Olney slip gifts top place to Thrapston

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DEFEAT to Kempston Rovers on Saturday has left Olney Town in the unfamiliar position of not sitting at the top of the United Counties League Division One.

The Nurserymen’s five-month reign at the head of table came to an end in emphatic fashion when title rivals Kempston recorded a 4-0 win at East Street.

But while the Bedfordshire side have moved to within two points of Olney in fourth - with three games in hand - it’s Thrapston who moved to the top of the pile after their win at Rothwell, with Bugbrooke sitting third.

Kempston took a stranglehold on the game early on when Kofi Schulz gave them a sixth minute lead against Olney, followed only a minute later by a second from Danny Watson.

Olney’s comeback hopes were extinguished by Schulz’s second goal after 65 minutes, before Phil Draycott completed the scoring a minute into stoppage time.

The manner of the defeat hurt Neil Griffiths’ side most as they slipped to second place on goal difference, with Thrapston now nine goals better off. Although with games in hand, the power appears to be with Kempston.

Olney manager Griffiths, who recently failed in his attempt to sign Newport Pagnell front man Daren Dykes, said it’s going to be interesting to see how their title rivals cope with the shoe now on the other foot.

“The result is disappointing, but there is a long way to go yet,” said the Olney boss. “Kempston, Bugbrooke and Thrapston have all dropped points and as they get closer, the pressure intensifies on them winning every single game, and that’s something they’ll have to deal with.

“The result means that we can be the ones chasing and not the side being chased - this will give us a bit more freedom.

“We have a run of winnable games and all our focus has to be on this little spell, and I have no doubt the character of our group will now shine through.”

Also second in their table only on goal difference are Newport Pagnell who join St Neots Town on 66 points at the summit of the UCL Premier Division after they won twice in three days.

The Swans were 3-1 victors over Daventry United on Tuesday after winning 5-1 at Holbeach United on Saturday. Dykes gave his side a 13th minute lead from a free-kick, but Mitch Griffiths equalised for the Tigers with a penalty.

Vinny Shrieves restored the visiting lead after 23 minutes and Dykes added a third for Newport from long range eight minutes before the interval.

The Swans were reduced to 10 men when Richard Armstrong saw red, but late in the game Pete Smith was dismissed for the hosts and Terry Shrieves’ team made sure of victory through Jordon Spruce and Dykes who completed his hat-trick to take his tally for the season to 32.

Unfortunately for Newport, St Neots also won on Tuesday night and maintain their far superior goal difference. They recorded a 5-2 win against Deeping Rangers while goals from Armstrong and Shrieves set the Swans on their way against Daventry with first half goals.

Darren Lynch scored from the penalty spot with a quarter of an hour to play to make sure, and a late Ben Foster consolation was insignificant.

New Bradwell St Peter’s superb run continued on Tuesday as they thrashed Bedford 7-3 to move into a season high 10th position in the South Midlands League Division One.

That win came after they beat Amersham Town 4-1 on Saturday and it’s now nine straight league wins for them.

Also in Division One there was a 5-0 home defeat for poor Stony Stratford against St Albans City Reserves and they stay rooted to the foot of the table.

In Division Two MK Wanderers were demolished 8-1 at home by Kent Athletic, Old Bradwell lost out 5-0 to Winslow United, while Mursley United went down 4-2 to Aston Clinton. Wanderers stay bottom without a win from their 19 games.