[H]ow lovely to start a report by commenting on bright sunshine and a drying wind, rather than snow, ice and waterlogged pitches. Fitz Park in Keswick was bathed in sunshine for the visit of Westmorland League Division Two leaders Carleton Banks for the second Semi Final in the Westmorland FA Junior Cup and a thrilling match of football against Keswick Reserves, currently third in the Division.
The home side took the lead when Adam Gaskell put Keswick ahead with a first half goal, and Adam Beaty made it 2-0 with a close range header at the beginning of the second half.
Carleton Banks then pulled a goal back when Ryan Smith scored from a quick break, but just two minutes later an impressive run from Keswick’s Charlie Robson down the left set up Dave Gaskell who fired home for 3-1. When Carleton Banks went down to ten men with a player sent off with ten minutes to go, their fifth red card in two matches, the result was then never in doubt, and Keswick will now meet Dent in the final on April 11th.
In Division One of the James Cropper Westmorland League, Penrith Reserves’ recent excellent run of form continued with a 2-1 home win over Ibis, with the Penrth goals from Adam Robley and Luke Whalley, and Penrith leapfrog Ibis into fourth spot, with Ibis now fifth.
Shap held League leaders Keswick to a 3-3 scoreline at half time, with the Shap goals from a Ben Palmer brace and Jordan Palmer, but Keswick stole this match in the second half as Shap pushed forwards, from a Karl Southern penalty strike and one last goal to give a relieved Keswick all three points after a very tough test and with a 3-5 scoreline.
There are always goals at Shap! The Keswick goals were from Southern, Declan Robinson (2), Stevie Hindmarch and Jamie Little, and the leaders are now nine points clear of second placed Appleby.
Wetheriggs United slide down the table continued with a 1-2 home loss to Kendal County Reserves, leaving Wetheriggs in eighth spot and Kendal County in tenth place, with little cheer for ‘Riggs from a Joe Henderson goal.
And an away win over Windermere SC 1-3 by Kirkoswald means that KO are now in second spot in the table (as Appleby didn’t have a first team fixture). The win came on the back of goals from Nicholas Jake Holden, Niall Renwick and an excellent goal from Reece Simpson who finished off with a shot past the helpless Windermere keeper after some lovely one touch football in the box involving four KO players.
There was also the last Quarter Final in the High Sheriff’s Cup and after a close game Ambleside United lost out 2-3 Sedbergh Wanderers. Both teams congratulated referee Charlie Mulhall on managing to keep the game flowing despite a barrage of protests, but it’s the Wanderers with the extra time win in a classic cup tie and goals from Oli Wales, Liam Mason and Andrew Metcalfe. Sedbergh now meet Keswick in the Semi-Finals, with Appleby already through to the Final in the other half of the draw.
In Division Two, the win of the day must be Appleby Reserves 4-0 victory over second placed Dent with a hat trick for Josh Addison Adams and the final goal from Kieran Willams. Eden Thistle lost out to Castletown United 0-2 at home in a hard fought and close matched game, decided by a goal from Lamin Cham on his return from suspension, and super sub Macauley Forsyth scoring the much needed second goal
With Keswick and Carleton Banks in Cup action, it was more about the relegation battle in Division Two, and AFC Carlisle are now in twelfth spot after losing 1-3 at home to Kendal Utd Reserves who had two sixteen year olds, Jake Green and ‘keeper Josh Shorrock make their debut, and goals from Cameron Toal-Lim (2) and from Man Of The Match David Crierie, with AFC down to ten men after 75 minutes.
Greystoke and Ullswater United FC each gained a point after a 3-3 draw, and the match between Staveley United and Braithwaite ended with the same 3-3 scoreline, leaving Greystoke eighth (18 points), Staveley ninth (15), Braithwaite tenth (12), AFC eleventh (12) followed by Ullswater in tweflth spot (10). Windermere SC Reserves (7) prop up the Division.
In Division Three of the James Cropper Westmorland League, Ibis Reserves keep top spot despite a 2-0 loss to Kirkby Stephen who regained second place on the back of the win. It will be these two who will fight it out for the title and after this result, Kirkby Stephen still have a massive six games in hand over Ibis, but Ibis are nine points ahead.
On a bobbly pitch which was a real leveller, the Kirkby Stephen goals came from Dan Hallam, who headed home from a Dan Robinson set piece, and a Matt Branthwaite strike from the edge of the box, and Kirkby Stephen had the win. Despite some good Ibis pressure, this was more than matched by some excellent goal keeping from Kirky Stephen’s Steven Lawrence and a Man of the Match performance from midfielder Dragos Dorcea.
Endmoor KGR Reserves went down 0-1 at home to Langwathby United, and Penrith Saints lost out 1-6 to Lunesdale Utd with the visitor’s goals a hat trick for Man of the Match Brandon Brett, and one each for Bailey Dobson, captain Bun Collinson and John Wolstenholme at Frenchfield. Finally Sedbergh Wanderers Football Club Reserves lost out 1-2 to Penrith AFC Academy whose goals came from the in form Luke Hunter and the first ever goal in senior football for Liam Addis.
In the Peter Daws Memorial Shield, it was heartbreak for Kirkoswald Reserves who bowed out the Peter Daws Memorial Shield in the Semi Finals, losing 2-3 Penrith Royal. Despite leading the game with seven minutes to go with goals from Rob Anderson and Ryan Bell, KO couldn’t hold on and Royal take the win for a place in the Final where they will meet either Kirkby Stephen and Lunesdale United who meet in the other Semi Final.
Who knows what the weather has in store in the coming weeks. Weather forecasts predict that the Beast from the East III is on its way back, but with the clocks going forwards, teams in the Westmorland League begin midweek fixtures this week as they struggle to complete a heavily backlogged fixture list, and its all to play for in all three divisions.