It’s two in a row for XPO
Johnson Matthey XPO 2 Stapleford 1 JM XPO clinched their second straight league title as they won the Halls of Cambridge Sunday League Division Three championship. But the home side did things the hard way, having to come from a goal and a man down agains
Johnson Matthey XPO 2 Stapleford 1
JM XPO clinched their second straight league title as they won the Halls of Cambridge Sunday League Division Three championship.
But the home side did things the hard way, having to come from a goal and a man down against a very good Stapleford side.
With Captain Andy Kirkpatrick still out injured, leading scorer Kenny Poulter was forced to play centre back alongside Jon Herd.
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The match started very evenly with both sides trying to boss the midfield, and there was not a lot to choose between them.
XPO then began to get the upper hand slightly and were carving out the better opportunities.
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John Hanson missed a sitter from six yards out, Phil Emmett and Jordan Herd both shot wide when well placed, and Dec Shilton wasted the best opportunity, heading straight at the keeper from close range.
Stapleford always looked dangerous, and after a quick break opened the scoring when their pacy winger got in front of Saward to slot home.
Despite the setback, XPO continued to press for a deserved equaliser, then Shilton got his marching orders for kicking out after receiving a blow to the face.
With a man down, XPO were playing on the break and defending deep to try to catch the opposition with a sucker punch.
The back four held firm against some heavy pressure, and finally on the break Emmett turned his man and thumped a great finish into the bottom corner to equalise.
Stapleford tried to force the win they needed to keep the title race alive, but could not break through.
Then Herd ran from the half-way line on a driving run and chipped the keeper from 20 yards to cue wild scenes all over the pitch.
XPO held on for the final few minutes to secure the title.
Their record now stands at three league titles and two league cups in four years, as they look to continue their success and rise up the leagues.
XPO: C White, S Saward, T Hanson (M Ralph), J Herd, K Poulter, J Herd, B Purkiss, M Poulter, J Hanson, P Emmett (A Smeeton), D Shilton
Litlington Reserves 2 Gransden Chequers 2
PAUL Harris scored both goals, including a last-minute equaliser, as Litlington secured a top four place in BIS League Division 5A.
Litlington started strongly, and Harris put the home side ahead when a mistake by the Gransden keeper gave him an open goal.
The game should have been over as Litlington dominated, but Liam Butler, James Evans and Harris all had chances well saved by the Gransden keeper.
The hosts were then made to pay for these misses as Gransden scored two goals either side of half-time, and Litlington's promotion challenge looked in danger.
The midfield duo of Matthew Cottiss and Afser Choudhury then started to influence the game, but Butler and Harris both missed easy opportunities which should have been taken as the clock ran down.
Three minutes before the final whistle, the breakthrough that Litlington deserved finally came, as Choudhury and Evans combined well, and Choudhury's cross found Harris who smashed home from close range to score his 26th of the season as Litlington finished the season on a high.