalsea (2) and Liam McCullough to give the Workington lads some silverware to end the season with. Cleator Moor are of course are still challenging for the Division One title, and were runners up on the Conway Cup.

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