[I]t was a busy weekend in county football, with a feast of goals in both the Cumberland and Westmorland Leagues. In the first matches of 2018 in the James Cropper Westmorland League, Keswick kept top spot in Division One after a 2-1 win at home over third placed Endmoor KGR, with Keswick’s Karl Southern opening the scoring in the first half with a goal which was neutralised by a Connor Crawshaw-Collins equaliser for Endmoor at the beginning of the second half.
As Keswick laid siege to the Endmoor goal, Richard Bannister scored the winner with ten minutes to go. Appleby had an important away win at fourth Wetheriggs United with the visitors goals from a Bobby Atkinson hat trick and Anthony Lund, with Wetheriggs’ reply from Alex Johnson. Table topping Keswick and second placed Appleby are now well clear of the chasing pack in what looks like a two horse race for the title.
Penrith Reserves and Kirkoswald put on a highly entertaining game which ended in a 5-5 scoreline. In a hectic match, Penrith were 3-1 up, then 5-3 down, but a brace from Rhys Graham and one each for Kyle Mclean, Danny Burrus and a Hayden Wilson penalty were equal to KO’s five – two from Niall Renwick, two from Nick Jake Holden and one from Robbie Whitton at the Old Showfield.
Ambleside United pulled away from the relegation zone with a useful 4-0 home win over Kendal County Reserves, but Shap remain in bottom spot, losing 2-4 at home to Ibis. Ibis went ahead with two early goals, but Shap’s Jordan Palmer pulled two goal backs. A minute after Shap’s equaliser ibis added another and sealed the win with a fourth with Dan Jones, Cory Robinson, Josh Phizacklea and Shaun Askew on target for the visitors. Ibis move into fifth spot above Kirkoswald in sixth, Windermere SC in seventh, and Penrith Reserves eighth.
In Division Two, second placed Dent won out 3-2 at home to third placed Keswick Reserves. Dent went three-nil up in the first twenty minutes with a powerful attacking start and two goals from Sam Sedgwick and one for David Burton before Keswick found some shape on the half hour and began to get back in the game.
Just before half time Keswick’s Jamie Little found Dave Gaskell with a fine pass and Gaskell finished well. After a subsequent goal mouth scuffle, both sides were reduced to ten men after two red cards when the Dent ‘keeper and Gaskell were sent off by referee John Higgins. In the second half Keswick changed their formation, bringing on Charlie Robson, and with Keswick now dominant and Dan Fletcher controlling the midfield, Little scored from the penalty spot after Robson was tripped in the box. Keswick now would have been hoping for at least a point and pushed for the equaliser, but tired legs couldn’t find a way through the Dent defence and Dent held on for an important win.
With Carleton Banks having gone top over the holiday break when they were awarded a home walkover and all of the points for their 1-1 drawn game against Windermere SC Reserves at the end of November (where ‘Mere fielded an ineligible player) the Soccermoos now faced fifth placed Eden Thistle.
The visitors won this with a comfortable 1-4 scoreline, albeit after a tricky game in Carlisle, with the Carlton goals from Nathan Moore, Ryan Smith, Jake Briggs and a screamer Corrie Pearson and finally in the League, Kendal Utd Reserves are now clear in sixth place after a 3-1 home win over a hard working ten man AFC Carlisle side who opened the scoring from a Daniel Dixon goal but were reduced to nine men when player/manager Jonny Mason was sent off for a second yellow card from referee David Stones, with the Kendal goals from Matt Kennedy, Aidan Dent and Seph Webster.
In Mason & Freeman Cup, Castletown Utd progressed with a 4-2 hard fought win over Ullswater United. Ullswater put in good performance in the game at Frenchfield, and looked particularly effective on the break with a series of quick counter attacks keeping veteran ‘keeper Nigel McCombie on his toes, but a hat trick for Lamin Cham and penalty from Liam Robinson for Castletown proved too much for the visitors. In the other tie there were ten goals as Appleby Reserves demolished basement side Braithwaite FC 9-1 to progress to the next round of the Divisional Cup.
In Division Three of James Cropper Westmorland League, Ibis Reserves kicked of 2018 with a 4-1 home win over Sedbergh Wanderers Reserves with the Ibis goals from a Korkoey Fiamor-Young brace and one each for Nathan Chambers and Joe Dodds. Chris Ladds scored for Sedbergh. With Kirby Stephen’s match with Burneside cancelled with a waterlogged pitch, Ibis stay top with Kirkby Stephen in second spot.
Kirkoswald Reserves put three past Penrith Academy courtesy of Jack Lloyds, Ollie Allen and Malcolm Judge, and Penrith pulled two back from Kieron Hodgson and Taryn Reay for a final 3-2 scoreline. Kirkoswald are in third spot and Burneside fourth. And finally Langwathby United had another much needed win in another high scoring match, winning out 9-3 over Penrith Saints in a re-arranged fixture.
The Smurfit Kappa Cumberland County League had a smattering of cancellations with waterlogged pitches, but most games went ahead. In the Benevolent Cup Second Round, Aspatria had a 2-0 home win over Wigton Harriers at St Mungos Park with the goals from Darryl Creighton and Andrew Trestianu. And in the Quarter Final match it was the biggest scoreline of the day as Workington Athletic hammered 14 past an unfortunate UniSun with no reply.
There were four for Athletic from Connor Hammell, four from Matt Perry, a brace for Greg Armstrong and a brace for Greg Quayle and one each for Ash Kelly and Paul Benson. In Ken Glover Memorial Shield Second Round, Division One’s Pirelli had a 3-0 win over Premier Division side Netherhall with Jordan Irving (2) and Jamie Boyce scoring the goals for Pirelli.
In the Smurfit Kappa Premier Division, Carlisle City Reserves had a 2-1 victory over Cleator Moor Celtic Reserves, lifting Carlisle off bottom spot. Marc Gallimore and Reece Robinson scored for City and Rob Fowler scored for Cleator Moor.
The table is still dominated by Aspatria and Wigton, but third placed Workington Athletic have played three less than Aspatria and five less than Wigton and the defending champions are clearly in excellent form and will be looking to top the table once they catch up their games in hand. The game between Cockermouth and Silloth was postponed.
There was also one game in Division One, and Whitehaven Amateurs Reserves lost 1-3 to Borough at home. Jack Bunting scored for Whitehaven and Andrew Bezusko, Dave Thompson and Lee Wolfe’s goals secured the win for Borough. Borough are fourth and Whitehaven seventh in Division One. The games at Gosforth (vs Windscale) and Whitehaven Miners (vs Crown Newlaithes) were weather related postponements.