Grove roar back to clinch final spot

This season’s League Cup Final will be contested by The Grove and Marlborough as both sides scored four in their semi-finals.

At Cringleford a confident Dog House made a good start to the game and took the lead from a Neal Symonds penalty after John Curtis had been brought down. The visitors responded well and were level eight minutes later, also from a penalty after the Dog House keeper hauled down Mick Freeman. Sam Mallett converted. This spurred on the visitors who went into the break 2-1 up as Lloyd Greening lobbed the keeper on 40 minutes and five minutes after the restart Craig Clarke made it three after a superb 25-yard strike. From then on Grove dominated most of the game and it was no surprise when they increased their lead as Clarke grabbed his second following good work by Freeman. This was a good performance by The Grove that makes their recent league form quite baffling.

The other semi-final saw an evenly balanced first half where Marlborough took the lead on 28 minutes through a Jamie Speller effort and they held the advantage up to half-time mainly due to the efforts of their keeper Stuart Palmer, who made several inspired saves. In the second half the scoreline remained the same until the 68th minute, when Marlborough went two up. Two further goals in the 82nd and the 89th minute sealed a 4-0 victory. Marlborough’s second half scorers were Danny McKail, Sean Brown and another from Jamie Speller. Aylsham can consider themselves unlucky to have lost the encounter by such a margin and deserve credit from what was an entertaining game. Well handled by John Coates and his assistants. The final takes place on Sunday May 6.

With their nearest challengers in cup action, AFC Wanderers took the opportunity to move three points clear at the top of the Premier Division after a narrow 3-2 (Luke Tuttle 2, Farin Deeba) victory over Norwich Busmen. Acle Rangers moved up to fourth after a 4-1 win at home to Unicorns and Hellesdon moved further away from the bottom of the table after beating Reepham 3-2.

There was a shock for 1A leaders Dussindale Rovers as they lost 4-1 at Castlegate. They now lead Fiveways, who were 9-0 winners over Horsford SC, by only two points but Fiveways have two games in hand. Vale Longo kept their outside chances of promotion alive with a 3-2 win over Eaton and Windmill Wanderers were 2-1 winners over Aslacton.

Bayer FC are in pole position to take runners up spot in 1B as they bounced back from last week’s defeat to beat Haig FC 3-2. The recent poor run of Norfolk CCSC continued as they went down 3-0 at Earlham United for whom Damon Brown, Thomas Blanch and Ashley Davis all scored, and Sprowston Wanderers scored five without reply at home to St Faiths. Spixworth Sunday gave themselves a boost with a 3-2 home win against Rose Tavern. Tavern secretary James Kiddell was forced into his first start in five years and duly scored, their other goal coming from Scott Tunbridge.

In 2A, DCS Rapid’s season finished with a 3-2 (Nick Weavers, John Davis) defeat at Acle Wanderers. Ryan Flint (2), and Chris Sinderby scored for the home side. Sprowston Sunday now look favourites to finish at least runners up after a 2-1 win at The Griffen and there was a 3-0 win for Norman Wanderers Reserves at Green Man.

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In 2B, Moles Rest completed their season with a 3-0 (Jamie George 2, Daniel Bruce) victory over Poringland Reserves. They must now wait to see if Acle Rangers Reserves can get the four points required from their remaining two games, to pip them to the title. PL Rangers finished their season beating Sporting Farmhouse 2-1. Chris Leveridge put them ahead with a 20-yard strike before the visitors levelled. Jordan Rocastle though provided the winner with his 67th goal of the season. Graham Carr grabbed a hat-trick as Heartsease FC won 6-1 at Hethersett, the other goals coming from Sam Slater, Scott Whitmore and Tom Whitmore

Congratulations to Riverside Rovers who clinched the 3A title after a 6-2 victory at New Buckenham. It was Rovers second successive title since joining the league, and great credit also goes to New Buckenham who have completed the season without a single yellow or red card. They must now wait to see if Hellesdon Reserves take four points from their last two games to grab the runners up spot. Mad Moose were 2-1 winners at Dancing Farmers whilst Newsman Celtic beat River Garden by the odd goal of five. Normans “A” also had a good win, 4-0 at home to Sporting Longdale.

The two games completed in 3B brought away wins for Sloughbottom Revolution, 2-0 at Unicorns Reserves and Taverham United, 3-0 at Aylsham Reserves. The game between The Gordon and AFC Oak had to be abandoned due to a serious injury to an AFC player. The league sends its best wishes to the player for a speedy recovery.

As 4A champions Bungay Town were completing a 3-1 victory over Earlham Colney, the battle for second place was hotting up as third placed Manor Park beat Brooke 3-0. Both sides have two games left with Brooke two points ahead. Sporting Longdale Reserves grabbed a decent point in a 2-2 draw with Whiterose United.

Schoolhouse showed no mercy to 4B’s bottom side Wendene as they beat them 10-1 (Richard Brett 6, Jack Smith 2, Chris Hall, Shaun Bammant) to move level on points with leaders William Wanderers with a game in hand. Chapelfield Rovers won 4-1 at Windmill Elite and there was a good 3-2 win for Costessey Reserves at Salhouse Reserves.