The last of the season’s principal honours in the South East will be settled on Sunday when Carshalton Athletic bid to win the London & South East Regional League at the first attempt.
The Surrey side, who just failed to hold on to the County Cup, which they won last season, are hoping not to make it a season of “almosts” by falling at the final hurdle for a second time.
Having played catch-up all season, Carshalton finally have a chance to lead the division right when it matters most – after their final match.
They need a win on home territory against London Corinthians to pip long-time leaders Old Actonians to the title – and gain promotion to the Premier League’s satellite divisions.
Carshalton missed the opportunity to clinch the league last weekend when they were held to a 1-1 draw by the only team above them, but as they finally use up their last game in hand, their destiny is in their own control.
Last season’s London & South East Division One champions – who also won the Surrey Women’s Cup in the same campaign – have been on the fringes of this season’s Premier Division title race almost all the way through.
But because of cup commitments, they have fallen behind the others, leaving them to play catch-up – which they have done effectively, despite relinquishing their County Cup crown to league rivals AFC Wimbledon.
The Dons ended Corinthians’ hopes of pipping Carshalton and Old Actonians to the title last weekend, defeating them 2-0.
Now it’s down to the Surrey side to determine they win their second successive title or finish second once again.
They are one point behind Actonians – who are themselves in line for a league and League Cup double – but because their goal difference is slightly inferior, they need all three points to win the title.
If they lose, Fulham Foundation could still finish second at the end of a compelling title race by beating Corinthians the following Sunday by up to two goals, depending on Carshalton’s score on Sunday.
The final promotion and relegation places will be decided by committee during the summer, once the Premier League structure is finalised.
London & South East Regional Women’s League Premier Division
Battle for second place takes centre stage in Sussex
Second place is up for grabs in the Sussex County Women’s League as the long-awaited final match of the season takes place at last.
Any one of three teams can still finish runners-up to champions Lancing – and two of them are in direct opposition at Cowfold Recreation Ground.
Hurstpierpoint, in their first season as a club, face Rottingdean Village in a showdown for second place.
Despite the hosts’ tender age as a team, there is already “history” between the two following incidents in their first meeting in March, which Rottingdean won 3-2.
The rematch was delayed until Sussex FA had adjudicated on the disciplinary charges that followed.
Hurstpierpoint were punished in respect of the behaviour of players, officials or spectators associated with the club, and their manager, Steve Weller, fined £10 for improper conduct towards the referee, Paul Rowe.
Jen Weller, the club captain, escaped punishment after a similar charge against her was “not proven”, while their opponents also had a charge of failing to control their own players, fans and officials not proven.
With Weller and his team now on a warning, Sussex FA is hoping there will be no repetition on Sunday.
Instead, the attention should be on the field, where victory for either side would make them runners-up and a good bet for promotion, should a second spot be granted.
Victory for Hurstpierpoint would cap a fine maiden season for the club, who also finished runners-up in the League Cup.
For Rottingdean, it would be the second season in a row that they had finished runners-up.
If the pair draw, Crawley Wasps, who have completed their fixtures, would beat both of them to that second spot.
All three clubs have applied for promotion with Lancing, although with the weird and wonderful ways in which these things are resolved in Sussex and the South East Counties, it’s anybody’s guess who – if anyone – will finally get the nod.
Charlton look to seal third place
Charlton Athletic can finish third in an enthralling Premier League season just by not losing their final game against Plymouth Argyle by more than one goal.
The triple cup winners are ahead of Cardiff City – who have finished their programme – by a single goal, and look almost certain to take third place behind Portsmouth and Brighton.
Brighton still have not heard what will happen about their outstanding fixture – at home to Keynsham Town – which was called off by the West Country club last weekend.
Keynsham were given seven days to answer a charge by the FAWPL of failing to fulfil a fixture, and that period is not yet complete. The game no longer has material relevance to the outcome of the league, with Brighton guaranteed second place and Keynsham already relegated.
Keynsham are due in action again on Sunday, when they are scheduled to host Copsewood Coventry, who avoided accompanying them through the trap door after defeating Tottenham Hotspur.
Copsewood say they have no reason to believe the game will not go ahead.