Nine games to go in Shopmates' bid to seal promotion

Jim Le Masurier's Raunds Town head to Olney Town this weekend
Jim Le Masurier's Raunds Town head to Olney Town this weekend

Raunds Town did things the hard way as they kept their promotion push on course last weekend.

The Shopmates came back from 3-1 down to beat Bourne Town 5-3 at Kiln Park to stay seven points clear of the chasing pack in the battle for the second automatic promotion slot in the ChromaSport United Counties League Division One.

With nine games to go, Jim Le Masurier’s team have their fate firmly in their own hands. Win them all and they are up.

But the manager insists he and his players have to remain “realistic” as the race for promotion continues.

And, as they gear up for a tricky test at Olney Town this weekend, Le Masurier was full of praise for his team after their impressive fightback last Saturday.

“We started well and took the lead after two minutes but to be fair to Bourne, they came at us and dictated the play and were deservedly 3-1 up,” he said.

“A few things were said at half-time in a constructive way and the lads went out and performed really well so full credit to them.

“I think it showed that there is a lot of character in the squad and I think it showed that these players are fully on board with what we are trying to achieve.

“We have nine games to go and we will see what happens.

“We have to be realistic and we would be silly to think that we will win every game but we will certainly go out to do that.

“We will be coming up against teams who have their own targets and we will be up against difficult opposition.

“That will be the case this weekend and Olney have always been a team we have found it hard against.

“We will be looking to win the game but if we have to earn a point then we will take it.”

Rushden & Higham United now find themselves 11 points behind Raunds, although they have three games in hand.

And the Lankies have a big game this weekend as they travel to Lutterworth Town, who also have enough games left to have a say in the second promotion place.

Elsewhere, Irchester United take on fourth-placed Blackstones at Alfred Street while Burton Park Wanderers face a tough test as they head to Buckingham Town.

Thrapston Town entertain Huntingdon Town at Chancery Lane and bottom side Stewarts & Lloyds make the trip across the county to take on Long Buckby.

Desborough Town and Leicester Nirvana will try again in the UCL Knockout Cup semi-final at the Waterworks Field next Tuesday.

The two teams were due to meet twice in the past week but their Premier Division clash across the border was postponed before the cup clash also fell victim to the weather in midweek.

Before they play that match, Ar Tarn will hope to get back into league action this weekend with a home game against Cogenhoe United.

Wellingborough Town are enjoying a good run of form under new boss Nathan Marsh and, having drawn at high-flying Holbeach United last time out, the Doughboys are back on home soil tomorrow (Saturday) when they entertain Harborough Town.

Whitworth are still struggling in the lower reaches of the table and they face a tough test this weekend when they head to fifth-placed Deeping Rangers.

And Rothwell Corinthians will be hoping to get back on the winning trail when they play Peterborough Northern Star at Sergeants Lawn.

Corinthians’ 6-0 defeat at title-chasing Wisbech Town last weekend made it eight games without a win.