TITLE favourites Austin Ex-Apprentices have already surpassed their goal tally of last season after just nine matches in this season’s Redditch & South Warwickshire Combination.
In 2015/16 Austin netted 88 in 14 league games, but this time around have struck 114 times in nine matches – all of which they have won – with the latest being Sunday’s 11-2 home win over Redditch Cross.
Andy Nicol and Sam Griffin both scored hat-tricks for Austin, for whom Lewis Cosgrove (2), Chris Tranter, Josh Westwood and Richard Deeming also scored. Sean Bailey bagged a brace for Cross.
Third placed New Woodland Cottage saw their title challenge dented as they were beaten 3-2 by AFC Lions.
Woodland, who missed a series of chances, were reduced to ten men after 55 minutes and slipped to defeat despite goals from Adam Crombie and Scott Harbon as Richard Tyler’s hat-trick did the trick for Lions.
Leaders CBH Fasteners maintained their unbeaten league record and reached the 75-goal mark after 13 matches as goals from Jack Turner, Ben Harris, Gary Walker and Steven Brooks clinched a 4-1 home victory over Redditch Town, for whom Chris Adams struck.
Second placed Golden Cross AFC dropped three crucial points in their pursuit of top spot as a Tim Lees brace and Anthony Bromhead goal sealed a 3-2 away win for SCC Redolence. Ray Butters and Tobias Teague were the scorers for Cross.
Hosts Lodge Park RA defeated Shakespeare Studley 3-1 through goals from Terry Nolan, Simon Ledgister and Anthony Jones. Carter Brough scored for Shakespeare, who are still without a point.
Beoley Village moved into fifth place thanks to a 2-1 home success over SO Goose Greenlands.
The visitors took the lead after 20 minutes through Cartwright’s rebound effort from a saved penalty before Beoley equalised through Olivier Derikoye before half time.
The second half was a tremendous affair and there was drama at the death as Sean Meek bagged a winner for Beoley with the last kick of the game.
Ollie Pledger and Sam Osmond scored the goals for hosts VKL United as they drew 2-2 with Studley Swan, for whom Sam Bennett and Craig Robinson netted.
Shortly, the 15-team league will be split into three mini divisions of five teams – places one to five, six to ten and 11 to 15 – after everyone has played each opponent once.
Four of the top five teams are confirmed – Austin Ex-Apprentices, CBH Fasteners, Golden Cross AFC and New Woodland Cottage – while two of the bottom five – Shakespeare Studley and VKL United – are also confirmed.