Thursday, 18 October 2018

Spartans steal crown in final day drama

WYCOMBE and District League Senior Division title-holders Hambleden failed to retain their crown after going down to Spartans in their

WYCOMBE and District League Senior Division title-holders Hambleden failed to retain their crown after going down to Spartans in their final winner-takes-all match of the season at Bisham Abbey on Saturday.

Hambleden had the better of the opening exchanges. Matt Cook and Ryan Kemp kep stifling any Spartans forward movement and creating openings for Adam North and Andy Shed.

After 10 minutes with Hambleden seemingly in control a long punt forward from the Spartans keeper saw Ryan Irving slip on the greasy surface and with Dawson too far upfield to make a difference Spartans’ Boxer was allowed to race in on goal unchallenged. Keeper Ross Hathaway could only parry a drive straight to the feet of Spartan’s Mushti who netted from seven yards.

Hambleden upped the tempo from the restart. Lewis Brown reached the byline and flashed a cross through the six-yard box. Adam North again made inroads and Shed then shot wide from distance.

After 16 minutes a similar long ball evaded Dawson and Irving once more. With Boxer again in on goal, his shot from eight yards out look destined to go wide until Nikolai Lakovic inadvertently deflected the ball back into the path of Mushti who made no mistake for the visitors.

On 26 minutes Hambleden’s Kemp fed Lewis Brown whose run and cross saw Reading climb highest at the far post, but only to see his guided header graze the outside of the post on its way behind.

On 38 minutes the game and the title was effectively over for Hambleden. A Spartans free kick flighted into the box saw the Hambleden defence retreat too quickly and with the ball only half cleared Boxer smashed home a decisive third.

Shed and Dean Kemp thrust Hambleden forward and both were unlucky after Matt Cook and Ryan Kemp again combined to create an opening.

Adam North’s first-time cross found Reading but his shot deflected off a Spartans defender to safety.

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