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Ryman league football: Dismay as Cup runs end

It wasn't the best week for our local sides with Croydon Athletic and Whyteleafe exiting their respective cup competitions and Croydon FC continuing the stuttering league form.

This Is Lancashire: Howard's Way: Matt Howard cannot prevent Athletic being knocked out of the London Senior Cup  AV3676-07 Howard's Way: Matt Howard cannot prevent Athletic being knocked out of the London Senior Cup AV3676-07

Athletic enjoyed home advantage in the fourth round of the London Senior Cup tie at home to Essex Senior League outfit Waltham Abbey but the Rams could not make it tell and they were knocked out 1-0.

The game was won just before the interval when Lee White fired home for Waltham. The Rams nearly got back into the game when Danny Gillard hit the post 10 minutes from time but Abbey held out to progress.

On Saturday Athletic were out to avenge their new year defeat when they travelled down the M3 to face Lymington and New Milton for a Ryman League game.

Fielding a stronger line up than midweek, the Rams took the lead after only five minutes when Eben Allen fired home. Worse was to follow for the home side when they had player coach Nicky Banger sent off on 11 minutes to give Athletic the perfect start.

The hard-working new signing from Whyteleafe, Andy Martin, was causing all kinds of problems for Lymington although they had one effort hit the cross bar as they fought for an equaliser. The game was settled in the 79th minute when Matt Howard scored a second for the Rams and ensured the three points went back up the motorway.

The victory keeps the Rams in promotion contention and could possibly see new manager Brian Sparrow pick up Ryman manager of the month for January if they can get a good result at home to Dover.

Whyteleafe were also in midweek cup action when they visited Conference South outfit Carshalton Athletic in the third round of the Surrey Senior Cup.

The Leafe were no match for their opponents and lost 3-1. Marcus Kempster found the net for the Leafe but a brace from former Croydon FC player Craig Dundas and a strike from Jason Mabbs was enough to see Carshalton through to the next round.

Saturday saw the Leafe entertain high-flyers Ramsgate in a Ryman League fixture and again they suffered defeat as they were beaten 1-0. The gap between the sides was tight as both gave little away, until the 55th minute when Ramsgate's Shaun Welford scored the only goal to settle the tie.

In Ryman Division Two Croydon FC could not reproduce their early season form that promised so much. On Saturday they entertained Egham Town at a bitterly cold Arena. The brave who ventured out to watch this encounter could hardly have been warmed as both sides failed to find the net.

Croydon still have an outside chance to gain promotion as only seven points separate them from the second promotion spot.

But they must start winning or they may start to run out of games.

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