Focus on the key issues at the top and bottom of the women’s leagues around the South East
Three more trophies were decided on Sunday, as Charlton Athletic Reserves and Ashford triumphed in their respective leagues and Herne Bay retained the cup they won for the first time last year.
Charlton clinched the FAW Premier Reserves League with a game to play, winning back the title they lost to Brighton last season.
League winners 🙈💪⚽️🏆 pic.twitter.com/Uwpa7phApz
— Kylie Manktelow✖️ (@kylie_manktelow) April 19, 2015
Their 4-0 victory over Chichester City Development meant West Ham United and Brighton could no longer catch Warren Clarke’s team, who have lost only twice all season.
Top scorer Kylie Manktelow was Charlton’s match-winner with all four goals against the Sussex side – two in each half.
But Charlton‘s development side will not be adding a league title to the club’s growing haul of trophies this season.
They lost 1-0 at home to Ashford – a result that ended their outside hopes of winning Division One East of the South East Counties League, instead clinching the title for their opponents.
Kayleigh Weeding scored the Kent side’s goal, and in the process also shattered Prince of Wales‘ hopes of a league and cup double.
The Canterbury side won their penultimate fixture, against Aylesford Reserves, 7-0, with Caroline Rennie adding another three goals to her haul. But with one game to play, they can no longer catch the champions.
Prince of Wales could still clinch promotion, though – and have a chance to make up for Sunday’s disappointment when they meet Abbey Rangers, from Division One West, in the Chairman’s Cup final this weekend.
Holness steers Herne Bay to another trophy
One team celebrating another cup triumph are Herne Bay, who retained the South East Counties League Cup that they won as underdogs last season.
They beat Dartford Royals 1-0 in the final to gain revenge for their defeat earlier this month to the same opponents, which helped their rivals to the Premier Division title.
Top scorer Vicky Holness scored the only goal just after half-time, for Bay, who need to win their final league match, at Anchorians, to pip Meridian to second place following the latter’s 2-1 win over the same opponents.
South Park‘s fate as bottom club was sealed in style on Sunday – though not the sort of style they would have wanted, as they crashed to a 10-0 defeat against Parkwood Rangers.
The Reigate club, who have lost a host of experienced players throughout the campaign, finish bottom for the second season in a row – and although they won a reprieve from relegation last year, they may not be so lucky this time.
On a pretty good day for clubs’ top scorers, Emily Vaughan added a hat-trick to her tally, while there were doubles for Kimberley Green and Skye McNally, and goals, too, for Katie Byrnes, Jordan Springett and Alanna Royston.
And there’s little respite for South Park – they travel to Bexley for the rematch this weekend.
Seahaven keep pressure on as title race goes to the wire
The battle for supremacy in Division One West is far from over, though. While Worthing Minors are in the box seat following their victory over rivals Seahaven Harriers the previous weekend, their vanquished opponents ensured it would go to the final round of matches, hammering Bexhill United Reserves 8-0 on Sunday.
Minors will be crowned champions if they win the final match of the season against the same opponents on May 3.
But if it’s a draw – and Seahaven win their final game – at home to Adur Athletic on Sunday – it will go down to goal difference – and Harriers made up more than half their 15-goal deficit in last weekend’s victory, in which (yes, top scorer) Lauren Smith bagged another four, Taylor Coade two and Katie Franks another.
Abbey Rangers could finish their maiden season in the South East Counties League in second place if Seahaven lose their final match, but even if they are overtaken, they will surely be happy with third. Rachel Johnson (guess where she is in Abbey’s scoring charts) scored both their goals in a 2-1 win over Burgess Hill 2nds, for whom Sian Hamilton grabbed theirs.
Wivelsfield Green capped their extraordinary season with a club-record 13-0 victory over bottom-placed Dorking.
Emma Chrimes bagged a season-best seven goals, while Jade Gardiner hit two and her sister, Lauren, another. There were a goal apiece, too, for Rose Jump and Sarah Smart.
But the most unlikely scorer was goalkeeper Helen Bashford, who as player-manager, brought herself on up front with the game well won and bagged her first ever goal.
The Haywards Heath-based side had a minus-22 goal difference after their opening four fixtures – including three massive defeats to Minors and Seahaven.
But with a game to go, it is now plus-18 following Chrimes’ goal spree that took her tally for an injury-plagued season to 21 in 13 games – reinforcing her place as (wait for it…) club top scorer.
Clash of the 100% records
Kent County Division champions Long Lane Reserves are just one win away from a perfect league season – indeed, they are just two wins away from an absolutely perfect season.
They eased to their 15th successive league victory last Sunday – beating Teynham Gunners 2-0 – and now face what surely will be a formality – a home match against wooden-spoonists University of Kent – on May 3, to claim a full house.
In contrast to Long Lane’s 15 wins out of 15, the university side have lost all 15 of their league games, with a goals record that is almost the mirror image of the champions’.
Long Lane Reserves’ league record
|1||Long Lane Reserves||15||15||0||0||75||8||45|
University of Kent’s league record
|9||University of Kent||15||0||0||15||3||74||0|
Before that, the pair meet in the unlikeliest of Divisional Cup finals, at Maidstone United’s Gallagher Stadium next Monday.
In contrast to their desperate league record, University of Kent have beaten two league rivals on their way to the cup final, scoring seven goals in the process – precisely seven more than they had scored in their first 13 league matches.
Since their upturn in form, they have found the net three times in two league games – though with little reward… losing the first 10-1 and their match last Sunday against Swale 3-2.
Mulhern and Uche’ give Actonians breathing space
Old Actonians may be favourites for the London & South East Regional League title, but they still may need to win both their final two matches to be sure of success, despite beating their rivals for the crown on Sunday.
Carshalton Athletic, who have been climbing the table as they make up their fixture backlog, are realistically the only team who can deny the west Londoners the title, but their 2-0 defeat to them last weekend means their destiny is no longer entirely within their control.
Emma Mulhern and Lafe’ Uche’ scored Actonians’ goals, which put them seven points clear of their opponents. But while they have only two fixtures left, Carshalton – the beaten Surrey Women’s Cup finalists – have four.
Fulham Foundation and AFC Wimbledon can still theoretically win the league, but they would need Actonians to fail to win either of their remaining games and Carshalton to win no more than two of their final four.
Aylesford did their hopes of avoiding relegation after one season in the London league, beating fellow strugglers Bexhill United 3-0, Alison Draper, Bex Barr and Daisy Taylor scoring the goals.
The defeat drags Bexhill – also in their first season in the division following promotion last term – well and truly into the fight to avoid a quick return to the South East Counties League.
But Eastbourne Town remain most at risk of joining Hassocks through the trap-door, despite picking up their first point in eight games in a 2-2 draw with KIKK United.
The East Sussex club have been struggling since their impressive FA Cup run, and are five points behind Aylesford and Bexhill. But with games in hand of both, their draw on Sunday – with goals from Lauren Hughes and player-manager Emma Parslow – could be just the fillip they need.
Sophie Le Marchand scored both KIKK‘s goals as the east Londoners bask in mid-table security – despite losing 3-1 at AFC Wimbledon last night, two-goal Caroline Bisson and Emma Keady doing the damage.
Those dropped points enabled Crawley Wasps to climb above them into seventh place, the outstanding Rebecca Carter – Crawley’s runaway top scorer – hitting a hat-trick in their 3-0 victory at London Corinthians.
The final fixtures of the inaugural Premier League Division One South West were completed on Sunday, Shanklin winning 3-2 at Larkhall Athletic and Cheltenham Town enjoying a rare win – at St Nicholas, the only team below them.