Keephatch Park FC look to retain last 100-per-cent recordBy Adam Lee
March 27, 2009
When Rides United Res FC held FC A1 Group to a 2-2 draw in Division 4 of the Bracknell Town & District Sunday League earlier this month, it left Division 3 leaders Keephatch Park FC with the last remaining 100-per-cent league record.
Park, who changed their name at the start of the season from Plough Rangers, have enjoyed a terrific season, reaching the semi-final of the league’s junior cup and the third round of the county cup, as well as sitting pretty at the top of their division having won 13 out of 13.
The club has conceded just seven goals in the league all season, and, in Sunday’s 2-1 defeat of Victoria Arms, Park scored their 100th goal in all competitions since September.
Arms, however, were within minutes of ending Park’s 100-per-cent record on Sunday, but two late goals from Phil Tiernan and Dan Merritt earned the leaders a narrow win.
However, manager Matt Whale is keen to see more sides approach games with his team in the same way, and force Park’s players to play to their full potential for the rest of the season.
Whale has challenged the other teams in Division 3 to end Park’s winning run.
“We were lucky last week because we needed an 88th-minute goal to beat Victoria Arms,” said Whale.
“As it’s looking like we’ll probably win promotion, the next big thing for most of the teams in the division is to take points off us.
“Victoria Arms came out really fired up against us – we’d beaten them about 10-1 a few weeks before – and they gave us a really tough game and it’s good to play teams like that.
“I challenge the other sides to take it (the unbeaten record) off us and it really is for us to lose now.
“We’d like to think that we’ll get promoted this year, but we’ve played all the teams from the bottom end of the division and our run in sees us play against teams that are around us in the league.
“It’s really the business end of the season for us now.”
Although it is 27-goal Liam Davies who has taken much of the plaudits for Park’s fine form this season, Whale believes having former goalkeeper Phil Tiernan move up front has added something extra to the side.
Tiernan has scored in every game he has played in this season, and with Davies out injured for this weekend’s game with Winkfield Res, the onus is on Tiernan more than ever.
“We signed another keeper, Adam Hellier, which gave us the chance to bring Phil out and that really makes a difference for us,” said Whale.
“I think a lot of teams have got wise to Liam and he’s struggled to score recently, but we’ve got goalscorers all over the pitch.
“We have Adam Lawson coming back as well this weekend.
“He’s our flying left winger and he’s scored a lot of goals this season, but has been out injured for about four weeks.
“He’s our dangerman and he makes a hell of a difference.”
Should Park beat Winkfield at the weekend, they have the chance to move even further clear at the top.
However, that depends on the result in the game between second-placed The Bridge and Cable & Wireless, in third.
In the Premier Division, Wokingham United and Finchampstead’s fading title hopes can be reignited with victories over Crowthorne and Emmbrook Inn respectively.
One of the biggest games of the season in Division 1 takes place at Cantley Park on Sunday as leaders Woodley Hammers play host to second-placed FC Diligent.
In Division 2, third plays fourth as Duke’s Head take on BMW, while Woodley Hammers Res will look to cause an upset against unbeaten leaders FC Fernhill.
Elsewhere, in Division 4 there is a crunch top-of-the-table clash as in-form Loddon Valley Rangers play unbeaten leaders FC A1 Group in what promises to be a terrific game.