Arlesey Town won the Zamaretto League Division One Central title in an afternoon of high drama at Top Field against…
….neighbours and closest rivals Hitchin Town on Easter Monday.
In front of a terrific crowd of 1,508, Stuart Sinclair scored the only goal of the game 20 minutes from time to give the Blues victory over pre-season title favourites Hitchin.
It means Arlesey will be plying their trade in the Premier Division next season – the highest level they have competed at during their 120-year history.
The title should have been cut and dried before Monday, but Arlesey were hit with a nine-point deduction by the league for fielding an illegible player.
The decision, made public after Saturday’s game, meant that previous title celebrations after a win at AFC Hayes the previous Tuesday had to be forgotten.
Therefore Arlesey went into Monday’s final game of the season two points behind Hitchin, who needed just a point to secure the title.
It was just a shame that the biggest crowd at Hitchin for seventeen years had to witness some unfortunate incidents at the end of the game involving a few over exuberant Arlesey players.
Arlesey`s win means Hitchin face the play-off lottery, but despite this loss, will go into the semi-final against Slough Town as favourites after finishing eleven points better off than the Rebels, who didn`t help their momentum by losing at bottom side and landlords Beaconsfield SYCOB.
The winning goal was scored by Eyango-Bwango 5 minutes before half-time.
The other semi-final will be between newcomers Daventry Town and Biggleswade Town.
Dav shared a goalless draw with neighbours Woodford United at Byfield Road on Monday, while the Waders were held to a 1-1 home draw by Soham Town Rangers in Ian Benjamin`s last game in charge.
Harry Hunt gave the hosts` a 13th minute lead that Rob Foster cancelled out 16 minutes from time.
Apart from the title and placings in the top five, little else was at stake in the division on Monday.
However, highlights included a hat-trick for Gary Senior in North Greenford United`s 3-2 derby win at AFC Hayes, who led 2-0 through Danny Vincent and Terry Smith.
Jordan Dowdican bagged a brace in Burnham`s 3-2 win at Marlow, as did both Isiah Rankin and Christian Nanetti as Ashford Town (Middx) hit Bedfont Town 5-2 on their travels.
Dave Brown scored the only goal of the game at Sharpenhoe Road to give visitors` Aylesbury the points at Barton Rovers, while goals from Romaine Walker and a Rob Ursell penalty pulled Northwood back from 2-0 down at Uxbridge to earn a point.
Atherstone Town`s final game in the league at least ended in victory – beating neighbours Bedworth United 2-1 with second half goals from Ieuan Weir and Oliver Babbington after Alex Dean had given the Greenbacks a 41st minute lead.
Leighton Town beat Rugby Town 4-1 in the game between the two sides who have just missed out on the top five – Nic Preston giving the visitors a 5th minute lead before Alex O`Brien, a Tyrone Fagan own goal, Ben Gallant and Alex McCarthy turned the game in the home side`s favour.