Dene down Rosary; Forest at the double; Parkfield net win.
The hottest day of the year so far on Thursday, saw leaders Rosary suffer a rare defeat: 3-0 at the hands of Mapledene. With the sun beating down on a resplendent Arena, Rosary rocked up to Sheldon in search of a seventh win in eight games but found the going tough and a Mapledene goalkeeper in imperious form. In a highly competitive and entertaining game, the Maples took the lead against the run of play with a sumptuous strike and swiftly followed that with another equally as good to double their advantage as half-time loomed. Rosary then looked to hit back in the second half, but excellent defending, allied with brave goalkeeping, kept the Saltleysiders at bay. A calamitous mix-up in the Rosary back-line, handed 'dene a third mid-way through the second stanza and there was no way back for the leaders; indeed, Rosary's own 'keeper was called upon twice to make outstanding saves to keep the score respectable.
Across in Kitts Green, Lea Forest were breathing fire into their top two ambitions with victories over Colebourne and Parkfield. Forest first won a tight game 2-1 over the Coles before concluding the evening's fixtures with a resounding 5-0 win over a tiring Parkfield; the hot afternoon sun taking its toll on the Field. The Alum Rock side did however net themselves three points with a 4-0 win over Colebourne, who also had to endure back-to-back games in the searing heat. Credit has to go to the Coles, who having played four matches this week, never gave up, despite ending up losing all of them.
Mapledene's impressive victory opens up the Premier league nicely for the chasing pack, of which the main beneficiaries were Lea Forest, whose six-point haul takes them to fifth in the table. Though Forest sit 10 points behind leaders, Rosary, they have five games in hand and have still to play the Rosarians. Mapledene's win over Rosary - along with a 4-0 walkover win (over SS Margaret Mary) - sees them jump to eighth place, retaining their hopes of a possible play-off spot.