Football:Wanderers denied top spot

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Combination Division I at the Hockey Club on Saturday after they were held to a 3-3 draw by St Paul’s, the away side extending their unbeaten league run to eight matches.

Wanderers manager Martyn Stratford said:’It’s disappointing to lose a two-goal lead with around 20 minutes to go but full credit to St Paul’s, they are a very good footballing unit.’They have had a lot of clean sheets of late and to score three times against them was pleasing.

Full credit to both teams – they played a fine game in atrocious conditions.’We are in a great position now and I believe we will have a big say in who is going to win the title, although I’m not going to predict who will win it.’After a goal-less first half on a soggy pitch, the second started with Justin Jouan shooting Wanderers ahead through a sea of legs after the visitors failed to clear from a corner.

It was the first goal the Saints had conceded in four-and-a-half games.However, within minutes they were level when Glen Durrans nodded the ball past advancing goalkeeper Jimmy Styles after Steve Cumming’s blocked shot had looped up in the air.Wanderers went 2-1 up through Chris Andrews, who met Chris Hamon’s drilled cross at the far post.And it was Hamon who put Wanderers 3-1 up with a low shot across Saints’ goalkeeper Danny Evans, with the aid of a slight deflection.But, to St Paul’s credit, they didn’t give up and they reduced the deficit when Durrans’ low corner from the right eluded everyone at the near post before the ball fell kindly for Lee Bradshaw to side foot home.The game became very open as St Paul’s pressed for an equaliser while Wanderers looked to extend their lead on the break.

But, with just two minutes remaining, substitute Robbie Giraffa levelled the scores after Styles failed to gather a cross.Wanderers, who have played a game more than the other title contenders, are now joint top but behind Jersey Scottish and Trinity on goal-difference.St Peter moved four points clear of Rozel Rovers, who now occupy the second relegation position, after beating them 2-1 at Le Couvent.Mark Nicol shot St Peter ahead with a good finish low into a corner from 20 yards and a minute after the resumption Gary Freeman made it 2-0 after he took full advantage following a mix-up in Rozel’s defence.Rovers’ goalkeeper, Fraser Siddall, then made an excellent save low down to prevent Roly McMichael making it 3-0.

The Rovers eventually gained a late consolation through Richard Irwin.St Peter manager Keith Le Cornu said: ‘Rozel had more of the possession but we had the clear-cut chances – fortunately we were able to take them.

We’ve also been working very hard on defending well as a unit, which was evident on Saturday.’Everyone played well and the defence protected the goalkeeper well and he hardly had a shot to save.’Rozel player-manager Jerry O’Shea said: ‘We didn’t play well and we are suffering from a lack of confidence.

My players were disappointed with St Peter’s tactics but I told them we’d have done exactly the same had we scored first.

The middle of the park was very soft, it was difficult for both sides to play on.

We worked hard but we didn’t have anyone who could pick the locks of St Peter’s defence.’

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