IN the Baines Bagguley North Lancashire and District Football League Premier Division, Carnforth, after their excellent 4-2 mid-week win at Galgate, are just one win away from winning the title.
At Galgate they took a 2-0 lead inside the opening 10 minutes, the first after just three minutes was from a corner, the second after 10 minutes was a headed own goal as the defender was under pressure from two attackers from a free-kick.
It took Galgate a long time to settle but once they did they scored twice before half-time to equalise.
But ill discipline cost Galgate dear at the end when they had two players sent off.
Carnforth’s next game, again on paper, was a hard one when they travelled to play Bentham.
Bentham got off to a perfect start when the excellent James Earnshaw put them into an early 2-0 lead.
Carnforth got back into the game when David Glennie scored a goal out of nothing.
Carnforth drew level after a desperate mistake by arguably the best keeper in the league when he failed to collect the ball from a shot from outside the penalty area.
He allowed the ball to hit his chest and rebound to Mark Plevey who equalised.
Carnforth raised their game and with just minutes to go they had to thank Christian Needham for scoring the goal that makes them red-hot favourites to win the title.
If they beat Swarthmoor Social Club in their last game it will be the first time since the Premier Division was formed that Carnforth have won the title.
Carnforth Rangers Reserves did win the old Division One Championship three times in the 1920s.
Cartmel also had a chance to grab the title providing they won all their games, especially after their very good 2-0 win over one of the favourites for the title, Highgrove, a tall order but possible.
Against Galgate they just could not get their game flowing as normal.
Despite being the better side for most of the game they just could not make the breakthrough.
Galgate defended very well and just edged it with a single goal scored by Jeff Wilson. However, they are out of the running after losing to Carnforth.
Caton United can only blame themselves for not beating Arnside after having most of the possession, especially in the first half.
Caton took a first half lead after Tommy Lund scored. The second half was no better than the first with Caton missing lots of chances.
Arnside’s danger came from breakaways and when one of Caton’s attacks broke down in the 80th minute, a swift counter attack by Arnside saw James Kirkham level with their first shot on target.
This one point keeps Caton safe in the Premier Division and leaves Arnside still needing points to avoid the drop.
Marsh United struggled to overcome a stubborn Swarthmoor Social Club who battled for the whole 90 minutes.
If Swarthmoor, who are already relegated, had played like this more often they would have been in the Premier Division next season.
Highgrove, long time favourites for the title, had suffered lately with injuries and fatigue.
The game against an Ingleton side desperate for points was played on a sodden pitch with rain falling constantly throughout the game.
The referee Alan Jackson stopped play twice with view to abandoning the game so intense was the rain.
Whilst the game was in progress Highgrove took a 2-0 lead with goals from Ricky Ball and Luke Bradley.
As the weather worsened the referee had no option but to finally abandon the game in the 85th minute.
In Division One there is a battle royal to see which two from three teams can gain promotion.
Kirkby Lonsdale were probably the favourites with four games to play but disastrous surprise defeats at the hands of Heysham and Marsh United Reserves meant they had to beat both leaders College AFC and second placed TIC Dyn/Overton/Middleton to guarantee promotion.
Against College it was a battle from start to finish, both sides gave their best.
Kirkby probably just had the edge in possession but College had as many chances and played slightly the better football.
Kirkby took the lead with a superb goal from Mark Rogerson.
College knew what was at stake and tried to get back into the game, but Kirkby, after taking the lead, had more confidence and pressed forward looking to increase the lead.
In one period of intense pressure Kirkby doubled their lead when Matthew Armistead scored through his own goal to make it 2-0.
College must win their last game against Cartmel Reserves to stand any chance of gaining promotion and then they must rely on Kirkby not winning their last game against TIC Dyn/Overton/Middleton.
Cartmel Reserves, who a few weeks ago were dead and buried and relegated, have made a miraculous recovery during the midweek games.
Their first league win was a midweek win over Kirkby Lonsdale and they have been winning ever since.
With just four games remaining they need seven points to avoid relegation.
They knew they were in a game when they entertained Heysham who had been on a winning run, including the 5-0 thrashing of Kirkby Lonsdale.
Trevor Rowlandson gave Cartmel an early lead, a lead that only lasted minutes as Jay Harrington equalised for Heysham.
Heysham showed their form by taking the lead with a super goal scored by Jamie Shuttleworth.
Cartmel fought back and showed they are going to fight all the way to avoid going down.
Just before half-time Alasdair Daggart brought the teams level.
The second half was end-to-end with both sides striving for the next goal but as time was running down it looked as though the teams would share the points.
Then, in what was the last attack of the game, Cartmel grabbed a win when Richard Spendlove scored a great and priceless winning goal for Cartmel.
TIC Dynamos/Overton/Middleton had what looked on paper as a testing match for them when they entertained Marsh United Reserves, a side that on their day can beat anyone.
Marsh started well and had Dynamos hanging on at times but once Dynamos settled down they started to dominate possession and goals started to fly in, first by Robert Gouldsborough with Darren True adding a second.
Then, just before half-time, the game was won when Gouldsborough scored his second as the Dynamos led 3-0 at the break.
The second half saw Dynamos turn on the style as they again played really well as they dominated possession, adding a further four goals scored by Gouldsborough, completing his hat-trick, Gary Louth, Mark Wiggins and Craig Holmes to move the Dynamos to the top of the table.
The Dynamos now need just two points from their remaining three games to ensure promotion and three points to win the championship to go with the Cup they won in mid-week.
In Division Two, TIC Dynamos/Overton/Middleton Reserves moved into second place after their hard fought game against a good Highgrove Reserves side.
The game was end-to-end for 90 minutes with the result in doubt to the end.
The Dynamos can thank Oliver Wellock for his double that won the game for his side.
Nathan Winder scored a great goal for Highgrove, but it was not enough as the Dynamos ran out 2-1 winners.
They now need just two points from their last three games to clinch promotion.
At the other end of the table it looks bleak for Bentham Reserves, even though they played really well to beat Boys’ Club Reserves 3-0.
Bentham played as well as they have done all season in this game and they were rewarded with goals by James Barlow, Daniel Jackson and Darren Thompson.
Their main rivals trying to avoid relegation are Torrisholme who have finished their campaign, and Storeys Reserves who are just one point ahead of Bentham Reserves and one point behind Torrisholme.
Bentham must beat Storeys when they next meet later in the season to stand any chance of staying up.
In Division Three, Moor Lane ended their second season in the league by celebrating their second championship.
In their last game of the season they beat third placed Trimpell Reserves 2-1.
Player/manager Dave Tyson showed his team how to score as he netted both goals for his side. Tony Turner scored the goal for Trimpell.
In Division Four, AFC Heaton, newcomers to the league, have done really well and by beating Arnside Reserves 3-0 will finish in the top five.
Goals by Mark White (2) and Daryl Hardman ensured Heaton ended the season on a high.
Throughout the season they have tried and played some excellent football for a young side.
Gregson Reserves are ending a dismal season, having won only one game all season.
Against Bolton-le-Sands Reserves they started quite well but faded once they went a goal behind, finally losing 4-0.
With their first team being relegated into Division Four it now means that Gregson Reserves will have to resign from the league.