Thursday evening saw Harper Bell move to within two points of leaders Rosary following a successful trip to Garretts Green. Bell travelled across to fellow title chasers Blakenhale and left with six points in the bank following victories over both the hosts, and The Oval.
In a battle between the league’s last two unbeaten sides, it was no surprise that it was a tight affair with no quarter given by either team. Both goalkeepers were kept busy and made crucial saves, but Bell manged to score the game’s only, and vital, goal. Hale though were left to rue a missed one-on-one chance with the last kick of the game, that denied them what would have been, a deserved point.
In their second game, Bell fell behind early on to The Oval, but parity was soon restored; normal service then resumed with Hynan’s charges running out 6-2 victors. The Oval were then involved in a right old ding-dong-of-a-game with Blakenhale. Hale led 1-0 before being pegged back, then re-took the lead again, only for a plucky Oval side to level once more. Hale though had the last laugh and took the points in a thoroughly entertaining 3-2 win.
Over in Shard End, Brownmead were making their own advances on the top two with a resounding 4-0 drubbing over Parkfield. A disappointing performance from the Alum Rockers provided a routine three points for Mr Newman’s charges, who backed up their impressive HMS Shield quarter-final win on Tuesday.
In Kitts Green, Lea Forest lost touch with the leading pack. A young Forest side, entirely made up of Year 5s, drew 2-2 with Alston thanks to a last gasp equaliser, but lost 4-1 to Corpus Christi. In the evening’s other game at a sunny Ridpool Road, Corpus Christi and Alston battled out a compelling 2-2 draw.
Harper Bell were the evening’s big winners and sit menacingly in second spot, two points behind Rosary but with five games in hand. Like Bell, Brownmead also have five games on Rosary and are five points adrift of the leaders. Despite a denting defeat by Harper Bell, Blakenhale remain firmly in the hunt for a top two place and are only two points further back; ‘hale though, have played two more games than both ‘mead and Bell. Lea Forest, on 23 points, two away from Blakenhale, are still in contention, but the two reverses they suffered at home, make them outsiders for a play-off berth. Alston’s two draws keeps them safely ensconced in mid-table, as are Corpus Christi following their 4-point haul at Lea Forest.