Shopmates are ready for a top-of-the-table showdown

Action from Irchester United's 3-2 defeat to Harrowby United in the UCL Knockout Cup last weekend. Picture by Alison Bagley
Action from Irchester United's 3-2 defeat to Harrowby United in the UCL Knockout Cup last weekend. Picture by Alison Bagley

High-flying Raunds Town are gearing up for a top-of-the-table showdown in the ChromaSport United Counties League Division One this weekend.

The Shopmates are two points clear at the summit after they came from a goal down at half-time to beat Long Buckby 4-1 at Kiln Park on Tuesday night thanks to two goals from Dave Townsend and further efforts from James Lea and Ty Clark.

They are now preparing to take on second-placed Blackstones in another home game tomorrow (Saturday) with boss Jim Le Masurier delighted with how the season has progressed so far.

“We have been in this position before where we have started well and tailed off and not done ourselves any favours,” the Shopmates boss said.

“But I am quite happy with what we have got, the results have been good and the three games we have lost came about because we were poor on the day.

“I have been in this division as a manager for five seasons and in the first of those there were two teams working with a budget.

“Now there’s probably 10 to 12 teams who have a budget and I would think we are the only ones within the top seven who don’t have one so I can only feel proud about what the lads have done so far and with what the club does for us.

“The players are fully committed to it and all we can do is keep going and keep trying to win games.”

Le Masurier knows his team are now there to be shot down after their impressive start.

But he is hoping they can take advantage of playing one of their nearest rivals this weekend as they look to open up a bigger gap at the top.

“Historically, we have always picked up decent results against the higher-ranked teams,” he added.

“We are suited for being the underdog, we always relish playing against those sides but obviously this season teams are going to up their own games against us because of the start we have had.

“Blackstones will be extremely tough, they have had a great start.

“They will come here knowing a win will put them on top but, by the same token, if we can win then it will create a five-point gap between them and us.

“We will be fully prepared and looking forward to a big game.”

Rothwell Corinthians enjoyed a comfortable 4-1 home success over St Andrews in the UCL Premier Divison on Tuesday night.

All the goals came in the first half with Joey Wright, Louis Odell, Jordan Henson and Dan Cooper securing the points for Corinthians, who host Holbeach United at Sergeants Lawn this weekend.

It’s been a tough week for Wellingborough Town as a 3-1 loss to Wisbech Town was followed by a 6-1 defeat at Yaxley on Tuesday, Michael Cirelli scoring the consolation.

The Doughboys entertain Peterborough Northern Star tomorrow while Desborough Town, who demolished Sileby Rangers 8-0 last weekend, head to Oadby Town.

Whitworth, who were beaten 3-0 at AFC Rushden & Diamonds in the NFA Hillier Senior Cup in midweek, are also on the road at Kirby Muxloe.

Michael Byrne hit a hat-trick as Burton Park Wanderers inflicted another defeat on Stewarts & Lloyds in Division One on Tuesday night.

An own-goal completed the tally for Daren Young’s side as they picked up a 4-2 success over the Foundrymen who replied with two goals from Rolandas Lukosaitis.

Wanderers have a local derby against Rushden & Higham United, who were beaten 2-1 at Huntingdon Town on Wednesday, at Latimer Park tomorrow while S&L, who have lost 12 out of 12 in the league, host Huntingdon.

The other midweek action saw Irchester United slip to a 3-1 defeat at Olney Town with Laurence Taylor scoring the Romans’ goal.

They have a quick return fixture at Harrowby United this weekend having lost 3-2 to them at Alfred Street in the UCL Knockout Cup last Saturday.

Elsewhere this weekend, Thrapston Town will be looking to build on their 5-1 success over Oakham United when they head to Bourne Town.