IN the Baines Bagguley North Lancashire and District Football League Premier Division, Arnside are at last showing some form to keep them in the top flight.
In midweek they played really well against leaders Highgrove, only to fall to a late goal to go down 3-2.
Against Slyne-with-Hest they again played well to come out deserved 4-2 winners after Adam Richardson, Luke Gorst, James Thornton and Joe Taylor had scored.
Slyne, also struggling to avoid relegation, scored two good goals through Jonathon Foxcroft and Paul Rigby.
This win moves Arnside up two places and drops Slyne into a relegation place.
Ingleton, another side trying desperately to avoid relegation, pulled off a big shock in midweek when they beat local rivals Bentham 1-0 in a very good game, excellently refereed by the experienced Tommy Daniel.
Against Marsh United the game was frenetic from start to finish.
Both sides played as though they wanted to win but with both defences on top form neither side could put the ball in the net.
In the last minute Marsh had the best chance when they were awarded a penalty, but it was missed to give Ingleton a valuable point which now puts them three points ahead of Slyne-with-Hest.
Caton United battled hard in their midweek game against Marsh United but were second best on the day, losing 4-2.
Against leaders Highgrove they really turned it on and were the better side for the whole of the 90 minutes.
From the first whistle Caton attacked Highgrove and hit an upright on two occasions, hitting the bar once.
Lupton in Highgrove’s goal made three fantastic saves to keep his side in the game.
Although not safe from the threat of relegation performances like this will surely see Caton safe.
Carnforth Rangers took advantage of Highgrove’s blip by taking over at the top of the division after their magnificent win against Cartmel, who are also in with a chance of winning the title.
The game against Cartmel was a classic with both sides playing really good football, but with not many chances being created due to some excellent defensive play.
After a tight affair throughout the match with little goalmouth action of note it was Carnforth who finished stronger.
The Cartmel keeper pulled off a string of great saves in the final 15 minutes.
The break through came in the 88th minute when a pinpoint cross from the excellent Gavin Darby was met by the head of the oncoming Mark Plevey, who headed the ball into the top corner of the net, giving the keeper no chance.
In Division One Morecambe Royals Reserves are relegated.
Cartmel Reserves, next to bottom and looking like joining the Royals, had an excellent midweek 2-0 win over Boys’ Club to give them just a glimmer of hope of getting enough points to escape relegation.
They travelled to play a much improved Bolton-le- Sands and came away with a respectful 2-2 draw, recent signing Trevor Rowlandson celebrated by scoring both goals for Cartmel but they were pulled back with two excellent strikes through long serving Daniel Shepherd and Andy Banks.
Heysham put a big dent in Kirkby Lonsdale’s hopes of promotion when they hammered them 5-0.
Kirkby were hardly in the game as Heysham ran riot and played probably their best football of the season.
For so long in the season they were at or near the bottom, but their improved form of late has taken them to a position where they are safe from relegation.
Their goals were scored by Jake Crowther, Josh Mukalt, Steve McMinn (2) and Joel Crabtree. Kirkby missed the chance to go top after their dismal show against a team they thrashed 10-0 earlier in the season.
In Division Two Bentham Reserves hopes of avoiding relegation are starting to recede.
After losing 1-0 midweek to a good Galgate Reserves they had high hopes of pulling off a good win with a much stronger team when they played Westgate Wanderers.
Both sides attacked from the start but no-one could see what the result would be as goals started to fly in from all angles.
James Barlow started the goal-fest when he opened the scoring for Bentham Reserves, with the other goals being scored by Thomas Burns (2) and Daniel Jackson.
Westgate responded well and scored nine, with Danny Simpson man of the match with four great goals, Derek Jarrow, Liam Gordon (2) and Kryzstoff Michalak with a double strike as Westgate ran out 9-4 winners.
Storeys Reserves won the Whiteside Cup Final when they beat hot favourites TIC Dyn/Overton/Middleton Reserves.
The only goal of an exciting game was scored in extra time by Andrew Bushell.
A long high ball was allowed to bounce by the central defender but the ball went over him and fell nicely to Bushell, who took two steps forward before firing in an unstoppable shot past the keeper.
Storeys were indebted to their keeper Kevin McCarroll who made three brilliant saves to deny Dynamos and coupled with that he made some timely interventions from some searching crosses into the penalty area by Dynamos.
On one occasion he dashed out of his area to clear another TIC attack and was named man of the match for his heroics.
In Division Three, Moor Lane won their second consecutive Championship after beating a tough Villa Royale side 5-3.
The game was played with plenty of passion and some good football and some cracking goals scored by both sides.
The more experienced Moor Lane side just had the edge for most of the game but could not afford to lose concentration.
Tom Geary went a long way to putting the skids under the Royale side when he scored a stunning hat-trick, Jack Beacham and Ron Barker scored the others.
In reply the Royale side scored through Steve Buczynski and two penalties, both converted by Steve Griffiths, to keep them in the game, but as it turned out a defeat for the Royale side was immaterial as results from other games went their way and they survive.
Lancaster Rovers, playing their last game of the season, are promoted in second place.
They had to beat Caton United Reserves to stand a chance of winning the championship and had to rely on Moor Lane losing their last two games.
Against Caton Reserves they fielded a much weakened side due to holidays and injuries.
The Rovers side went in front after just 20 minutes when they were awarded a controversial penalty, Josh Lancaster scored with ease.
The battling qualities of the Caton side restricted the Rovers to breakaways and denied them from playing their usual free flowing football.
The second half saw Rovers again restricted to breakaways.
From one breakaway they found keeper Brown 10 yards outside his area, Callum Redpath seized onto the ball and from 40 yards out his perfect chip over the keeper went into an unguarded net to make it 2-0.
Caton ended the game on top but could not find the finishing touch.
Kirkby Lonsdale Reserves, despite languishing in a relegation place for most of the season, faced Burton Thistle in a do or die game.
At times Kirkby were outplayed by a solid Burton side, but they stuck to their task and gradually ground out a 4-3 win with Gary Smith grabbing two goals, Callum Russell and the match winner scored by Ben Taylor scoring the others.
Burton’s goals were scored by Chris Plevey and young Adam White with two, his second was a cracker.
A strong Trimpell Reserves side were just too good for a Gregson team that knew they needed at least a point to stay in the division and to keep their reserve side in the league.
Although they battled hard and never stopped trying they could not hold on and eventually sank to a 3-0 defeat, Tony Turner and two from Sam Cockburn winning the game for Trimpell.
In Division Four, Whittle Wanderers won the season’s first silverware recently when they beat Freehold Reserves 3-2 at Giant Axe.
Whittle took the lead after 39 minutes when a superb cross was brilliantly headed into the net by Peter Myerscough. Freehold Reserves equalised with a good goal scored by Jamie Howse. Freehold then took the lead when Liam Morgan blasted the ball past a stranded Mally Boyd in the Whittle goal.
Ten minutes later Whittle were awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal.
Peter Myerscough was entrusted with the kick and he delivered brilliantly, he chipped the ball over the wall and hit the net near the angle of the bar and upright, giving the keeper no chance at all.
With just three minutes remaining a fierce Antony McCluskey strike almost won it in normal time for Whittle but his shot from 35 yards hit the far upright and went safe. This brought extra time and with it the winning goal scored by Mick Allen.
Man of the match was left full-back Craig Gardner of Whittle Wanderers.
Freehold wanted revenge for their loss in the cup when the two sides again met in the league, but Whittle started much better and threatened to run riot.
In the 16th minute a cross into Freehold’s penalty area was flicked in by Jack Brennan after good work down the left wing by Peter Myerscough.
Whittle continued to be the far better side and in the 25th minute Antony McCluskey made it 2-0.
Whittle then raised their game to run out 3-1 winners, Michael Johnson added the third, Ryan Hammick scored the consolation for Freehold.
Whittle with just one game remaining are promoted at the first time of asking.
Bolton-le-Sands Reserves are ending the season on a high, winning their last two games quite easily, beating Gregson Reserves in midweek 4-0 and then rounded off the week with a very good 4-1 over Arnside Reserves.
The scorers against Arnside were Graham Kemp (2), Richard Wolf and Daniel Preston. Ben Kirkham scored Arnside’s consolation goal.