Steeple come bouncing to back to record Socon victory

Steeple Morden 4 Eaton Socon A 1 STEEPLE bounced back to winning ways on Saturday with a convincing victory over a battling Eaton Socon side. Manager Kenny Watters was finally able to pick his preferred 5-3-2 formation and as a result his side loo

Steeple Morden 4 Eaton Socon A 1

STEEPLE bounced back to winning ways on Saturday with a convincing victory over a battling Eaton Socon side.

Manager Kenny Watters was finally able to pick his preferred 5-3-2 formation and as a result his side looked far more effective both in defence and attack.

The game started brightly for the hosts, with Max Carlton and Joe Morris causing problems down the right touchline.

Despite missing a chance minutes earlier, captain Nick Carlton made no mistake after 20 minutes, when he smashed the ball into the roof of the net following a clever knock down by Andy Smith.

The lead was doubled before half-time when the visitors again failed to deal with the aerial threat posed by the home sides attack.

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Man-of-the-match Charlie Prothero knocked a free-kick across the box, with prolific striker Ben Holt reacting quickly with a confident nod from eight yards out.

In the second-half Socon came out strongly and within 10 minutes of the restart they left Steeple keeper Tim Tidey stranded with a well-taken finish.

The goal did not dampen Steeple's spirits, and their attackers continued to press forward.

Within minutes their two goal advantage was restored, when Holt showed exactly why he's the leagues top marksman with another sharp finish from the edge of the box.

The solid performance continued when Jamie Murphy prompted another burst from midfield by Prothero, who in turn slipped Karl Parr through to score goal number four.

The deserved victory gave Steeple three more vital points and they will take this impressive display into Saturday's encounter away to Ashdon Villa.

Haslingfield 3 Steeple Morden Reserves 2

TWO goals in five minutes saw off the visitors challenge in this hard fought encounter.

An under-strength Steeple side struggled with the difficult playing conditions and throughout the opening exchanges had the weather and a strong home side to contend with.

As a result it was hardly surprising when Haslingfield took the lead after just 15 minutes, when stand in keeper Dave Sarll was fooled by an unpredictable bounce.

The home side had much of the games early possession, and against the run of play Alan Gates broke through the Haslingfield defence and came close with a fine strike.

The attack appeared to spur them on and moments later David Buey's free-kick found Damien Pennell in the box. The attacker deftly lifted the ball over his marker and slotted the ball past the advancing keeper.

Steeple then took the lead, with Gates making no mistake with his next chance, striking a fierce 20 yard shot into the Haslingfield net just before half-time.

Haslingfield reacted strongly and came out after the interval in determined mood, and created a number of chances that tested Sarll.

Despite pulling off a series of brave saves he had no chance with the home sides equaliser after a well-worked move from midfield.

The goal seemed to knock the wind out of the visitors and within minutes Haslingfield were back in front, despite a full length dive from Sarll.

Clear chances were in short supply as the game wore on and the heavy pitch began to take its toll. Overall it was a good effort from Steeple, and the result was probably a fair reflection of the game.

Foxton 0 Ely City Reserves 5

FOXTONS poor start to the year continued with another loss on Saturday, this time to a strong Ely City side.

With captain Ally Flack, centre-half Chris Haynes and winger Darren Chamberlain all absent, the Foxton squad struggled to adapt to the changes.

Foxton started the game well and had a couple of chances of their own, before a ball over the top caught their defence off guard and the Ely forward raced clear to slot the ball home with ease.

Things got even worse for hosts, when an Ely midfielder hammered the ball through a crowded box to see his effort double his sides lead.

Foxton then had a strong penalty appeal turned down and hit the bar twice in quick succession, as they tried to get back into the game.

But it went from bad to worse for Foxton, when an Ely forward turned in the box and smashed the ball across the goal only for player-manager Sean Audley to turn it in for an own goal.

With nothing to lose, Foxton came out in the second-half stronger, but after committing players forward, Ely twice broke through and twice increased their lead, to remain on course for promotion.

Withersfield 1 Great Chishill 2

DESPITE a poor showing from Great Chishill, the visitors battled through to claim all three points.

Withersfield were the quickest out of the blocks and beat Chishill to every ball and more than matched their guests pace and strength.

Great Chishill's problems were further enhanced when they were forced to make two early changes, losing both Luke Tyler and Russell Drury.

However, the second-half started more brightly for Chishill, with substitute Mark Burrows going close with a well struck free-kick.

But it was the hosts who broke the deadlock, firing home from close range after some good play down the left flank.

It did not look like it was going to be Chishill's day, especially after Jonathan Drury rounded the keeper only to see his tame effort hacked off the line.

With time ticking, Chishill had to turn to an own goal for relief, when a powerful Dan Manning free-kick was headed in by a Withersfield defender.

The goal sparked a surge in play for the visitors, a period that also saw both sides reduced to 10 men after Manning retaliated to a terrible tackle by a Withersfield player.

With the red cards brandished, Chishill began to settle once more and gradually pushed themselves in control. And with 15 minutes remaining Peter Jackson met a clever Burrows cross with a fine volley into the roof of the net.

There was still plenty up for grabs, as the home side looked to salvage the points and they would have done, but Chishill keeper Ian Gallagher pulled off a wondrous save in the dying minutes to see his side hang on.

- Great Chishill are at home on Saturday when they face Wisbech in the cup

Melbourn 0 CUP Reserves 2

MELBOURN were deservedly beaten in this Junior Challenge Cup tie by a well organised University Press side.

The home side's performance was well under par given the run of their home and away form in recent weeks.

Stand-in keeper Paul Williams was constantly called into action and made a number of exceptional saves.

Williams' efforts were backed up by defenders Fergus Lury, Ashley Bryan and Stuart Collen who gave there all throughout.

On 30 minutes, failure to defend a Press corner saw the visiting number 10 nonchalantly put his side ahead. And just before half-time, a lucky cross-come-shot also found its way into the home sides net.

Melbourn were unable to raise their game noticeably in the second-half although the visitors were contained from increasing their lead.

Melbourn did create a few late chances, with substitute Andrew Ridden and Mark Williams going close.