(Incorporating Olympian Sunday Football League from 2016)
Affiliated to The Hertfordshire Football Association
By Mark Bunn
Football returned after the five-week Covid suspension, and it saw all of the main title contenders who were in action in the topflight register wins.
Leaders Sun Sports Athletic have a four-point lead at the summit after a comfortable 3-0 away victory over Old Fullerians. After an open start it was Sun who broke the deadlock in the first half, through Phil Ifil. The game was ended as a contest with two quick fire goals early in the second half, the first coming as Old Fullerians lost possession and where punished by James Fisher the second goal then coming as Sam Clarke scored with a long-range effort.
Second placed Evergreen kept the pressure on with a 3-0 home win over Rifle Volunteer. Ryan O’Sullivan gave Evergreen the lead in the first half, although Rifle failed to take some good chances, and where denied by a fine save by the home keeper. In the second half Rifle remained in the game until two late goals sealed the win thanks to a penalty from Olly Cripps and a second goal of the game for Ryan O’Sullivan.
Everett Rovers Reed beat Fox & Stone 3-2. It’s a remarkable fact that in seven league defeats so far for Fox & Stone, six of them have been by just a single goal. Everett took the lead via a rare Luke Preedy header before Fox & Stone levelled soon after through Jude Bell. Barry Mitchell restored the lead with a thumping strike from the edge of the area. Everett extended the lead to 3-1 soon after the restart when Crag Scott placed his shot wide of the keeper, although once again the visitors pulled a goal back through Alex Witham.
It was a good morning for leaders North Watford, not only did they defeat Bushey Rangers 5-2, they saw closest rivals Cassiobury Rangers go down to a second league defeat of the campaign 3-2 to Langleybury CC. North Watford had to do it the hard way coming back from 2-1 down at half-time. Ben Alexander headed them in-front after twenty minutes, before Bushey turned it around thanks to a Craig Gorrie goal after thirty-eight minutes and a header by Dean Elicott two minutes before the break. Bushey playing with just the bare eleven men, battled on bravely, Daryl Brown equalised from the edge of the box. It looked like Bushey might hold on for a point, but with three minutes left Michael Jarman headed them in-front, the victory was completed thanks to two goals in added-on time through Shoaib Ali and Connor Flanagan.
Cassiobury Rangers first defeat since the opening day of the season, means North Watford now have a four-point advantage. Langleybury went ahead when a Cassiobury throw was intercepted and slipped through to Lenny Farhall who lobbed the keeper from around twenty yards out. In the second half Cassiobury drew level when a one-two between Corum Chase and Joe Mortimer allowed Chase scored from a tight angle in the area, but almost straight away Langleybury went back in-front with Farhall scoring his second of the game with a simple tap in. Cassiobury drew level for the second time, with Chase again finding the target with his thirteenth goal of the season. In a final twist though Langleybury scored the winner late on thanks to a goal from Oliver Ilott.
The only crumb of comfort for Cassiobury was that third placed AFC Leavesden failed to cut the gap to second place as they suffered a 4-0 home defeat to Railway Arms, who have recovered after a bad start to the season, with this victory, a second of the campaign. Leavesden had a man sent-off when they already trailed one-nil, and then went onto concede three further goals. Dan Bourne scored a brace with Dean Brinton and Paul Kenwright netting the others.
Oxhey Spartans enjoyed a 2-1 away win over bottom placed AFC Bedmond. Both sides scored with penalties in the first half, Jordan Toomey putting Bedmond ahead before Liam Coles equalised. In the second half Daniel Horner scored the winner with a finish into the top corner.
This division looks to be the closest so far, with just three points separating the top five teams. SOCA went back to the top of the table after a 4-1 home win over FC Woodside. Tyler Connor scored a double with Harry Chamberlin and an own goal with Drew Snailham replying for Woodside. The leaders at the start of play, Dome Bar where held 2-2 at home by Skyline. Matt Byrne and Steve Noonan scoring for Dome Bar with Jordan Austin and Isa Rotimi netting. Rotimi’s goal ensuring the points where shared with a late screamer. WD beat ACS Milan 3-0, as they made it five wins from five with Ben Dunton scoring twice and Dion Belle once. FC Metropolitan Herts are in fourth place with a 5-1 win over West Herts. Rob Gradwell with a brace with the other goals coming from Joe Da Silva, Dan Branch and Dave Wilmott, Paul Craig scoring the sole West Herts reply. Chess United enjoyed a remarkable 7-0 home win over ER FC. Ali Shale scored a hat-trick, with Andrew Latchman scoring on his return to the game after being injured for fourteen months, the other goals coming from Conor Graham, Matt Hargreaves, and Matt Latchman. Despite scoring seven, Chess also manged to miss three times from the penalty spot as well.
The top two sides Hertfordshire Eagles and Watford Town both enjoyed 7-0 home wins over Inter and Batchworth respectively. Charlie Kimpton with two and Evan King, Connor Hewitt-Coleman, Jonty Bier-Allan, Jack McLaughlin and Dan Linfield also on the scoresheet for Eagles. Nathan Nottage with a double with Nelson Santos, Matty Deamer, Charlie Beach, Jack Sheriff and Alex Nottage all finding the net for Town.
Chalfont Saints moved into third place above their opponents Watford Athletic who they dispatched 4-0, Owen Clements with a brace, with Niall O'Shea and Aidan Brennan scoring as well. Sparta Phoenix beat bottom placed Frances George 3-1, Elliot Greig scoring twice, with Craig Putman scoring the other with Daniel West replying for Frances George. South Herts are fast becoming the draw specialists, with a third draw in eight games, this time 3-3 with Watford Sports. Marcos Junior Lima scored a hat-trick for South Herts with Luke Carey, Taylor Kemp and Eesaa Bond with the Sports replies. Harry and Ollie Donohoe scored goals as King George beat Woodside Wanderers 2-0 for a second win of the season.