Monday, September 26, 2011
Lowestoft Town are the new leaders of the Premier Division, and many who tipped them for the title will be wondering if they will remain there until the end of April.
The Trawlerboys took over in style on Saturday with a 4-1 victory at Carshalton, becoming the top scorers in all three divisions with twenty-two goals in the process. Matt Nolan gave them the lead after twenty-six minutes and an own goal by Justyn Roberts made it 2-0 immediately after the interval. Joe Francis quickly added a third, a A Tom Davis free kick reduced the arrears, which at least ended Robins' unhappy record of being the only team in the league without a home goal, but Francis struck again to wrap up the scoring by the sixty-second minute.
The other significant games at the top were all decided by a single goal. Canvey moved into second place thanks to Danny Heale's sixtieth minute winner at Leatherhead. That was harsh on Tanners, whose caretaker manager Mick Simmons was pleased with a performance that should have produced their second point of the season, if not more. They found Canvey keeper James Russell in top form, as his side maintained their 100% away record.
The Premier Division's last unbeaten record went, as previous leaders Hendon lost to a Bobby Traynor penalty at Kingstonian. Dave Diedhiou's handling offence allowed Traynor to clinch a welcome win for K's in the seventy-eighth minute, and it might be remembered that a victory over Hendon was the beginning of Kingstonian's run to the play-offs two seasons ago, after a nightmare start.
A penalty also provided the only goal at Lewes,where Paul Booth's thirty-seventh minute conversion, after Christian Nanetti was tripped, was enough to account for Cray. The winners edged up to fourth place, while Cray dropped from second to fifth.
Anyone who doubted Leon Smith's ability to repeat his Division One scoring feats for Wingate after their promotion surely has their answer by now. Smith took his league tally to eight, best in the Premier, with a double in his side's 3-2 home win over Horsham. His early goal was answered by a fine equaliser from Ray Freeman, but Smith was on the spot to restore the advantage when Mark Henty's shot came back off a post, and Marc Weatherstone made it 3-1 at half time. Russell Eldridge pulled one back four minutes into the second half, and only some fine goalkeeping by Bobby Smith denied Hornets a share of the spoils.
Chris Wild made a fairytale comeback for Billericay at East Thurrock. Lucky to escape more serious injury when a hotel balcony collapsed under him during a pre-season tour, Wild returned to action as a substitute on the hour, and headed home a corner four minutes later to give his side a 2-1 victory. Kris Newby had given Rocks the lead with a penalty, his first goal since returning to the club, only for Dave Knight to level matters in added time at the end of the first half.
Another game decided by a single goal was at Bury. Tom Bullard netted on the stroke of half time to leave Aveley still searching for their first league win.
So too are Concord, who went down 3-0 at home to Met Police. If Concord had gained confidence from their FA Cup win at Hornchurch a week earlier, it was severely dented by Dan Gwyther's first minute strike for the Met. The dangerous Staforde Palmer wrapped it up with two goals in five minutes midway through the second half.
Hornchurch themselves took a sixty-fourth minute lead through Lewis Smith in a hard fought game against Wealdstone, who made it 1-1 six minutes later, when Richard Jolly turned in a cross from David Hicks.
There was a quick exchange too, and the same result, at Harrow, when Ross Sutton netted for visiting Hastings after seventy minutes, and Jon-Jo Bates replied six minutes later.
A Kiernan Hughes-Mason double gave inconsistent Tooting the points at Margate. His fourteenth minute opener stood up until just after the hour, when Richard Avery struck from long range, and Hughes-Mason then finished off good work by Andrew McCollin in the seventy-first minute.
That made it a total of five wins and only four defeats for away sides in the division, as the curious bias in favour of day trippers continued. Only the three clubs without a victory of any sort have yet to win away, but seven teams are still seeking success in front of their own fans.