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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Southern Premier League Weekend Review

Probably the last Southern League review we will post for a while. As ever it was written by Steve Whitney.

The only issues up for grabs on the final day of the Evo-Stik League South Premier season were the positions of the play-off contenders and the one relegation place.
Gosport Borough gave themselves a massive chance of staying up, despite languishing at the foot of the table for several months, after beating the only other team in the frame, Dunstable Town, 2-0 at Creasey Park on Thursday night.
So, the teams began the final day level on seventeen points, with Boro having the better goal difference.
Both faces away games, both against mid-table teams.
Frome Town hosted Dunstable and went 2-0 up with goals from Joe Raynes after 14 and 34 minutes.
Ryan Bath killed the game off with a third goal 5 minutes from time.
Gosport led at half-time at St Neots, courtesy of Ben Wright`s goal right on the whistle.
But the turning point of the game came in the 54th minute when St Neots `keeper George Bugg was sent-off for a poor challenge on Ryan Pennery and defender Jack Bradshaw had to don the gloves.
He conceded a goal almost immediately to an Ed Sanders effort and Boro sealed their place in the league and avoided back-to-back relegations with further goals from Luca Wrightman-David on 65 minutes and Joe Lea on 76 minutes.
King’s Lynn Town secured home advantage in the Southern League Premier play-offs with a 3-1 win at Chesham United to finish as runners-up and pass the 100-point mark.
Lynn went ahead at Chesham after just 7 minutes when Craig Parker scored.
Parker doubled his tally and the visitors` lead on 23 minutes.
And then Cameron Norman made it 3-0 just 6 minutes into the second half with a 25-yard free-kick.
The hosts pulled one back 2 minutes later through Shane Bush but Lynn had done enough.
Slough Town secured the other home tie after they won 2-1 at Arbour Park in front of 759 against surprise side Royston Town.
James Dobson gave the Rebels the boost of an early 6th minute goal.
Adam Murray equalised just before half-time, but just after the break, Dobson`s second proved to be Slough`s winner, meaning that whatever Kettering Town did at home to Farnborough wouldn`t be enough to nick third spot.
And the high-scoring Poppies did their best by hammering Boro 6-2 at a soggy Latimer Park in front of 712.
And that after falling behind to a 7th minute Michael Elias-Fernandes goal.
The reliable Brett Solkhon levelled from the penalty spot in the 27th minute and then immediately after half-time, Aaron O`Connor put the Poppies in front.
The hosts then blew Farnborough away with three goals in 12 minutes from Matt Stevens with two and another for O`Connor to make it 5-1.
A Ben Toseland own goal reduced the deficit in the 72nd minute, but the four-goal advantage was restored 6 minutes from the end when Stevens completed his hat-trick from the spot.
Kettering finished above Weymouth on goal difference – the Poppies struck an amazing 122 goals – despite the Terras` 3-0 win at the Bob Lucas Stadium against Hitchin Town.
It was 0-0 at half-time, but Calvin Brooks broke the deadlock to give the Terras the lead on the hour-mark.
Abdulai Baggie and Brandon Goodship then added further goals in the final 9 minutes.
King`s Lynn – the only side in the top five not to top 100 goals! – will take on Weymouth on Wednesday, while the other semi-final sees Slough play Kettering at Arbour Park and the final is on Bank Holiday Monday.
Tiverton Town finished sixth but ended with a 0-0 Ladysmead draw with Banbury United, while Royston`s fine first season at this level saw them end up seventh, despite Saturday`s defeat.

Elsewhere, champions Hereford FC made it 113 points for the campaign after winning 2-0 at third-bottom St Ives Town, who had the consolation of a bumper 702 crowd at Westwood Road.
Dara O`Shea after 33 minutes and a penalty converted by John Mills on 68 minutes sealed the Bulls` win.

Jack McKnight topped and tailed Basingstoke Town`s 4-3 Camrose win over Kings Langley.
Callum Bunting and Sam Deadfield sandwiched `Stoke`s other two, while Jorell Johnson, Mitchell Weiss and Kieran Turner had the visitors 3-2 up at one stage.
Chris Nunn and Craig Adams` final league game in charge of Biggleswade Town ended in a 1-1 Langford Road draw with Dorchester Town, whose Ashley Pope cancelled out Connor Hall`s 23rd minute opener for the Waders in the 39th minute.
Ben Stephens` 26th minute effort looked to have won Stratford Town all three points at Bishop`s Stortford, until Joe Robinson popped up with an equaliser in the 3rd minute of stoppage time.
And at Penydarren Park, Merthyr Town led 2-1 going into time added on when former striker Stuart Fleetwood grabbed Redditch United`s leveller.
Earlier, Adam Page`s 21st minute opener for the Reds in Tim Harris` final game in charge was cancelled out by Ryan Prosser after 47 minutes and 51 minutes – the second from the spot.