A Round-Up of the Weekend by John Bacon

All is far from lost but a home defeat by Cray Wanderers has made the mountain to be climbed even steeper. A sending off apparently for retaliation after 15 minutes reduced our numbers and although we made light of the shortage and held our own for the rest of the first half a controversial goal against us just before the interval was a real “kick in the teeth”. A fine long shot into the top corner a few minutes into the second half followed by 2 further concessions settled the game and hard though we tried even a consolation goal escaped us and it finished 0-4. Three of the other contenders for the relegation places lost but the other, Cheshunt, beat one of them (Concord Rangers). If we are to reach the safety of the 18th spot then as matters stand to complete the great escape we must from our last 8 games:-
Colllect at least 4 more points than do Cheshunt from their 9 games AND
Collect at least 2 more points than do Margate from their 8 AND
Collect not more than 4 points less than do Concord Rangers from their 13 AND
Collect not more than 5 points less than do Kingstonian from their 9
Unfortunately we have the worst goal difference in the Premier Division but if we could turn that round with a couple of big wins or our rivals suffered heavy defeats that might reduce the point excess needed by 1 ……………this weekend THE UNDER 23s had no game……………… but on Sunday 17th THE WOMEN made it a day to be long remembered as by overcoming National League side Actonians at Coles Park they booked their place in the CAPITAL WOMEN’S SENIOR CUP Final (which is the combined County Cup for teams in London and Middlesex plus some from Surrey). Final date and venue yet to be confirmed. Our opponents will be the winner of the other semi-final tie between AFC Wimbledon (also National League) and the much postponed quarter final between Ashford Town (Middlesex) FC and London Seaward. Our team, predominantly of talented 17 year olds augmented by a few (relatively) “old ladies” simply shrugged off falling behind within seconds of the kick off and proceeded to outplay their older and more experienced opponents. Having created umpteen half chances they should have been more than 3-1 up before the visitors scrambled a second goal to set up a nervous final few minutes but our composed team played that out with a maturity beyond that to be expected from a squad of such tender years. This will be the team’s fourth appearance in a knock out Competition final in its 25 years of existence but, whatever the result, is probably their greatest achievement as the others were League Cups whereas to reach this Final they have had to overcome the Academy side of a Womens Super League Club (Tottenham Hotspur) as well as todays National League visitors. Ronnell Humes outpaced all defenders as she raced on to a long through ball to coolly slot home the equaliser after some 15 minutes or so but it was well into the second half before Saoirse Hourigan deservedly fired us ahead with a dipping shot into the top corner from just outside the penalty area and well beyond the ‘keepers reach. Sheer persistence earned Ronnell a second goal a few minutes later as she pressurised the visiting defence into errors which left her free to prod the ball into an empty net. Both in performance and behaviour the girls are a huge credit to themselves, the Club, Manager Bobby Cato, Head Coach Adem Ali – and his Haringey Academy – and long serving Administrator Karla Parker who keeps the team on the “straight and narrow” path demanded by bureaucracy……………. So a Cup Final to look forward to in this largely disappointing season but lets hope that the Under 23s can make it 2 finals when they play their Divisional semi-final on 30th March